Hintok River (2 Camps) 156km - Thailand
This was where ‘H’ Force and ‘D’ Force worked from July to August 1943.
Conditions for H6 Officer’s Group here were improved in regard to food however accommodation for these two months were overcrowded tents .
They arrived at the site at about 1700 hours and had to clear the jungle, establish a kitchen and cart water approximately 100 yards up a steep hill from the river to camp site. Of the original 39 AIF officers that had left Tonchan South Camp between end of June to early July, only 28 remained.
The rations improved because the camp was located near to River Kwae Noi and POWs were able to purchase when possible, from barges which stopped by regularly.
Lieutenant ‘Bob’ Learmonth who joined 2/4th Battalion at Fremantle on 16th JANUARY 1943 as a reinforcement was a member of H6 Officer’s Group and managed to record some of his personal experiences in a diary:
“We had plenty of eggs 6 to 8 a day, imitation milk, brown sugar, bananas, peanuts and jam. Prices were eggs 10-15 cents, milk $1.50, sugar 40 cents, peanuts 50 cents, jam $2.50 an 8 oz tin, cigarettes 50 cents for 20.”
Work was mainly on the Compressor Cutting which was about 1 mile away from camp and later ballasting on the line when the rail laying gangs came through. For the next 2 months at Hintok River Camp work demands were reasonable however the work was in 3 shifts and was described as being hard.
“The Jap Engineers on the cutting were more organised than any we had previously seen. There was no time wasted. Instead of men with hammers and augers boring holes, pneumatic drills were being operated. The cutting resounded with the din of this drilling and with the shouting of the Japs. Instead of rocks being carried 70 yards to be dumped, trucks moved this material. The stones were first of all picked and shovelled into baskets so that a supply was maintained to be emptied into the trucks immediately they arrived on each trip. The line had to pass through the cutting by a certain date. We were cutting a path through a hill, a distance of 150 yards to the centre and 70 to 80 feet deep.”
The Kanu-Hintok area was the most difficult section of the entire 414.92 kilometres of railway.