Ipohworld's World

Saving Yesterday For Tomorrow

Published by Media Masters, Singapore and Authored by Sybil Kathigasu, Chin Peng and Ian Ward and Norma Miraflor, Faces of Courage stands as the first in-depth study of Malaya’s legendary war-time heroine, Sybil Kathigasu, and the impact her dauntless decisions and actions had on the members of her immediate family.

An essential aspect of this book is the personalized historical background and insight on the Japanese occupation era provided by former Secretary General of the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM), Chin Peng. It was Sybil’s association with the Perak People’s Anti-Japanese Army (PPAJA) – the communist-controlled guerilla organization in which Chin Peng played such a leading role – that provided the very foundation on which the Kathigasu legend eventually emerged and flourished.

Faces of Courage throws fresh light on a quite extraordinary story that became caught in a politically-induced, post-World War II time warp.

Sybil’s book, No Dram of Mercy, in which she recounts her horrific experiences as a prisoner of the Japanese Kempeitai, was completed several months before her death in June, 1948. But the manuscript was withheld from publication until 1954. British colonial interests deemed nothing good should be said about the communists in Malaya while Commonwealth forces still struggled to gain supremacy in the bitter jungle war known as the Malayan Emergency.

So often the cursory re-telling of legendary tales creates ill-conceived myths. The Sybil Kathigasu story is a case in point. And here the effect has only been compounded by Britain’s original propaganda ploy.

Faces of Courage is a book within a book. Sybil’s personal record, No Dram of Mercy, constitutes the opening section of this three-part volume. As such it provides a ready reference point for the revealing research, observations and reflections that follow.  

  1. ika says:

    If you go to our database archive, via the homepage link (top right), select ‘Photograph’ and search for ‘Kathigasu’ you will find a tremendous amount of material. There are also a few items under ‘Ephemera’.
    Good Hunting.

  2. Isaacs George says:

    Hi there,

    I will be in KL in early January and would like to purchase the above book or Dram of Mercy. Could you tell me which book shops in KL stock these items?

    Thanks,
    Isaacs George

  3. Shawn says:

    Hi there,

    No Dram Of Mercy – If one had read the book, one would be led to believe that what’s in print is all utterly true, but on the contrary, some of it aren’t.

    Whoever that re-wrote the book, got his/her/their facts all wrong! This is very misleading as whoever reads the book would assume it to be true.

    Only those dear to Sybil i.e family, relatives and friends would actually know what transpired back then with Sybil and all those involved during those trying times.

    Allow me to fill you in with the true actual facts about Sybil and the people that was involved during her imprisonment.

    – The book, No Dram Of Mercy clearly stated Sybil was born in Penang.She was born in Medan, Sumatra, Indonesia. Her mom named her Sybil Medan Daly – her middle name being the place of birth.

    – Her mom’s name is Beatrice Matilda Martin. She is not of Indian descent as most online site about Sybil claims her to be one. I have no idea where they got “her mom’s Indian” fact from. Sybil’s mom is Eurasian too. Her father, Pierre Louie Martin is Pure French and mom a Penang Eurasian is Adeline Morrett. Sybil’s father is Joseph Daly. Hence, Sybil is entirely Eurasian and not of Irish-Indian descent.

    – In the book, there was a mention of a certain “Matron Stephens”. It’s actually “Matron Stephenson” – MY MATERNAL GRANDMOTHER. Her name was Irene Antoinette Pereira, Eurasian of Portuguese descent from Malacca who married Robert Claude Stephenson – My GRANDFATHER, a Penang Eurasian. Now you know how I know all of these.

    My grandfather Mr. Stephenson and Sybil were cousins. In the book, it was only mentioned that “Sybil met Matron Stephens at the Batu Gajah prison and have known her for years, but never did mention Sybil was actually her sister-in-law, her counsin’s wife.

    My grandmother, did so much more for Sybil but none of those were mentioned in the book apart from Sybil’s torture. My grandmother, in the year 1945, was pregnant to my mother when all of these took place. While assisting and helping Sybil in prison, she was carrying my mother in her womb. Upon hearing that my grandmother was assisting, helping and also being an informant to Sybil, the Japs, with the use of a rifle, hit my grandmother at her thigh until she fell on the floor and on another occasion pointed a knife at her womb, threatened to kill her – of cause with her carrying my mom in her womb.

