Konkoita 262.53 Thailand - Joining Point 262.87 for Railway from North and South
Konkoita Camp 262.53
The joining point for the Railway was at 262.87. This area is now flooded by the Vachiralongkorn Dam built in 1985.
Konkoita Brigade or Cholera Camp
When ‘F’ Force marched to this staging camp they were surprised to find it was a proper camp and not a staging area after which they left the next day to march to Shimo Nikhe.
There were several railway construction camps at Konkoita.
On 10 May 1943 as ‘F’ Force marched north through the Thai jungle, 700 men under the command of Lt-Col Pond were halted at Koinkoita, a short distance before Shimo Ni Thea. Lt Col Pond reported to Lieutenant Maruyama of the IJA Engineers. This group of men would not see the rest of ‘F’ Force until December 1943.
Konkoita had previously been occupied by Romusha and was in a filthy condition with few huts with roofs and insufficient accommodation. Camp conditions were appalling and the men were exhausted from their long march from Banpong.
The POWs were immediately sent out on work parties the next morning to build bridges and roads. Within five days, there was a cholera break out in the nearby Romusha Camp. It would not be too long before cholera arrived at Konkoita . As further ‘F’ Force parties headed north passing through Konkoita, cholera travelled to all ‘F’ Force Camps.
Very challenging times lay ahead for Pond’s Party – they would be fragmented and sent to various camps including Taimonta and Tha Khanun to the south, where they remained for two months.
Medical Officer Roy Mills at lower Taimonta Camp wrote in his diary………………no roofing. Insufficient tents, Burmese camped beside camp … water a problem—all had to be boiled—shortage of dixies—Rice and onion stew only.
(later published ‘Doctor’s Diary and Memoirs’: Pond’s Party F Force, Thai–Burma Railway, New Lambton, NSW, R.M. Mills, 1994, 56)
In late October 1943 the track-laying parties from the Thai and Burmese ends of the railway finally met at Konkoita.
The Japanese hosted an elaborate ceremony with a general driving a gold spike into an ebony sleeper.
A train pulled by a locomotive shipped from Japan pulled across the joining point to mark the completion.
Below: bridge building at Konkoita.