Kanu II Camp, Kannyu South, 149.50 km - Thailand
Kanu II Camp, Kannyu, 149.50km – Thailand
25 May 1943 to 16 July 1943
This camp was located 149.50 kilometres north of Non Pladuk on top of a plateau above Kanu I River Camp.
Like the Hintok Camps, Kanu Camps are labelled with various names. The Kanu area was further complicated than by various names. Kanu IIIa (Advance Camp) had a name change to Tampie North and Kanu IIIr (Rear Camp) became Tampie South.
‘D’ Force S Battalion moved to Kanu II arriving from Tarsau on Anzac Day, 25 April 1943. The camp was under canvas apart from the atap structures which included the hospital, Japanese Headquarters and the guard’s and store huts. On 28th April 200 men from S Battalion were sent to assist ‘D’ Force O and P Battalions at the Hintok River Camp.
The Hellfire Pass cutting would dictate the POW’s lives and Kanu II over the next few months. Hellfire Pass was simply a rock face that stood in the way of the railway line and the only way around the dilemma was to cut a passage through. This was achieved by a method the men termed ‘hammer and tap’ . This entailed the labour intensive process of drilling out holes in the rock, inserting explosives and blasting. Whilst another section of rock was being prepared for blasting, other prisoners would follow up and clear away the rock and debris in baskets.
With the wet season approaching, cholera was anticipated as a matter of course and several tents were pitched away from the main camp, about 350 yards into the jungle. These tents became the cholera isolation area for Kanu III and III Camps. The moment a POW was suspected of having contracted cholera he was segregated for a period of up to 6 weeks until the doctor gave the all clear.
Jim Gilmour contracted cholera on 28 June 1943 and Capt. Phil Millard banished him to the cholera isolation tented area at Kanu II. When Jim arrived he was unable to find a bed for the night as the tents were full. He decided upon a narrow corridor in a tent where he slept soundly for the night. In the morning he awoke having survived a disease that can dehydrate and wither a man’s body, suffocating all life from it in less that 8 hours. To his great surprise Jim discovered he had in fact slept in the morgue tent and he had slept amongst the corpses. He considered it a miracle!
On 4 July 1943 the sick from Kanu II were evacuated down to Kanu 1 River Camp and from there barged down the River Kwae Noi to Tarsau or one of the other base hospitals. Whilst at Kanu II Lt. Mick Wedge of S Battalion made three return trips escorting sick down river to Kanchanaburi.