John Noel Douglas Harrison

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John Noel Douglas Harrison

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John Noel Douglas Harrison spent 25 years in Malaya and China, surviving several years in Changi prison camp and a murder attempt by bandits, before settling in Tasmania in 1958.
Harrison was born in 1911. He left England at the age of 22 to take up an appointment as probationary Assistant Commissioner in the Malaya Police Service. In 1933 he was sent to China to study Cantonese for two years, and he was later to teach this language to fellow prisoners in Changi. He was a POW in Changi in 1942 and 1943 before being moved to Sime Road in May 1944 until his release in 1945. While imprisoned he used his talent for drawing, his sketches and paintings depicting many aspects of prison life. He was later to exhibit in the Royal Academy and the Paris Salon.

In 1948, at the beginning of the Malayan Emergency, Harrison was appointed Superintending Officer of Police at Tapah, one of the areas worst affected by Communist terrorism. Two months after his appointment as CPO, Negri Sembilan, in May 1949, he was ambushed at Durian Tipus and lost part of his right hand. For a year from April 1952 he was in charge of retraining all police officers and men, and then served two years as CPO, Perak. His final posting before retirement was to Alor Star, Kedah/Perlis in 1955 as Chief Police Officer. John Harrison died in October 1980.


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