    None of these was mentioned in the book. What was mentioned was that “Matron Stephens soon after resigned and was replaced by another Matron”. She DID NOT resign, he gave birth to my mom on July 1 1945. She was on maternity, she did not resign. The author obviously got the facts wrong. With the grace of God my mother was born healthy and my grandmother had a save delivery eventhough she was bleeding profusely.

    My grandmother came back soon after that and she was the one who pointed-out to the British, all the Japs that tortured Sybil.

    She risked her life but got nothing in return. It’s not that she wanted anything. She did it out of Love and moreover it was just the right thing to do, something humane.

    At least the author should get the facts right before publishing anything that was a real-life event.

    Go ask Olga, the only surviving daughter for clarification on what i have just mentioned.

    To my deareast Grandma, Irene Antoinette Pereira nee Stephenson, many if not all would have forgotten your sacrifices and what you did to save Sybil, but I your grandson and also your daughter whom you gave birth to, amidst all that took place, SALUTE you for the courage, bravery and also for the person you truly were.

    May You Rest In Peace!

    • ANNE TAYLOR says:

      SHAWN – HOW ARE YOU CONNECTED TO MY GREAT GREAT GRANDFATHER, PIERRE LOUIS MARTIN, BURIED IN PENANG CATHOLIC CEMETARY – HE CAME OUT FROM FRANCE AS A 14 YEAR OLD – I HAVE HIS DEATH CERTIFCATE -HIS FATHER WAS PIERRE JEREMIE ,BORN LISIEUX, FRANCE. PIERRE LOUIS MARRIED? AN EURASIAN GIRL – IT WAS SAID THEY HAD 10 CHILDREN. ONE CHILD JULES PIERRE (VERY CONFUSING) MARRIED MARY CHARLESON, DAUGHTER OF A CAPTAIN IN THE INDIAN ARMY. THEY HAD THREE CHILDREN, MY GRANDFATHER, ANOTHER JULES PIERRE, AUNTIE MABEL, AND UNCLE CLOVIS. I WORKED FOR MY GRANDFATHER IN PENANG – HE AND HIS DUTCH WIFE PETRONELLA NYSSEN LIVED IN A HOUSE THAT IN MACALISTER ROAD THAT MY GREAT GRANDFATHER BUILT. IT HAS SINCE BEEN DEMOLISHED. PLEASE WRITE IF YOU WISH TO. ANNE MARTIN (TAYLOR)

  4. ika says:

    Hello and welcome Shawn.

    Regarding Olga and the true story of Sybil and her family, I did interview Olga some time ago about the family and the details she gave me agree with your comments above. We have included those facts on our main database archive and the entry on Sybil can be found at http://www.ipohworld.org/search8/result.asp?strid=685.

    Olga has an extremely detailed memory and consequently we have a great deal of the Kathigasu story on our archive, for example http://www.ipohworld.org/search8/result.asp?strid=797 has photographs of her grandmother, mother and Sybil (at 2 years and seventeen).

    With your obviously intimate knowlege of the family I would be delighted if you would check out our entries and let me know where you think we have errors or missing details.

    Thank you for visiting ipohWorld’s World and we look forward to heraing from you.

  5. Shawn says:

    Hello there Ika,

    It is indeed a pleasure having you to write me back. I must say “Thank You” for digesting all that I had to say. It is certainly much appreciated.

    It is just so that I happened to have a crystal clear memory like Aunt Olga – she is in point of fact, my grand-aunt and Sybil is my great-grand aunt. I happen to know so much simply because we are family plus all Aunt Olga and my mom had to say of what happened back then. Also I would attribute it to my inquisitiveness in constantly wanting to know everything from A till Z.

    In terms of errors and missing details, I should applaud you firstly for the detailed history of Sybil and her entirely family – dating back since 1832.

    Perhaps, if you could right the very few minor ‘slip-ups’ i.e the moment one goggles anything on Sybil (Wikipedia states that Sybil is born to an Irish planter and Indian mother) – the mention of her being of Irish-Indian parentage, which is certainly not true as both her parents are Eurasians. Her mom, Beatrice Matilda Daly nee Martin who is part French part Eurasian, is mistakenly mentioned as Indian. Would you be able to correct that? Aunt Olga did tell me this, she never asked her grandmother – Beatrice why she put herself as Eurasian and not French, as her father was French.

