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Information from “Railway of Death” by John Coast


A typical working day starts with reveille, a series of pips on a whistle at 6.30am when it was still dark, breakfast at 7am and parade at 8.15am, the Japanese engineers take the parties to collect the tools at 9am. The prisoners stand in ranks of five with old hats, three or four days growth of beard, all very thin with swollen bellies, various diseases are apparent, skin, dermatitis and ringworm causing large patches on their bodies. The monsoon season has started, (from May and lasted for four and a half months), and the working conditions had deteriorated conciderably. A thick mist slowly rises out of the jungle on either side of the camp, topping the trees, during the morning it will disappear. All round the camp the Wak Waks are whistling. After redrawing the tools from the engineers shed, the prisoners walk to the embankment. They put their personal gear under logs out of the rain and are put to work. The bridge is the hardest work of all, hauling on ropes, whilst others on the bridge manhandle large uprights into position. After two hours there is a ten minute “Yasme” for tea. At 12.30 the ration carriers go back to the camp for the rice and from 1pm to 2.30pm the men sit at the edge of the jungle trying to rest , eat and keep out of the rain. Then back to work till 6.30pm when the engineers check the tools and take the prisoners back to the camp. The prisoners then take to the river to bath, rice and rissole is at 7.30pm, then they lie on their beds listening to the rain, by 8.30pm it is dark and another day has been survived.

Information from Railway of Death by John Coast



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