Julie Tuxford-Willmott looks over her manuscript which details  her life including  years as a Japanese prisoner of war.
Julie Tuxford-Willmott looks over her manuscript which details her life including years as a Japanese prisoner of war.

Julie tells of POW experience at 12 years



CALLIOPE author Julie Tuxford-Willmott's manuscript has it all.

The lead character in the story tells of vicious beatings of prisoners of war at the hands of the Japanese in World War II, acts of desperation and of kindness, of the Methodist Japanese Camp Commandant who saved her life and the eventual liberation of Borneo by Australian forces.

The character also tells of accepting a proposal of marriage to a young Australian man, Neville Willmott, 10 minutes after meeting him.

But this isn't some fictional war story, it is Julie's own memoirs.

At the age of 12, Julie Tuxford became a prisoner of the Japanese for the term of the war.

Julie, nearly 75, survived that experience and, now living in Calliope, she is putting together her memories of that and later years which she hopes to publish soon.

``The book is nearly finished and the next step is to find a publisher _ I think it will be a bestseller,'' she said.

Julie had been living in North Borneo where her father was a manager of a rubber plantation when her parents decided to send her to live in East Borneo with her English grandmother.

``They wanted me to learn to speak like an English girl,'' she said.

Julie said when the Japanese invaded Borneo, they herded her and about 30 other mostly English-speaking people together and placed them in a temporary prisoner of war camp.

Eventually they were moved to a large prisoner of war camp in Sarawak where the men and the women were separated from each other and where communication between the two was disallowed.

Julie recalls that one of the beatings she received was because she had been caught delivering a love letter to one of the men in the English camp for her auntie.

``They wanted me to learn to speak like an English girl,'' she said.

Julie said when the Japanese invaded Borneo, they herded her and about 30 other mostly English-speaking people together and placed them in a temporary prisoner of war camp.

Eventually they were moved to a large prisoner of war camp in Sarawak where the men and the women were separated from each other and where communication between the two was disallowed.

Julie recalls that one of the beatings she received was because she had been caught delivering a love letter to one of the men in the English camp for her auntie.

``Love blossomed in the camps,'' she said.

During the beating the guards had knocked out all her teeth with rifle butts, and had kicked and beaten her, badly dislocating her arms.



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