Changaraya No 5 Camp 114km - Thailand
Changaraya No, 5 Camp 114km
This camp was located one kilometre south of the Burma-Thailand border at 300.95 km. On 27 May 1943 the first party of British arrived at this camp followed by a further 318, all under the command of Major Gairdner, ‘F’ Force.
They found on arrival that part of the accommodation was occupied by 500 Burmese coolies with whom the cookhouse and cooking utensils would have to be shared.
The British protested and were issued their own cooking utensils and permitted to build another cookhouse for their own use.
On the second night in camp two cases of cholera were reported. A cholera isolation hut was set up, however within a week cholera had taken a firm grip of the camp.
The British of ‘F’ Force at Changaraya Camp lost 214 men from Cholera who are now buried in a mass grave at Kanchanaburi. This represented one third of the total number as a result of the cholera epidemic and consequence of having to share their accommodation with 500 Burmese coolies.
When Changaraya Camp was shut down 310 British moved south to join the Australians of ‘F’ Force who were also moving to Kami (upper) Sonkurai Camp.
‘The general situation of the camp when we arrived was nothing short of unbelievable filth. The Burmese had thrown all their unwanted rice and other food all over the camp and particularly near their own huts. Incidentally, there were parties of Burmese in every hut in our area, including those occupied by my men, and had ‘shat’ indiscriminately everywhere. The flies were a menace, remains of slaughtered animals and skins were in the undergrowth all around the cookhouse in every degree of decomposition.’
(Taken from report by Major Gairdner, British Army, AWM Canberra AWM54 File 554/7/2)
WILLIAMS MOBILE NO. 1 FORCE
This Force arrived here for 10 days on 25 January 1944 from Nikhe 133 km Camp. Nikhe 133km was the last working Camp on the rail link for Williams Force (the two ends of the rail link had been joined 17 October 1943 at Upper Konkoita- Lower Teimonta at 262.87 km point).
On 5 February 1944, No. 1 Mobile Force left Changaraya Camp and moved back to Augganaung 105 Km Camp, Burma where they met up with the remnants of Australian work groups still in Burma. These included Robertson’s Java Party No. 5a Burma Admninistration Group 5 Burma who had been employed on woodcuttng for the steam locomotives which were now transporting soldiers and supplies further north to support their front lines.
The returning trains often brought sick and injured Japanese soldiers usually without food, water and medical assistance, many of whom died on the journey.