Mezali 70 Km, or 72 Km Camp - Burma
Mezali 70k Camp – Burma
13 July 1943 to 1 Sep 1943
Williams No. 1 Mobile Force arrived here by rail motor and as well marched from Taungzun 60 km Camp.
This was a construction Camp with large number of Dutch, few English and even less Australians. The men worked mostly in workshops as labourers. It was rainy season and everything was wet and plenty of illness.
Some POWs moved to Apalong 77 km Camp arriving on 1 Sep 1943 and departed 11 Sep 1943.
By November the majority of POWs were at 105 Camp – the last camp on the Burma side of the rail track. The rail was completed by this time – the POW’s work consisted of tidying up and by Dec 1943 they were headed towards Thailand where the Japanese were gathering their ‘work force’ and planned to chose the most fit to work in Japan. The train journey from Burma to Tamarkan, Thailand took about three days with many stops at sidings. It was very uncomfortable – we know that many sick men died during these train journeys – endless numbers of very ill and dead POWs were collected by Col Phillip Toosey and his medical staff who were shocked by their appearances.
‘A’ Force sick arrived from Burma to Tamarkan December 1943
For the sick who arrived on train after travelling 3 days from 55km camp Tamarkan was sanctuary. The journey was a nightmare and they were hungry, thirsty and dying.
Brigadier Varley was quartered at Tamarkan. He made tremendous efforts to better conditions for his ‘A’ Force men for whom he was responsible. The Japanese adhered to ‘sick mans do not eat’ policy and Varley fought tirelessly.