During 1942, mainly between March and August, three signature quilts were made by the women interned by the Japanese in Changi Prison in Singapore. This is the British Quilt. Apologies for the quality of the picture but this is what is available.
To see better detail, go to Changi Quilts – Images
It is now in the possession of the British Red Cross.
When Singapore surrendered to the Japanese in 1942, the Australian and British troops, along with their families and civilian personal were interned in Changi prison. The women and children were housed in a separate wing. As a way of communicating with their men, the women embarked on making these quilts.
They were given a 4″ square of flour bag fabric or sheeting. Their supply of threads and needles was limited and treasured. Each woman stitched her name on a square and included an image which would have meaning for her man. For instance, the British quilt shows a mother rabbit with a baby rabbit wearing a blue ribbon collar to indicate that a son had been born in prison.
Supposedly made for the wounded in Changi hospitals, the quilts were actually meant to relieve boredom, to boost morale, and to pass information to other camps.
This is the Australian quilt which was made in the same way and for the same reasons. It, and the Japanese quilt can both be seen in the Australian War Museum in Canberra.
The Japanese quilt contains no coded messages and there are duplicates of some of the images used in the British and Australian quilts. The goal was to not offend the Japanese so that quilts would be seen by the husbands and friends of the women.
The squares were assembled with posterity in mind. On the reverse side is a note advising that the quilts be dry cleaned.
For more information https://www.awm.gov.au/articles/encyclopedia/quilt
Olga Henderson is a survivor of the camp and talks about her experience and how a group of girls scrounged the materials and made this quilt. I hope that you will watch this short video.
We are privileged to be able to see these Embroideries that Record History. Our thanks to the ladies who were motivated to use needle and thread and to create them.
It seems to me that some time has to lapse between an historical event and it being recorded by stitchers. Is anyone stitching a record of the Trump Presidency? Is there a quilt or tapestry chronicalling the wars in Vietnam or Afghanistan? If so, I would love to know about them and share them with you.