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Lieutenant Arnold Lessel Macmorland Greig Collection, 1942 - 1945

documentary heritage
  • Description

    Primary resource material belonging to Arnold Lessel Macmorland Greig, from his years as a PoW in Singapore and Manchuria. Including letters, press cuttings, dictionaries, notebooks/diaries, and typescripts. Also included is research material collated by Lessel's daughter, Diana, which gives supporting context to her father's story.

  • Other Id

    13001 (Presto content ID)

    MS-2018-3 (Reference Number)

    ACQ-2017-48 (Acquisition number)

    2018/3 (Registration number)

  • Department

Images and documents


  • Object Type
  • Name/Title
    Lieutenant Arnold Lessel Macmorland Greig Collection, 1942 - 1945
  • Primary Maker
  • Date
  • Physical Description

    1 x Hollinger box (6 folders)

  • Language
  • Level of Current Record
  • Member Object

    29 items in this collection. View all items.

  • Public Access Text

    [Keywords: Prisoner of War, Internment, Mukden, Manchuria, Colonel Matsuda, Fukai Maru, Murray Griffin, Major Robert Peaty, Manchu Kosaku Kikai Kabushiki Kaisha, Manchurian Machine Tool Factory, Takai crane factory, Captain Kuwajima, Dr Oki, Arthur Christie, Ken Towery, Allan Griffin, Captain Horner]

  • Associated Notes
  • Subject Notes
    Arnold Lessel Macmorland Greig, or 'Lessel' as he was known to most people, was born 24 February 1913, in Amatikulu, South Africa. Three months later, his mother, Ruby Greig, a New Zealander from Wanganui, moved her family back to New Zealand to settle in Auckland. Lessel was educated at Dilworth and Auckland Grammar Schools, and would go on to join the firm of Harrison Grierson, where he trained as a surveyor. He qualified as a Registered Surveyor in 1935, and went to work for the Malayan Survey Department, creating maps in the Pacific, when the Second World War broke out in Europe. In 1940, he and fellow surveyors I.C. Booth, R.K.A. Bruce, and G.C. Stubbs were sent to India on a six-month course in aerial surveying. When they returned to Malaya in September 1941, a Field Survey Company was formed and Greig became 1st Lieutenant in the British Army attached to the Federated Malay States Volunteer Force (F.M.S.V.F.). He was captured in Singapore when it fell to Japanese forces on 15 February 1942, just a week before his 29th birthday. Greig spent six months in Changi before being sent north to camps in Mukden (now Shenyang), where he would spend the remainder of the war. According to family, Lessel Greig had a curiosity and natural talent for languages, and while incarcerated found ways to use this to the benefit of his fellow inmates. He learned Japanese not only so he could understand the guards but so that he could read and translate the newspapers which he received by bribing the guards with food rations.
  • Last Update
    07 Jul 2023
The development of the Auckland War Memorial Museum online collection is an ongoing process; updates, new images and records are added weekly. In some cases, records have yet to be confirmed by Museum staff, and there could be mistakes or omissions in the information provided.