    As for Dr A C Kathigasu, both his mom and dad’s name is misspelled. His father’s name is Kanapathi Pillay and not Canatapai Pillay. His mother’s name is Thangam, not Thanagan. I clearly remember Aunt Olga mentioning this to me, that her paternal grandfather is “Kanapathi Pillay” a Ceylonese and grandmother “Thangam” which means “Gold” in Tamil, who is also a Ceylonese. Whenever she mentioned of her paternal gramdmother, she would always mention her in this manner, “My paternal grandmother’s name is Thangam which means ‘gold’ in Tamil. Hence, i’m positive that my facts are accurate. Aunt Olga was never close to her father’s side of the family. She was more of a Eurasian than a Ceylonese.

    After her(Olga) mother’s demise, Aunt Olga came to live with my Grandmother(Irene – Matron Stephens)and family. Thus, my mom(Carmen), grew up knowing all the stories of Sybil and all that happened during the Japs occupation from my grandmother and Aunt Olga.

    Would there be by any chance if you could include information of my grandmother – Matron Stephens in here? Information of her as in what was mentioned in the book – No Dram of Mercy and also what i mentioned in here which the book missed out on. Besides,information of her name in full – Irene Antoinette Pereira nee Stephenson ( Born February 21 1914 and died September 22 1982 ), a Eurasian of Portuguese Descent from Malacca who married my grandfather – Robert Claude Stephenson ( born October 10 1911 and died March 16 1983 ), a Penang Eurasian.

    I reckon Aunt Olga as well as Sybil together with her entire family would want “Matron Stephens” to be acknowledged too for her sacrifice in risking her life for Sybil even though she was pregnant to my mom (Carmen Pauline Stephenson, born July 1 1945) at that time – the year 1945 ( the rifle & knife incident amongst others )- mentioned in my first email.

    I have pictures of my grandmother while serving in the police force, also as a Matron – in case if you want to have it uploaded in here.

    Thank you once again for all that you have done…and still doing!!

    Cheers!

    -Shawn-

  6. felicia says:

    Hi Shawn. yes, DO send us a copy of the pictures you mentioned (600dpi, if possible). thank you once again for the details.
    you can email these photos to this address => info(at)ipohworld.org

  7. ika says:

    Hi Shawn, thanks for the long comment and the detail therein. Certainly I can make the corrections and will do it next week when I have time to sit down. Corrections always take longer than original.

    As Felicia has said we would be happy to have high resolution scans. As much of the story as possible will also be welcome.

    Thanks again.

  8. Shawn says:

    Hi there Felicia & Ika,

    Thank you for the swift reply.

    Sure, I’ll be glad to mail you pixs of me grandmother at the given email add. Will do it asap.

    You have all the info on me grandmother or you need additional info? Please do let me know.

    Thank you both once again and take care!

    Cheers!

  9. ika says:

    Shawn, We will put up as much as you want to give us and as many photos as you send us, not only here on the blog, but also on the main database archive where they will join the other 4500 + articles and images.

    Why not email us the photos and words exactly as you would like to see them published.

  10. ika says:

    Hi Shawn,

    I have made a number of amendments to our archive based on your recommendations, but may not have found them all. Please let me know if you find more.

    We still look forward to your input about your grandmother etc as soon as you van find time.

  11. Chris says:

    Dear Ika and Shawn
    I was absolutely delighted to read Shawn’s comments on “No Dram of Mercy” as he shed a great deal of light on my own family history. I am ashamed to admit that I new little of Sybil Kathigasu before I came across Shawns comments in your blog and then started a new line of research into my ancestors. Beatrice Mathilde Martin, who Shawn points out, was Sybil’s mother, was my great grandfather’s sister, and Pierre Louis Martin was my great/great grandfather. He had a son Jules Pierre Martin, my great grandfather, and his son also Jules Pierre was my grandfather. Both were born in Medan as was my father.

    My recent investigations into the family history were prompted by my niece who recently visited Penang and wanted to visit Pierre Louis’ gravesite; unfortunately she was unsuccesful in finding it. According to an old letter from my grandfather it is located in Penang in the Catholic cemetery next to the Tamil Church. My wife and I are also visiting Penang early next month and would dearly love to be able to find it. I have a photograph (taken when I don’t know) of the grave but cannot make out the inscription.

