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Published: 22 August 2020

By Andy Ross

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The embroidered bed sheet

During the Second World War Mrs Day Joyce was interned in a camp near Stanley Prison in Hong Kong. 

Day had moved to Hong Kong in 1940 and, upon the surrender of the colony to the Japanese, she remained to nurse at La Salle College hospital from whence she was sent to Stanley. 

During her time in the camp, Day used any coloured thread she could find to embroider a remarkable document, over three years, on a bed sheet that was hidden between the blankets of her bed. Names, events and places were all neatly stitched, and along the edges of the cloth, words from a dictionary, one word per day, were added, 1942-43 on the outside, 1943-44 inside that. 

This is a truly beautiful piece that captures in immaculate detail the experiences of a traumatic time. It is viewable in the Imperial War Museum, London, tucked away in a corner. This precious memoir of a turbulent period deserves to be better known.