The British Empire Library

Woodsmoke and Temple Flowers

by Jean Falconer

Courtesy of OSPA

Review by The Hon. Veronica Masefield, wife of the late J. B. Masefield (Malayan Police 1936-1955)
The book is written from letters to Jean's mother in Australia from 1941 to 1952. Jean arrived as a bride in Klang in 1941 where John was the District Officer. It was a very critical time just before the Japanese invasion on 8 December 1941. Jean gives a very clear description of her departing from Klang, and her time in Singapore before her escape to Australia. John became a civil internee in Singapore. In 1946 John came on leave to Australia but shortly returned to Malaya to Perak, where at Batu Gajah he and Joan entered into an active life in the community. The shortages were awful and the health of the people bad. Joan soon set to work at the hospital and founded an almoners service for the families of TB patients. For her work in this field in Perak, Malacca, and Johore, Joan was awarded the MBE in 1953.

Jean gives a vivid description of the life of the British Adviser, his life in Malaya after the war and during the communist troubles. There are the times they met the Sultans and local communities of Malay, Indian, Chinese and European in the different states. It is the story of how two people had a full life and discovered the country and people of Malaya up to John's retirement in 1952.

British Empire Book
Jean Falconer
The Pentland Press


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