Memories Of The Sparse Age
"... Our camp was a former university campus, occupying I suppose about one square mile. In fact, we occupied about two-thirds of the campus. There was a section of buildings which for some arbitrary reason -- maybe the Japs were short of wire -- they'd left out. Something like fifteen buildings were on the other side of the wire. You can imagine a little township of big, two- or three-storey buildings, the nearest of which was about twenty yards away. A complete silent world, which I looked out on every morning and all day from my block."
"After about a year the Japs agreed to allow these buildings to be used as a school, so we used to enter this place every day, and walk through these abandoned rooms. Military equipment was lying around all over the place. I saw rifles being taken out of a well. All rifles were taken away, but spent ammunition, ammunition boxes and bayonets, all the debris of war, was lying around. We used to walk through this totally empty zone. It had been deserted for years..."
From an interview with JGB conducted by David Pringle and Jim Goddard on 4th January 1975.
The Recollections of Lunghwa Civilian Assembly Centre Internees.
Above: Deirdre Fee's illustration of the Lunghwa Dining Room queue, and below, her illustration of the camp's recreation grounds.
Rachel Bosebury Beck, Heather Burch, Oliver & Sue Hall and Valerie Tulloch all survived incarceration at the hands of the Japanese in the Lunghwa Civilian Assembly Centre outside of Shanghai from 1943 to 1945. They shared the camp with the young JG Ballard and his parents, but only a few make reference to Empire Of The Sun.