    The photograph of Evelyn Adeline Martin that you have on Ipohworld is the only photograph that I have seen of my great/great grandmother. It would be magnificent to locate such a photo of Pierre Louis. My grandfather and his father were merchants in Penang and I have a number of old photographs which may be of interest to your readers.

    I would love to meet with anyone who can help with the family tree investigations when I visit Penang from 6 Novemeber.

    Thanks for a wonderful website and blog.
    Chris

  12. ika says:

    Delighted to see you on our site and that we have helped to spur you on towards your family heritage. Regarding the visit to Penang why not contact Penang Heritage Trust: http://www.pht.org.my in the first instance, they might be able to put you on to someone who knows about these things. The Penang Heritage Trust is Penang’s civic organisation established to promote Penang’s heritage. It organises regular activities and visits to heritage sites and buildings.

    Regarding you photographs and letters etc, of course we would love to have high resolution scans (say 600dpi) of whatever you can let us have. In return I am sure we can let you have a good scan of Evelyn Adeline Martin if you would like one. We can receive scans up to 20Mb at one time on info@ipohworld.org.

    We look forward to hearing from you.

    • ANNE TAYLOR says:

      IKA HAVE YOU GOT THE EMAIL ADDRESS OF JEREMIE AND MARY MARTIN. JEREMIE IS MY FIRST COUSIN. HE IS ON YOUR SITE AND I WISH TO TALK TO HIM ABOUT OUR HISTORY. I HAVE LOST THEIR ADDRESS.

      ANNE TAYLOR MARTIN

  13. Mary Penelope Young says:

    Dear Chris:

    Even as I write this, you are in Penang exploring our mutual family history. How lucky and exciting!

    Hello! According to the names of ancestors we are some kind of cousins. Our great-great grandfather was the Penang Frenchman Pierre Louis Martin who married a woman named Adeline; and our great-grandfathers were brothers (Jules Pierre and James). More exciting!

    I have been searching for years for information on my father’s side of the family and today I hit pay dirt (see above). Randomly I entered Martin family, Penang on Google and the story of Sybil flashed on my screen. Do I dare to say the rest is history? More lucky!

    My cousins and others have also, of course, been working on the genealogy for a long time. All of them now reside in Australia. I live in Florida, USA. In front of me, on my desk is a two-sided legal-sized sheet of paper with complicated lists typed and hand-written,red and black arrows both solid and broken. But as I read your e-mail, names leapt out at me – Pierre Louis, French, Eurasian, Adeline ( my sister’s name also); Beatrice; Jules.

    I could go on and on. This is heady stuff. But it is better to quit while I’m ahead, so that it does not get more convoluted. Needless to say, I am thrilled to be related to wonderful women like Sybil and Matron Stephenson. My father probably knew them. He was quite a hero in his own way during the Japanese occupation. Also, it is very pleasing to have more cousins.

    Now that I am all agog and hoping you are also, I would very much appreciate more discussion with you on our connectedness. I plan on looking at the Penang Heritage Trust too.

    Looking forward to hearing from you.

    Wishes…God bless you.

    Mary Penelope Young

    PS Shawn is certainly a great resource. I look forward to learning of our relationsahip also. MPY

    • ANNE TAYLOR says:

      PENELOPE I HOPE YOU RECEIVE THIS – I HAVE SPOKEN TO YOU BEFORE AND WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU AAIN RE JULES PIERRE MARTI

  14. S.Sundralingam says:

    Dear Mary,

    Your search would not be complete without reaching for further
    information from Law Siak Hong ( the Vice-President of Perak Heritage Society). He rents the No.74, Main Road, Papan shophouse which was once the famous refuge camp for many resistance fighters. Its was at this shophouse where Dr. Kathigasu operated his clinic. Presently Hong runs this place with a historical collections dedicated to the war heroine Sybil Kathigasu. You can reach at perakheritage36@gmail.com.

  15. Mary Penelope Young says:

    Thank you S.Sundralingam, Felicia,ika, et al for the detailed information and discussion regarding the Martin family. I shall indeed contact Mr. Law in Perak about the “insurgents” that played a vital part in keeping spirits up during the years of the Japanese occupation. My father, Constantine Roderick “Paddy” Martin was operating out of Kuala Lumpur where he resided with his family throughout that period.

    I will continue to do my homework as I really would like to discover more about James Martin, brother of Jules.

