Burma – Siam
was a strategic cross country connection to join the two existing North-South
rail lines in Burma and Siam between Moulmein in Burma and Nom Pladuk in Siam.
The POWs worked in terrible, dense jungle conditions, with primitive equipment,
poorly supplied and subjected to inhuman work rates, and tropical disease. The
death toll was very high, 13,000 – more than 20% of the work force. Of the 250,000
native forces engaged on the railway, the death rates were even higher – up to
100,000, but the true number will never be known.
14months were allocated for this mammoth task which was completed on 25th
October, 1943. It is believed that one man died for every 3 metres of the 415 kilometre
and military personnel were housed in separate areas, Changi was the central staging post at the beginning of the war for POWs
being transferred to other parts of the Japanese
Empire. Internees formed a significant part of the population until 1943 when survivors of the
Burma Railway returned.
The civilian Internees were then moved to Sime Road Camp
where they spent the rest of the war.
tried by Japanese military tribunal for more serious offences, but not executed,
were sent back to Outram Road prison on Singapore Island. This mainly consisted
of isolation cells under the most stringent of military discipline, run by the
Japanese Military Prison Service.
See: The Railway Man by Eric Lomax ISBN 0 09 958231
pub. 1996 by Jonathan Cape Ltd.