HILL, Alastair Campbell. Scenes from Sumatra. [Almondsbury], Mary Campbell Hill, .
8vo. Original boards with illustrated dust-wrappers; pp. 143, illustrated with facsimiles and after photographs; a fine association copy of a rare and privately printed work.
First edition. Alistair' Campbell Hill's account of his experiences as a prisoner of the Japanese from 1942 to 1945 pulls no punches in its description of the inhuman treatment inflicted on himself and fellw prisoners of war, many of whom did not live to tell the tale' (inside front flap). - This copy from the library of the fellow inmate on Sumatra Nowell Peach (bookplate) and inscribed by him with a miniature essay on the author, and a few ms. annotations and corrections to the text in his hand. 'By the end of February 1942 Peach was working alongside the legendary Australian surgeon and commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Edward 'Weary' Dunlop at the No 1 Allied General Hospital in Bandung. Following the Dutch surrender (during the night of 8/9 March), the Japanese allowed the staff to continue treating battle casualties for a further six weeks before suddenly closing the hospital. During that time Dunlop, knowing of Peach's intention to become a surgeon, found a secondhand 1936 American edition of Gray's anatomy in Bandung and presented it to him. After gaining Japanese permission to keep the text book (evidenced by a rubber-stamped 'chop' or mark), Peach read it from cover to cover throughout the three and a half years of his captivity, memorising the contents. This was to prove invaluable to him on his return to medical practice after the war. Equipped with little more than his knowledge and a handful of portable instruments, Peach, along with other medical officers, was sent to the nearby Bandung prisoner of war camp for several months. Then, in late summer, he was moved again, this time to Batavia (now known as Jakarta), where he spent a week, before being transferred to the large transit camp at Tandjong Priok. For the next six months he busied himself not only with medical duties, but also with research into a painful side effect of vitamin deficiency' (Obituary. Royal College of Surgeons of England, online). - Lieutenant Colonel Edward 'Weary' Dunlop contributed the foreword to this book. - Together with seven pieces of correspondence between Nowell Peach's and Alistair Campbell Hill's family and later, widow.