    My wishes to all,

    Mary Penelope (call me “Penny”) Young

  16. chen he 陈河 says:

    Dear Ika
    My name is Chen he(陈河), I’m an Chinese Canadian author. I’ve written a book called “The War in Sarawak” and it was published in China this year october. The book talks about a young Chinese Canadian soldier joined the English troop to fight the war in Sarawak during World War II. From my research, I found a book called “No Dram of Mercy” by Sybil Kathigasu. I was very inspired and touched by the book, and I’ve decided to write a story about Kathigasu, and to share the story with millions of readers in China.
    Now my book “The Ware in Sarawak” is selling very well in mainland China, and the book was also recommended by the Ministry Of Tourism Malaysia and Sarawak Tourism Board. My next step is to write the story about Kathigasu. I still have a lot of research to do for preparation of the book, and I’m also planning to have a trip to Ipoh. While I was doing my research online, I’ve discovered that you have an insightful knowledge of Kathigasu, thus I’m writing this email to you, and hope you can share your knowledge and offer me some assistance.
    Thanks so much!

    Regards,
    Chen he 陈河

  17. aravind says:

    Wow…! The plot gets thicker by the day….! What a wonderful blog. You in fact “unite” people. I have been following your blog for some time now but this effort on Sybil is a master-piece, so to speak. Loved reading it.I lived in Ipoh for a while in the late eighties b4 I moved to KL. Married to someone from Ipoh though hence the interest about everything Ipoh. Keep up the good work.

  18. ika says:

    We are always pleased to help where we can, but with only two of us our available time is very limited. However, do let us know when you are coming and we shall see what can be done to help.

  19. Anne Taylor says:

    Gosh have I found “the missing link”? My great great IS Pierre Louis Martin. He came out to Penang as a 15 year old and is buried in the old Catholic cemetary in Farquhar Street Penang. His father, a Frenchman, was Pierre Jeremie. I have never been able to find the name of the wife of Pierre Louis, but was told he married? a Eurasian and had 10? children. So could his wife be Adelene Morrett. Love to hear further.

    Anne Taylor (Martin) – Australia

  20. Mary & Jeremy Martin says:

    I was very surprised to come across all of you on the internet as I think my husband is related to some of you. I suspect that you have filled in a lot of missing links for us. We are also considering visiting Penang to trace the family history which is very interesting and unusual. According to our information Jeremy’s great great grandfather is Pierre Jules Martin b 1830 in Lisieux. His great grandfather is Jules Pierre Martin b 1860 in Penang and his grandfather is Jules Pierre Martin b 1887 in Penang. Our family story is very similiar. Jeremy’s parents looked after his grandparents (Oma & Opa) in later life and we have a few photographs, letters, information. Anne Taylor , please are you connected to Simone and Cameron Parkin? I am also asking the same questions as you are. I have not made the connection back to Sybil, Evelyn Adeline and Beatrice Mathilda Martin. It would be wonderful to complete the family tree even though it may become extremely convoluted.

  21. ika says:

    Anne,Mary and Jeremy. I think that the best thing I can do is put you in touch by email if you would like me to. Then you can sort this out and let us know the outcome. Would you like me to do that?

    Now of course – the payback! We would be pleased to have good scans of any photographs or documents that link in with the Kathigasu family in order to enhance our archives. Generally the best quality scan is at 600dpi and all donors will be credited.

    I look forward to hearing from you.

  22. Mary & Jeremy Martin says:

    Dear Ika, Thank you for your email. The blogs of Mary Penelope Young and Chris are also ringing bells. However I have not made the connection back to the Kathigasu family as yet. In typical Martin fashion Jeremy & I travel and are in Ethiopia at present. The only photos I have to hand are photographs of photographs that I have stored on my computer and I cannot be certain of the names of the people at this stage. I would like to buy the book “No dram of Mercy” and try to link the female names mentioned. There are too many gaps for us at present.

  23. Melissa says:

    Hello everyone!

    My gosh, looks like a lot of people got new info about their family tree.

    I am related to Dr. Kathigasu (he is my dad’s uncle, my dad was a penang boy too), and through marriage Sybil is my grand aunt I guess.

    Ika, Shawn and Chris (or anyone else), would you have further information about Dawn? Who are her children? She married William Bruce Spalding, but there’s no info about him at all.

