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WW2 POWs - Burma Railway

Burma-Thailand railway


Japan had rapidly conquered Malaya and Burma, but such rapid expansion gave it problems with its supply chain. To get weapons, food etc from Japan to support its efforts in Burma the only way was to take it by sea around the Malay peninsula, which was still vulnerable to British submarines. In May 1942 they decided to cut the time at sea by joining existing railways in Burma to those in Malaya and Bankok by building 419 km of new railway using POW and forced Asian labour.

Map c/o Wikipedia

W.wolny - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=167762

Edwin and Arthur both worked on these parts of the railway. Click on the map to see the original at www.cofepow.org.uk

18 June 1942 Edwin Charles 813 #038 was moved to Ban Pong in a party of 600. 3000 were moved at that time from Changi to Ban Pong.


2 August 1942 Arthur William 4194 #038 was moved to Nong Pladuck and stayed there until 28 April 1945.


From Singapore 1000km to the south, they were packed into metal boxcar trains with little food and no sanitation, so their journeys would have been terrible. Even more POWs especially Australians, were taken to Burma and worked from that end coming south.

Camp or Hospital

From   -  To

Summary

Changi

17/2/42  -14/3/42

Main POW camp

River Valley Road Singapore

25/6/42  -16/9/42

Small outpost of Changi

Changi

12/5/42  -25/6/42


Ban Pong

25/6/42  -16/9/42

First point on Burma Railway

Chunkai

16/9/42  -12/11/42

057km Work camp inc hospital

Wang Lan

12/11/42-20/12/42

069km

Wun Tha Kilen

30/12/42-12/2/43

098km

Tamakan

12/2/43  -23/11/43

055km River Kwai bridge

Chunkai

23/11/43-10/5/44


Nakom Pathom

10/5/44-14/8/45

Near Ban Pong, Hospital camp

Edwin moved camps 9 times. This table shows the details from his post-war interview. The Summary is a link to the ‘Britain At War’ website which gives you a better understanding of life for each camp.

Sources:

P.H.G. Allen

Far Eastern Heroes

Cofepow

Wikipedia


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