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Ancestors of Mathias Apol...
Forum: I'm Looking for...
Last Post: Waltergap
09-10-2015, 07:10 PM
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The War Years by Ann Clin...
Forum: Gossip
Last Post: Roy
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  Ancestors of Mathias Apolinario Rodrigues and Mauricia De Mello
Posted by: Roy - 05-10-2015, 02:00 PM - Forum: I'm Looking for... - Replies (1)

Mathias and Mauricia are our 3X great grandparents. We only have one child recorded and that is Ricardo Mathias Rodrigues who married Angelica Minjoot. Ricardo and Angelica were our grandmother's (Bertha Rodrigues) grandparents.

 We estimate Mathias and Mauricia were born in the very early 1800's. We would like to find out more about them and their ancestors.

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  The War Years by Ann Clinch (nee Simon)
Posted by: Roy - 03-10-2015, 07:00 PM - Forum: Gossip - Replies (1)

By Ann Clinch (Formerly De Rozario nee Simon)

My mother, Jenny Simon, was born Jenny Victoria Cedillo on the 25th of July 1911 to Porteus Cedillo and Rosalind Abbot. [NB: We have Jenny s DOB as 1912]

She had two sisters, Isabella - born in 1908 and Julia who everyone called Girlie. There were also three brothers: Cecil, whose nickname was Baba; Cyril and Norman. Jenny also had a stepbrother named John. He was tagged "Blackie". John was the son of Rosalind through a brief marriage after the death of Porteus. I cannot remember her second husband.

My grandfather, Porteus, migrated from the Philippines. He passed away before I was born, so I know very little about him other than he was a barber in Manila. I remember a photograph of him in the dining room in the last home we lived in before the war.

Prior to meeting my father, Richard Marks Simon, Jenny worked at Robinson's in Singapore. Richard was born in Ceylon and moved to India with his parents and sister. Although they were not happy with his decision to migrate to Singapore, the Simons corresponded by mail up until the War.

I remember my mother being very happy when she was young. She had all she wanted: a good husband, a nice home at 18 Tessensohn Road, and, at the time, six children. There was me, Ann Muriel, the oldest; Mavis Philomena; Edwin Honorous; Claude; Felix Ignatius; and Henrietta Sylvia.

Jenny shared her bliss. I'll never forget this part of my life. Everyone seemed happy. If there were any problems or arguments between my parents, I knew nothing of it. Our Christmases, in particular were wonderful. I remember my mother's cooking - the smell of roasting, baking and the freshness of everything.

I had started school and made my First Holy Communion. Life seemed endless.
It was soon after this things started to go wrong.

Around 1938 Claude died of convulsions aged about three. War broke out in Europe in 1939, and in 1941 my mother gave birth to twins, a girl and a boy, at K K Hospital. Unfortunately the boy died at birth, though my sister, Muriel, survived.

Within a year, there was another birth - my brother, Malcolm Richard. He was to die in my mother's arms only a few weeks later. If I remember correctly, the cause of his death was also convulsions.

Then came the bombs and Singapore was under attack from the Japanese.

The death of three of her children and her world in chaos - Jenny was only thirty.

Just before war came, my Aunty Girlie and Uncle Norman lived with us. Perhaps this was to help out after the death of Malcolm. Soon after, my grandmother (Rosalind) and a grandaunt (Aunty Bat) also stayed in our home.

I remember my father having a meeting with some of our neighbours. They were discussing building a bomb shelter, which they did under our house using sand bags. When we heard the sirens, we went down to the shelter, but my father used to stay out to watch the fighter planes and the fighting. My mother was afraid for him and used to scream for him to get into the shelter, but usually to no avail.

As the battle for Singapore intensified, more and more soldiers made their way into our area. There were many military trucks and big guns. There was also a lot of ammunition stacked in our backyard.

It was now getting dangerous and we were advised to move out of the house. We ran to the Adelphi Hotel where my father worked.

On February 15, 1942 the British surrendered and Singapore was in Japanese hands. The bombing had stopped and we returned to our home.

Many of the houses in the area were damaged or destroyed. Fortunately our home was still standing. To us children everything gradually seemed to return to normal except there were more Japanese around. My father even continued to work at the Adelphi for a while.

Not long after, he and a few friends started a small palm oil business in Malaya. I don't know much about the business, but he was in Jahore the day "the men" came to get him.

I remember it clearly. My mother was on the veranda of our house with Muriel in her arms. She was talking to a neighbour when about ten cars pulled up. The men led by an Inspector Reney rushed out demanding to see my father.

When they were told he was in Johore, they ransacked the house apparently looking specifically for an "illegal" radio, which they did not find. Although they spent hours searching, they found nothing - accept for one item.

I don't know what it was but one particular man found it hidden inside a mattress. He secretly gave it to my mother and told her to bury it when they left. He said if it were to be discovered, Richard would be killed without a trial.

Some of the men then went to Johore. They brought my father back to the house but did not bring him inside. They made him and the other men they had arrested sit on the side of the road before taking them to the notorious Outram Road Prison.

I only saw my father once more after that. He died there just before the end of the War. Unfortunately I do not have anything that used to belong to him as the Japanese had confiscated nearly everything.

In fact, my mother was left with just a rattan trunk with a few photos, some clothing and a few bits and pieces. She also had something that belonged to my father, which she treasured. It was a sports trophy, a cup probably for cricket, a sport he loved dearly.

Apparently there was a radio that he and some of his friends used for keeping up with the news out of Britain. For whatever reason, a man named Douglas Grey told the police about it.

After my father's arrest, we were forced to move around for a while - first with Aunty Belle, then Uncle Norman, and then Aunty Girlie in Penang. She had married a policeman from there, Leonard Jambu, just before my father's death. We were there for a few months before returning to Singapore.

My mother was by now quite ill. To ease the burden, she left my brother, Edwin, who was about ten, in Penang when we returned. She also sent my sisters, Mavis and Henrietta, and myself to board and school at the Convent of The Holy Infant Jesus.

With only six or seven year five year old Felix and little Muriel to look after, she managed for a while. But Jenny's condition was getting worse. Uncle Blackie found her a place to live. Aunty Isabelle took Muriel to her own home in Joo Chiat Road to look after her, and my sisters and I were brought home from the Convent to help out. All that my mother had when we moved into this house was the rattan trunk.

There was very little food or money. Uncle Blackie came back from time to time with some food and a few dollars. We all slept on the floor. The times were very tough.

The house was near a Japanese camp and one day an officer came to the house. He had heard about my mother. When he saw her there on the floor suffering from beriberi, he ensured hot food was brought to the house everyday. Medication was also brought for Jenny. This continued for the remainder of the war. It would be nice to know who this kind Japanese officer was.

Then one day a car pulled up at the front of the house. It was Aunty Belle with my cousin Raymond. Raymond jumped out of the car, rushed to my mother and innocently blurted out, "Aunty Jenny, Muriel died."

My mother cried very loudly. She was in shock. We were all saddened. We were piled into the car, and went with Aunty Belle back to Joo Chiat Place. The car was small so we only took what we could with us. We never went back to that house again. Some of the little we had was left behind, including my mother's rattan trunk.

After Muriel's funeral, my sisters and I were sent back to the Convent to finish our schooling. We only came home during the holidays.

The War ended and the Japanese surrendered. As for Jenny Victoria Simon, she passed away on the 3rd of October 1988 in Perth, Western Australia. The sadness never left her eyes.

[Image: attachment.php?aid=6]
(Jenny Victoria Simon - nee Cedillo)

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