    Shawn, I’d love to hear more stories about Sybil, my grand uncle Kathigasu and even Dawn! Do you have any more memories or stories about them? Thanks!

  24. Gopal Raj Kumar says:

    To Shawn and all others infatuated by the legend of Sybil Karthighesu. As Shawn points out, much of whats written about the woman is peppered with fables and colouring to make her out to be something more than what she was. She did have some Sri Lankan Indian blood in her but thats not for debate here.

    Sybil Kharthigesu was an agent of the British during the time of the empire. She fought for them against another imperialist power that temporarily displaced them in the Peninsula, they being the Japanese.

    When the war was over there were large numbers of Malays Chinese and Indians from the peninsula who had more horrific wounds both psychological and physical who were not given the benefit of treatment in Britain.

    In fact the vast majority of them were not even mentioned in bar room gossip. They were forgotten. Many more were in a carefully and deliberately orchestrated campaign excised from the annals of Malayan history. They had other aspirations. They fought to liberate the peninsula from the clutches of the British and the Japanese.

    Sybil belonged to that sector of society that fough to keep the British as their masters.

    Of them Gandhi once said: “Monuments to British adultery in the east, possessing the virtues of neither but the vices of both”. They fought to prevent us getting our freedoms. Get that straight and put it in perspective.

    Our heroes are nameless and faceless. With the British Council and their local “chum chas” financing plays to enliven the memory of a past we do not wish to re live, Sybil will not become the hero she and her British masters wanted her to be.

    She remains a curious part of an era gone by which no one fondly remembers except for the ambers of that period that remain amongst those who believe we ought to be ruled by outsiders.

    Gopal Raj Kumar

  25. LMS136 says:

    When I first read the book as a very young school boy, I was most impressed by certain salient facts which cannot but affirm her heroism.

    I did ask myself then whether if I were in her shoes, I would perform as she did. It was of course a rhetorical question as I was too young to be able to offer any credible answers but more significantly, I was not in her situation. It is adverse circumstances that bring out in the rare individuals the courage of conviction, leadership, self-sacrifice and heroism.

    Sybil was not a well-trained and well-armed combatant fighting on one side in the company and with the support of her brothers-at-arm against the enemies on the other side. There was no comfort in numbers for her.

    She was a civilian living amidst the mighty conquerors who ruled by force of arms, by striking fear and terror and who acted according to their whims and fancies, unchecked and unbridled, often in a very cruel and inhumane way.

    The assistance she provided to the wounded MPAJA members at her own peril was not one-off. The rendering of repeated medical assistance not once, not to a few but repeatedly to so many could only aggravate the tension, the fear, the stress and the anxieties that she had to live through. If she was caught, the Japanese could not be expected to be chivalrous and merciful towards her.

    Even when she was caught, she refused to break. She did not betray those she helped.

    She did not take the easy way out, collaborating with the Japanese to entrap MPAJA members.

    If this was not courage and heroism of the highest order, what is?

    Heroes, heroines, gallantry and chivalry are not the monopoly of any one side. Our humanity and sense of fair play must guide us to accept a hero as a hero irrespective of colour, creed, religion or political beliefs, no matter which side he or she belongs to.

    To acknowledge her heroism is not tantamount to decrying the heroism of others. Indeed we have place for more heroes in our hearts and life than what we have.

    A true hero is not a turncoat who rises to the heights of success through treachery, politicking, plotting, compromise of principles… A hero and a villain are not found in one and the same person.

    It is perhaps sad but there is a saying that “heroes die young”. Heroism requires self-sacrifice, even a disregard of the preservation of one’s own life for others.

    I who am not by any means a hero acclaims the hero in Lady Sybil Kathigasu, regardless of her origin, her affiliation, for what she was, for what she had done.

  26. Peggy says:

    I want a focus to write about my grandmother Ruth Kessler who was in the British army just before her capture by the Japanese during WW2. I think I now have the inspiration. I do not however have much to build on. I want to write about her life from leaving Malacca and ending up in Medan, where she died. Does anybody know why captives ended up in Medan from the Peninsula? My grandmother was of Dutch descent.

