Sybil Kathigasu file photo [26442]

Sybil Kathigasu

Given NameSybil
Born3 Sep 1899
Died12 Jun 1948


ww2dbaseSybil Daly was born to an Irish planter and an Indian mother. She was trained as a nurse and midwife. Born in Medan, Sumatra, Dutch East Indies and, having grown up in British Malaya where large populations of Chinese ex-patriots resided, she also spoke fluent Cantonese. She married Dr. Abdon Clement Kathigasu in 1919 and eventually had two daughters and one adopted son. They operated a clinic in Ipoh, Malaya from 1926 until the day before Japanese troops arrived on 26 Dec 1942. They went into hiding in the nearby town of Papan, where they kept a shortwave radio to listen to BBC broadcasts and at times provided medical assistance to members of 5th Independent Regiment of the communist Malayan People's Anti-Japanese Army. Dr. Kathigasu was arrested in Jul 1943, and Sybil Kathigasu was arrested in the following month, both thrown in prison, and tortured. In Feb 1945, he was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment and she received a life sentence. They were freed in Aug 1945 by communist forces, and she was flown to the United Kingdom in Sep 1945 for medical treatment. While in Britain, she began to write her memoirs, later published under the title No Dram of Mercy in 1954. She was awarded the George Medal at the Buckingham Palace by King George VI for her bravery during the Japanese occupation, and was the only Malayan woman to have received the award. She passed away in the United Kingdom in 1948 as the result of injuries sustained from being tortured. She was initially buried in Lanark, Scotland, United Kingdom, and was later re-interred at the Catholic cemetery beside St. Michael Church in Ipoh.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia.

Last Major Revision: Dec 2008

Sybil Kathigasu Timeline

3 Sep 1899 Sybil Daly was born in Medan, Sumatra, Dutch East Indies.
12 Jun 1948 Sybil Kathigasu passed away in the United Kingdom.

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Anonymous says:
3 Sep 2016 01:38:50 AM

Hi, I stumbled upon this database because of a Google doodle featuring Sybil's 117th birthday today. Hence I believe her birthday should be 3rd September 1899 instead of 1st January?
2. Commenter identity confirmed C. Peter Chen says:
6 Sep 2016 04:47:42 AM

Thank you, her birth date has been updated in the database.

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