In 2017, Back to Front were honoured to be asked to digitise an incredible series of scrapbooks salvaged from a WW2 Japanese POW camp.
The scrapbooks were secretly compiled by Sgt. Jack Milnes Wood, R.A.M.C., Nr. 7519134, during his four year internment at Changi camp, Singapore, from 1941 – 1945. Eventually, Jack brought his books back to England, storing them discreetly in his family’s loft. After several decades, the collection was all but forgotten – until stumbled upon by his children and grandchildren, who quickly decided that they had to share their discovery with the world.
The scrapbooks contain almost 300 items – illustrations, manuscripts, magazines, poems, musical scores, production programmes, and diary entries. A number are decorated by renowned artists such as Ronald Searle. They tell a story of kinship, compassion and co-existence through art, theatre and literature – survival, heartbreak and the power of creativity and humanity over the adversity of war.
The Back to Front team managed the entire project – photographing the books, transcribing and editing all of the items, branding, designing and developing the online archive, and creating bespoke content for the custom website.