  27. Glynis says:

    I came across this page today, most interesting.
    I remember reading the book “No Dram of mercy”in my teens, it was in my Grandfathers library.
    My grandmother is Leonie Armande Martin, born 1891 and died in 1966. Her father was Jules Pierre Martin and had two brothers Pierre Jules and Clementine. At least, that is what I have gleaned.
    She married James Walter Moore and they had four children. Marguerite, Walter Neville (Sonny), Molly (my mother) and Bede Eustace.
    Would be grateful for any information that can be given on my grandfather’s ancestry as I appear to have hit a brick wall.

    Also interested in any further info on the Martin family.

    My Grandparents together with their daughters Marguerite and Molly were POW’s in Changi.

    • ANNE TAYLOR says:

      Glynis – my grandfather is Jules Pierre Martin, born Penang. I worked for him there.
      Please write – it would be nice to have a chat.

      Anne Martin (Taylor)

      • Glynis says:

        Hello Anne

        I have just found this response ( 2 March 2014) as I have given up on following things through !!

        So my great grandfather was Jules Pierre Martin and he was your grandfather ? am I on the correct path ?

        Would you have known my mother Molly Moore ?

        I live in Perth, Western Australia.

        Best wishes

  28. Glynis says:

    Thanks for the response ika.
    Whilst not knowing anyone in the photos I was amazed at the similarity between Evelyn Adeline and my grandmother Leonie.
    So , please bear with me…..
    If Evelyn was Sybil’s Grandmother, she was married to Pierre Louis Martin ? So she would be Leonie’s grandmother as well ?
    I do not have any idea who my Great grandmother was.She would be the woman who was married to Jules Pierre Martin, my great grandfather. Anyone have her name at all ?
    Was James Martin, brother to Jules Pierre Martin Sybil’s father then ?
    I would love to scan and upload a photo of Leonie to your database so you can take a look at the similarity.
    How could I go about doing that please.

    • ANNE TAYLOR says:

      I THINK I HAVE CONTACTED YOU BEFORE – RE MY GRANDFATHER JULES PIERRE MARTIN – I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU.

      ANNE TAYLOR MARTIN

  29. ika says:

    Wah, I am confused!

    Sybil’s father was Joseph Daly, her mother was Beatrice Mathilda Martin. Beatrice had a sister Regina Martin and their father was Pierre Louis Martin, their mother Evelyn Adeline Martin (nee Moret). I have no names.detail about Pierre Louis father/mother except that he was French Armenian and she was Eurasian from Penang.

    Now you have introduced me to Jules Pierre and James Martin (sons of Pierre Louis?) whicj would make them Sybil’s uncles would it not?

    If you would like to send me a good scan (say 600dpi) to info@ipohworld.org I shall be pleased to use it.

    Look forward to hearing more!

  30. ika says:

    Glynis has now come up with an email which covers several generations and branches of the family, but I only include some of it here to clarify the above in relation to Sybil Kathigasu.

    “Pierre Louis Martin, born 1830 in France, married Evelyn Adeline Moret.

    Their children were Jules Pierre Martin, James Martin, Amanda Martin (who married a Van Tooren) Beatrice Mathilda Martin and Regina Martin.

    Beatrice Mathilda then married Joseph Daly and had Sybil.

    Jules Pierre was born in 1860 in Penang and married ? and they had as far as I know three children
    Pierre Jules, Leonie Armande (my grandmother) and Clementine.”

    If anyone would like to see the complete email then just drop me a note to info@ipohworld.org.

    • ANNE TAYLOR says:

      Ika would love a copy of the email from Glynis – it actually is not correct. My great grandfather was Jules Pierre, born in Penang, married Mary Charleson. Their three children were my Grandfather, Jules Pierre, Clovis and Mabel. I would love to hear from Glynis.

      Anne Taylor (Martin)

      • Mike Gibby says:

        Hello there,
        First I must say I am not a member of the Martin family- my interest begins with some research on the history of Penang Hill, and a beautiful bungalow up there, St. Brelades, once the property of Jules Pierre Martin. The bungalow was built in 1927.

        I have a copy of his Will, dated 1919 and 1920, but while the Will is detailed, there is no mention of any properties apart from a brief reference to the offices of G Slot.

        I was wondering if you can tell me anything of the history of the bungalow… it seems to have remained in the family, certainly till the 1950’s. I can let you have pics of the bungalow with some family members in the 1950’s, and a copy of the Will… There is/was a Mrs Anderson who had some information, but the email address I have for her no longer functions.
        best wishes, mike

    • Mary Penelope Young says:

      Dear Ika:

      It has been years! Many things happen. Now I return and in a few weeks (August 14 – September 3) will be visiting Kuala Lumpur and some other places in Malaya – on my own and also with my brother.

