Harry Wilding was working at the Bell Hotel in Ely when he enlisted in the Royal Air Force in 1940. Placed in Observations, he was sent to the Far East, serving in North Malaya and Singapore before hastily evacuating to Java as the Japanese advanced. It was in Java that he was captured and his time as a POW began, and this booklet contains his wartime recollections (as recorded by his grand daughter).
From the foreword: My name is Justine and one of my earliest recollections from my childhood is sitting and listening to my grandfather and grandmother telling me their stories from World War 2. Tales and stories which would fascinate my imagination and, as I sat and listened, I would be drawn into a world I had never known. This was especially possible for me as a small child, given that my grandfather had also retained a selection of different photographs and papers along with his rice box from his time in the War.
When captured, Harry Wilding, like so many other prisoners of war, was issued with a standard rice box. This was a wooden box which, at first glance, appears plain, small and of little interest. However, remove its lid and the contents reveal a fascinating story of one man's life during World War 2. This man is Harry Wilding, the fourth oldest child of George Henry Wilding and his wife Jessie Emma Harriet Elizabeth.
Today, the role of Harry's box is somewhat different to the one it held over sixty years ago when it symbolised survival for Harry by holding his daily ration of food. Its purpose now is to hold the very photographs and papers that Harry collected throughout his time spent in the Far East during WW2. Once aware of the contents of the box, you cannot help but become instantly drawn and intrigued into its history, leading you to try and begin piecing together the jigsaw inside. I say jigsaw, for without the guidance and narration of Harry, it is an almost impossible task to unravel.
Until now that is. This following article has, for the first time, encapsulated all of Harry's memories, photographs and papers and placed them together, thus enabling his descendants and also future generations to share and understand in the written preservation of a piece of their family history. I hope that you enjoy reading this too...
The condition of the booklet is generally very good. The covers have one or two very minor scuffs, but the staple spine is intact, and all pages are clean, intact, unblemished and tightly bound.
A Rice Box Full of Memories - One Soldiers Recollections of his Life during WW2
Published by the Littleport Society, 28 pages. A5 size booklet (N7712X1)