How to make an incinerator — March 1942

May 27, 2009

Originally uploaded by Brian Spittle

Sometime during his final year of captivity — possibly very near the end of it — my father recalled the conditions during the early weeks at Changi.

“Particularly nauseating at that time was the all-pervading stench of decomposing organic matter – excreta, flesh & other residues of war.”

Establishing some sort of sanitation system was therefore an immediate necessity and often required a good deal of improvisation. Here are his instructions for a do-it-yourself incinerator which was critical for disposing hospital waste and other refuse.


All that is required are:

(1) 4 sheets of corrugated iron
(2) 4 concrete slabs 18″ square
(3) 4 lengths of wire
(4) Some form of support to hold up the fire.

Each of the four corrugated sheets are cut in exactly the same way; each with flue or vent cut away at the bottom, & a number of perforations 1/3 the distance up the sheets to draw the fire. The sides of the sheets are wired together.

The incinerator is set on the concrete slabs & is supported by lengths of wire extending from the top corners of the incinerator to the ground as shown in sketch.

Just above the flue a piece of perforated corrugated iron or iron fire bars are placed to support the fire.

Cut in the front corrugated sheet 1″ above the fire bars is the fire door.  This door is on hinges.

Book C, 86

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