      I wonder if any of the users of this site live in KL as it would be a pleasure to meet them!

      However, I would love to have the information about the Martin family (namely James Martin, my great-grandfather (son: Constantine; grandson Constantine Roderick “Paddy” my father) since I had reached an impasse.
      I figure from your address you reside in Ipoh. Hope we can keep in touch.

      Best wishes,

      Penny Young

      • IKA says:

        Hi Penny, August is not far away now and I hope you have a safe journey to Malaysia.

        Regarding our readers in KL, we have no real idea as we never ask forr location and very few offer it. However there is one, ipohgirl who definitely lives there these days.

        Yes I live in Ipoh and have done for almost 18 years now. If you are coming to Ipoh then do let us know and we will see if we can meet for a coffee or something.

        Sadly, we have not come across much more about Sybil and her background so there is nothing new to tell.

        In the meantime take care and let us know your travel schedule where it involves Ipoh.

  31. ika says:

    While the following is well off topic we are taking the opportunity to introduce you to the first of a new series of historical publications which we are producing as e-books for your further reading. This first item produced “in-house” is entitled “Diary of P.O.W. Life” and tells the true story of what it was like to be a Japanese Prisoner of War. You may access it at http://www.ipohworld.org/ebooks/pow_diary.

  32. carol kramer says:

    I lived in the same student house as Dawn in the middle fifies in London. I knew her and Bruce. I last saw her in Paris with Bruce. Later, my parents visited her in (I think) Richmond. Through the years she sent pictures of her children.

  33. rosebud says:

    Recently there was a re-run on S’pore TV of a late 90s Chinese drama on Japanese occupation called The Price Of Peace. Sybil Kathigasu played by Jacintha Abisheganaden was prominently featured as the dauntless doctor we all know about. It was factually quite accurate & some scenes were actually shot in Papan in her old clinic. The most touching scene was when the occupation was over, the pale & badly injured good doctor was put on the back of an open truck, proped up on a bed & paraded around town waving at the huge crowd who gathered to honour her.

  34. ANNE TAYLOR says:

    IKA – I WONDER IF YOU CAN HELP. WHERE WOULD I FIND A GRAVESITE OF MY GREAT GREAT GRANDFATHER, PIERRE LOUIS MARTIN, WHO DIED IN PENANG AT AGED 74.? ARE THERE RECORDS OF BURAL SITES AND CEMETERIES IN PENANG?

  35. ika says:

    A lot depends on the religion that buried him. Many of the different churches keep lists of their cemetery inmates. If you know his religion the best way would be to contact the appropriate Penang Church. Alternatively I suggest you contact the Penang Heritage Trust at http://www.pht.org.my/. We only deal with Perak . o

  36. Glynis says:

    It has been a while, but I have received further and apparently very accurate information from two sources.

    Pierre Louis Martin born 1790 in France and Died in Penang in 1874 married Evelyn Adeline Morrett.
    They had several children……………James (who married Clementine Small) Jules, Peter, Amanda (who married a Van Tooren – Archie I believe) Regina (who married a Mr Isolphe) Beatrice ( who married a Joseph Daly ), Louis and Charlie.

    James and Clementine had two children (maybe more) Leonie Armande (My grandmother) and Constantine Roderick .

    Joseph and Beatrice Daly had a child called Sybil

    So in summing up, Beatrice was sister to James who is my Great Grandfather.
    Therefore my grandmother Leonie Armande daughter of James, was Niece to Beatrice and cousin of Sybil.

    Looking at photos of my Grandmother, I see a resemblance between my grandmother Leonie and Sybil.

    Love your thoughts.
    Cheers.

  37. Julie Martin says:

    Hi Ika
    We’ve been in touch before re the Martin Family and you were most helpful. I’ve been re-reading some of my notes and would very much like to contact ‘Chris’ who posted in the Sybil Kathigasu comments section on Oct 17, 2010, and ‘Mary and Jeremy Martin’ who posted in March 2011. Much may have happened in both their lives in the last seven years, including changing email addresses, but it’s worth trying.
    If you could pass on my contact details to them I’d be most appreciative.
    Regards Julie Martin

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