The Changi Cup



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The Changi Cup

From "The Changi Cup" Historical Information Leaflet, Army Museum of NSW:

"The Changi Cup was built by a member of the Royal Australian Artillery in Changi POW Camp as a trophy for the AIF Sports Meeting held on the padang immediately in front of the then Convalescent Depot on Christmas Day 1942.

The materials used were limited to what was available, some dressed timber for a base, strips of duralumin (from aircraft wrecks) for a metal frame to hold the cup and, the cup was a half coconut shell dried and polished to look pleasing.

The following information is recorded on shield plates on the cup:



2/30 BN AND 2/4 MG BN


The Sports Meeting held at Changi on Christmas Day 1942 was perhaps the first occasion that a comprehensive "all in" gathering in the nature of a morale booster was organised following the capitulation the previous February. Many "working parties" had already left the Changi Camp for various places on Singapore Island and the largest, "A Force"', had departed for Burma to start working on the Burma/Thailand Railway, but most units of the AIF still had a good number of their personnel in Changi. It was during 1943 that the further movement of large working parties to the Burma/Thailand Railway took place, resulting in the appalling losses of hundreds of men before Christmas 1943.

At the conclusion of the athletic and field events on 25th December 1942, it was announced that the Changi Cup had been won by 2/30th Battalion and 2/4th MG Battalion and the Cup was duly presented to Major N. Johnston, then administering command of the 2/30th Battalion.

There was no further opportunity during the remaining period of captivity for the Cup to be competed for again. By Christmas 1943 the Selarang Barracks POW area was occupied almost entirely by sick and wounded men representing only small remnants of their respective units and, by Christmas 1944, all AIF POWs that were left at Changi were concentrated in very crowded conditions in Changi Gaol and its immediate environs.

In April 1943, Major Johnston left Changi in command of the train load of POWs of "F Force" to entrain for Thailand, and the Changi Cup was amongst the few possessions in his officer's steel trunk which was loaded with other baggage at Singapore, offloaded at Bampong in Thailand, and then left to the tender mercies of looters on the side of the road. Nine months later when the railway was completed the survivors of 'F Force' were brought back to Kanchanaburi where they stayed for up to a month awaiting orders to entrain back to Singapore Island.

During the time spent at Kanchanaburi, arrangements were made for officer's trunks to be brought from Bampong and returned to their owners. Most of those trunks were empty or had little of any significance in them. However, in Major Johnston's trunk, was the broken Changi Cup.

The return of these items to Australia was arranged and, after holding the cup for more than 30 years, Major Johnston felt it should be displayed appropriately as an interesting relic of those memorable, if unhappy, days. He therefore selected "A Company" 17RNSWR as the one place where the traditions of the Purple and Gold colour patch and associated regimental treasures are held dear.

On the Gemas Day Parade held on 16th January 1977 the Changi Cup was presented to Major R.S. Cuddy, then OC A Coy 17RNSWR, at the Pymble Headquarters of the Battalion in the presence of Colonel G.E. Ramsay ED, Patron of the 2/30th AIF Association and an erstwhile Second in Command of the 17th Battalion AMF, as also was Major N. Johnston, before joining the Second AIF

This information leaflet was produced by:

Army Museum of New South Wales Victoria Barracks Paddington NSW 2021 with assistance from New South Wales Scottish Regimental Association, Association of 17th Battalions, 2nd/17th Battalion The Royal New South Wales Regiment, 6 June 2004"

(Source: Changi Cup Historical Information Leaflet - Army Museum of NSW, Victoria Barracks, Paddington, NSW , 6/6/2004)


Last updated 24/08/2022