Despite his own sufferings, Searle continued to draw what he saw, hiding his sketches under the mattresses of men dying of cholera to prevent their discovery by Japanese guards. “I desperately wanted to put down what was happening, because I thought if by any chance there was a record, even if I died, someone might find it and know what went on,” he recalled.
A fellow prisoner later recalled of Searle: “If you can imagine something that weighs six stone or so, is on the point of death and has no qualities of the human condition that aren’t revolting, calmly lying there with a pencil and a scrap of paper, drawing, you have some idea of the difference of temperament that this man had from the ordinary human being.”
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