IN 1942 Royal Artilleryman Stanley Warren rose from a bed in an improvised hospital in the dreaded Changi prisoner-of-war camp, Singapore, after a serious operation and started to paint the first of five murals on the walls of the camp chapel.
Our picture shows the fourth mural. the Crucifixion which he completed in 1943. The other murals were discovered by chance in 1958 and restored in 1963. In 1968, with news of the intended military withdrawal from Singapore, questions concerning the fate of the murals were asked in the House of Commons.
It is possible that they will come to Britain and be housed in the Royal Garrison Church, Aldershot, in a chapel dedicated to the memory of the Far Eastern war dead. Should there be a reversal of current British defence policy and our forces are kept East of Suez the murals may well remain where they are at present.
It is even possible that the murals, painted by Mr. Warren in gratitude to God for his recovery from kidney disease, may remain in their original setting.
The British Government has asked the Singapore Government for permission for the paintings to remain at Changi,
destined to become an international airport, with guaranteed access for future visits.
For a while the chapel was used as a storeroom and the paintings were painted over and forgotten. During re-decoration in 1958 they were rediscovered.
In 1963 the Royal Air Force flew Mr. Warren out to his old prison camp to restore the murals. He repainted four of them but left the fifth, a picture of St. Luke writing his Gospel in prison as a reminder of the original work executed among the terrible privations of the prisoners.
Wherever the murals stay they will be a permanent reminder of the faith and courage of the prisoners which enabled many of them to overcome evil and suffering to survive.