Tavoy (Dawei) - river port - Burma
Tavoy (Dawei) – River Port – Burma
Ramsay Force made up of about 1,000 men disembarked 24 May 1942 at Tavoy Point, Burma.
Ramsay Force was part of ‘A’ Force’s 3,000 POWs under the command of Brigadier General Arthur Varley which sailed from Keppell Harbour, Singapore on 15th May 1942 headed for Burma. ‘A’ Force was made up of 3 Battalions each with 4 Companies and about 1,000 men each Battalion.
Lt-Col George Ramsay was in command of ‘Ramsay’ Force
Major Charles Green commanded ‘Green’ Force
Major D. R. Keer commanded ‘Keer’ Force
On 20th May, following 5 days at sea in overcrowded cargo ships in appalling condition ‘Green’ Force disembarked at Victoria Point on the southern tip of Burma to commence work on construction of the airfield.
Three days later on on 23rd May the next group was offloaded at Mergui to improve the capacity of the airfield. They were joined by members of the British Sumatra Battalion which arrived on another ship from Sumatra. Amongst the POWs was Dr, Albert Coates.
Brigadier General Varley and the remainder of ‘A’ Force were put off later that day at Simbin with orders to proceed to the city of Tavoy. They arrived to find their accommodation appalling and food scarce. Shortly after their arrival 8 Australian POWs escaped, were captured and executed by a firing squad.
During the next four months ‘A’ Force’s ‘Ramsay’ Force rebuilt the airfield which had been destroyed during the battle for Burma. During this time monsoon rains arrived.
When the rains began to slow in late September ‘A’ Force was ordered to Moulmein and then to Thanbyuzat. Work on the Burma end of the Railway would begin in early October 1942.
Part of ‘A’ Force Green Force No. 3 Battalion were sent to Tavoy after completing the project at Victoria Point, arriving about 10 August 1942. Once again working on extending the aerodrome.
Wally Linn wrote the ‘food and housing condition were good and the guards reasonable although there were several attempted escapes resulting in the men being shot’.
This group then were sent to No. 4 km camp Kendau, where they would begin work on Burma end of railway. Linn wrote ‘conditions seemed not too bad at this stage, although no picnic, the group though began to realise being a POW might become unpleasant.’
Green Force No. 3e Battalion was next moved to Thetkaw 124 km Camp where the guards were found to be Korean ‘and their basic morality questionable’.