Morpeth Teapot Exhibition: PHOTOS

FAMILY LINK:  India Simmonds-Webb with her grandfather’s Changi teapot. 
 	Picture by CATH BOWEN 170814CB090
FAMILY LINK: India Simmonds-Webb with her grandfather’s Changi teapot. Picture by CATH BOWEN 170814CB090

India Simmonds-Webb will never see the horrors her grandfather has seen.

And, hopefully, she’ll never watch young healthy men fall to their graves or become imprisoned in a lifetime of hell.

But with one small copper teapot and a battered army-green cap the little Morpeth girl’s connection to war is as long as it is strong.

When India’s grandfather Alfred John “Jack” Simmonds was released from Changi Prison during World War II he smuggled the teapot with him.

This week, in honour of Jack (now 92), the family will reveal the sentimental object as part of the 25th annual Morpeth Teapot Festival.

“Jack was taken during the Fall of Singapore, during World War II, and sent to Changi where he served as a prisoner of war,” Jack’s daughter-in-law Lisa Webb said. 

“But he managed to smuggle out this teapot and if he had been caught he would have been killed. So while it’s not the most glamorous of teapots it has an amazing story and it’s so very special to us.”

The teapot is also inscribed with the names of the prison camps (Changi, Adam Park, Osaka and Takefu) Jack was sent to during, what should have been, the prime of his life.

In 2011 Jack was one of five Australian Prisoners of War who returned to Japan at the request of the Japanese Government.

About 22,000 Australians became prisoners of war (POWs) under the Japanese army after ­battles such as Java and Singapore.

Most of the POWs were sent to Japan and Southeast Asia like the Thai-Burma railway, also known as “Death Railway”.

About 8000 POWs died of the harsh labour, starvation and disease.

“The most incredible thing is that Jack has forgiven the Japanese,” Ms Webb said. “He can’t forget ... but he has forgiven.” 

* The Morpeth Teapot Exhibition opens on Thursday. The Changi teapot will be on show in Princess Bazaar in Swan Street.

This story Morpeth Teapot Exhibition: PHOTOS first appeared on The Maitland Mercury.


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