For the descendents of Richard Dearie and his son John Russell

Box 16, Somerset, Tasmania, 7322, Australia. 18/7/78

Dear Mr and Mrs Drysdale,

First of all we will thank you very much for your nice letter, now as far back as in January. Time just seems to fly away, but we hope you and all yours are still very well and happy. It was so good to hear about all your undertakings and the happiness you must feel by having such a clever and affectionate Family both in the second and third generation.

Here we have also had a very busy time and our greatest pleasure is the almost daily visit paid by Valborg and Bill and their 6 grandchildren. They arrive in singles or in groups. Specially at weekends they find time to see us, the girls often coming down on horseback. Molle and I of course, often take the 10 minutes walk

Thiel Marstrands's letter to John Drysdale which accompanied a copy of his memoirs:“ No Medals, The Saga of Thiel Marstrand during the Malayan Campaign” which can be read here.
John Drysdale's notes for his reply.

25/9/78 Darqu.

Dear Thiel,

Further to my letter of 13th Sept when I ack’d receipt of your Malayan record, Rita and I have read your memoirs with much interest and we both feel that you (are to) be congratulated on conducting yourself in a highly disciplined and highly principled manner throughout your many and varied experiences.

“No medals” by Thiel Marstrand should we think be entitled “No medals, the saga of Thiel Marstrand during the Malayan Campaign.”

It makes very interesting reading & I recollect all the individuals, both European & Asian that you mention including your mill workers & office staff and on several occasions I was reliving incidents to which you refer.

As far as medals are concerned, I think you, as an active member of the L. D. C., were entitled to the

Malayan Defence Medal & I believe that if you had returned to Malaya after the war you would have got one & I think Jack Draper would agree; so that maybe some consolation to your little grandson John.

I got one for my A. R. P. service. My work was regarded as of National importance & I wasn’t allowed to join the L. D. C. (I was over age anyway) but I was allowed to do ARP work in my own time and when other duties allowed.

The fact that I was not a member of the L. D. C. had unfortunate repercussions as my wife was not entitled to any allowance from the Malayan Govt. while she was in Australia. Fortunately, she had good friends.

I was interested to note that your friends at Batu Arang were among the nicer ones.

One incident which made me sad

was your experience with Mr. S. when you returned to Batu Arang after your leave in Norway.

I suspected that Mr. S. was trying to undermine your position during your absence & I used what influence I had in trying to counteract it.

It was an unfortunate and most undeserved experience for you while it lasted, but you came out of it well in the end. I never liked Mr. S.

Some happy interludes among your experiences were your contacts with your Norwegian sea-faring friends and the further contacts you had with some of them later.

The circumstances of your return to Batu Arang through the medium of your mill workers was I think unique that and your experience with the Japanese officials make interesting reading & the loyalty of your workers says much for your humane treatment of them.

You met some good Japs and some

bad ones, so did I, but I’m glad you met more good ones than I did.

When reading of the lesson taught you by Mrs Michaelson at the Danish Consulate, I was reminded of a similar incident concerning myself in our prison camp in Sumatra.

I had been working hard for the welfare of my fellow prisoners and an old friend took me aside and spoke to me as Mrs M. did to you and like you I accepted good advice.

Your position during the war period being Norwegian with Danish associates was rather unique and your experiences at Batu Arang, Singapore and Cameron Highlands were at times amazing and well worth recording and I think your decision to put it all down as you have done provides a family record of which the various members should be proud and Rita and I feel privileged in having a copy of it.

My elder daughter Catherine was always interested in the Plywood Factory at B. A. She often speaks of it and says she liked the smell of the hot veneer, so I intend letting her have perusal of your memoirs and I am sure the others will also wish to read them. I shall read them again, more than

once and will always feel in close association with you.

Again, many thanks and with kindest regards and best wishes to you all from us both.

Yours sincerely,

John Drysdale.


as I learned so much to appreciate and be thankful for the understanding and help you gave me also after the cessation of the War. I am also sending one copy to Bob Scott who now lives in Cork in Ireland. (Eire.)

I fully realise a few short comings in my report. I am not by any means fully familiar with the “Kings best English” and the typist has not always arranged the sections the way I wanted. A few names I may also have spelt wrongly. I have not described the life of the Europeans as much as I wanted, considering the fact that many of the people concerned are still alive and regarding a few with ”a bad report” I have just used the surname initial. But you will easily guess whom I refer to. The whole thing is only meant as a report of the true conditions during some exciting years, given to near relatives and friends

I am sending the photostat by sea mail simultaneously as I send this airmail letter.

With the kindest regards to you both and with best of wishes also for your big Family from

Molle and Thiel Marstrand.


up to their place, where we enjoy looking at all the activities.

Claus, Margaret and Jane had a wonderful holiday trip to Norway, where they spent Christmas with my relatives in Oslo, and New Year in Kristiansand with Molle’s relatives. It was a thrill for them all, may be most for Claus, who after 30 years of absence could prove that he was still quite steady on his skis.

I had really wanted to write to you earlier, but I have been waiting for my memoirs from Malaya (Malaysia) to be ready typewritten and then for Claus to have a dozen specimens of photo-stated ones ready for distribution to relatives and friends. It was, of course, mainly for the children and later generations of relatives I wanted to record a period and conditions which have gone for ever.

I am naturally glad to be able to send you a copy, Mr. Drysdale, .