Malay Hamlet 153.00 km, Thailand
Malay Hamlet or Malayan Hamlet 153.00 km Thailand
Whilst Kanyu II , Kanyu 1 and Kanyu III Camps were located on the east side of the road (in that order coming from the south) Malay Hamlet was another independent camp located on the river and railway side of the road.
Please note this information varies slightly from that contained in “Colour Patch” by Murray Ewen. With time and further research, camp locations have been revealed and updated whilst other camp locations sometimes remain unknown, in particular staging camps.
This information is from Thai-Burma Railway Centre, in particular from Mr Rod Beattie OAM, NBE, OON, (Knight in the Order of Orange Nassau – NL)
Death Railway Historian, Researcher and Explorer of more than 20 years and Creator of the Thailand-Burma Railway Centre (and Mueseum) Kanchanaburi, Thailand.
Cholera was first reported at this camp on 16th June 1943.
May to September 1943 – ‘H’ Force Group 3
This campsite was on uncleared, slightly sloping ground and located roughly 450 yards east of Hellfire Pass Cutting and to the north of ‘S’ Force S Battalion’s Camp, Kanu II, believed to be 1.42 kilometres away.
Anzac Portal gives a very attractive description suitable for a tourism poster:
The site of the camp was on a beautiful sloping hill with a stream running and gurgling some 20 yards away. It was surrounded by dense bamboo thickets while behind it towered sheer and majestic huge rugged, jungle covered limestone cliffs. A sight that even when things were at their worst always pleased me ….. the air when arrived was thick with the nauseating smell of burning bodies the day’s batch of burning cholera victims.
[written by Stuart Lloyd, The Missing Years: A POW’s Story from Changi to Hellfire Pass 1942–45, Dural, NSW, Rosenberg Publishing, 2009, 162.)
A small area about the size of a lawn bowls green was cleared on afternoon of ‘H’ Force’s arrival on 21 May 1943 and 20 tents were pitched. During the following two days the camp area was enlarged and bamboo floors laid inside tents. Water was drawn from small stream and boiled prior to use as a precautionary practice. The stream was just south of the campsite and was crossed by a bridge on the Kanu to Hintok access road. There was another stream running south of Kanu II ‘D’ Force Camp which was also crossed by a bridge on the same road.
‘H’ Force Group 3 departed Singapore 8 May 1943 arrived at Non Pladuk four days later moving to nearby Konma transit camp. The following day 13 May 1943, this group marched out of Konma transit camp at 2300 hours, arriving at their first rest camp at 1000 hours the next day. ‘H’ Force followed in the steps of ‘F’ Force to Kanchanaburi heading for Malayan Hamlet/Kanu II.
‘H” Force was initially an all-Australian force under the command of Lt-Col R.F. Oakes. Major Bert Saggers from 2/4th was his second in command and in charge of the group’s pay and records.
At Kanchanaburi ‘H’ Force camped in an open paddock. During the night local Thais crept amongst the tired and sleeping men, stealing whatever they could escape with. This would have been maddening for the men. They rested during the day and marched out at night to Temple transit Camp which ‘F’ Force had earlier passed through.
During their journey they hired 20 oxen and carts to carry their gear forward to Tardan Bridge Camp as had ‘F’ Force.
Their routine was to march by night about 15 miles and rest during the day until they covered the total distance of 90 miles. They reached Kanu III Camp at 0400 hours on 21 May. The last 4 miles to Malayan Camp took 3 hours to complete.
By the time they reached Malayan Camp the Force had increased in number to include 114 British and POWs ex-Java. On 30 May a further 98 additional stragglers marched in. Total numbers now included approximately 500 Australians, 200 British and some Americans. 111 Australians and 106 British POWs would die at Malayan Hamlet.
Japanese engineers called for the first work party on 24 May, 3 days after ‘H’ Force arrived. Officers had difficulty firming up numbers.
The workforce was split into 4 shifts from A to D with each shift numbering 100 men. Two shifts worked during daylight and the other two during darkness.
Within weeks the weather began closing in for monsoon season and the Camp anticipating a possible cholera outbreak had pitched two tents in the jungle about 165 yards from the main camp. The first case was diagnosed at 1000 hours on 16 June. The POW’s death soon followed at 1630 hours.
By this time cholera had already appeared at Kanu II and Hintok Road Camps which had used a separate water supply.
Following the cholera outbreak at Malayan Camp on 18 June 1943, 59 British were brought from Kanu III to set up a new camp called Kanu IIIa (Tampie North) or KIIIr (Tampie South) Advance Camp.
On 25 August 1943, 83 Australians from Groups H3 and H6 joined ‘H’ Force No. 1 Sub-Section and travelled by train to Konkoita in a last minute dash to complete the railway in that sector.
On 8 September 1943 the first Australian party from ‘H’ Force consisting of stretcher cases was evacuated to Kanchanaburi. During the following few days a further 4 parties were evacuated totalling about 500 men. This left a workforce of about 25 men to remain behind and clean up the campsite.
On 16 September the rear party who had been at Tonchan Spring Camp moved forward to Kanu IIIa (Tampie North Camp) to join the other Australians before this last group also moved south to Kanchanaburi.
The evacuation of sick to Kanchanaburi had commenced prematurely on 29 July 1943 before ‘F’ and ‘H’ Force Hospital had been completed. For the next month the sick were accommodated at ‘D’ Force Base Hospital Camp No. 1 until their own hospital was completed on 27 August and able to accept them.
As soon as the sick were classified fit, they were transferred to a ‘Fit Camp’ located two miles away in a jungle clearing. On 19 November 1943 the first party of 500 fit men left under the command of Lt-Col T.H. Newey as an advance party back to Singapore. Newey had come into Kanchanaburi from Konkoita with ‘H’ Force No. 1 Sub-Section, arriving between 8th-12th November 1943.
Between 20 November and 10 December 1943, ‘H’ Force returned to Singapore en-masse by train with the exception of some seriously ill men who would not return until May 1944. Singapore would learn of the appalling conditions experienced at the construction camps on the Burma-Thai Rail link.
1 Jul 1943 WX7628 Howard Edgar Joseph (known as Tim)
Died OF cholera aged 31 years Grave No. 22 Malayan Hamlet (not cremated).
On 7 Aug 1941 Howad was appointed Acting Lance Sergeant in 6 Platoon, ‘A’ Company. On 1 Oct 1941 the unit entrained for Darwin arriving 20 Oct 1941. Promoted to Acting Sergeant on 31 Oct 1941.
‘Tim’ Howard married Elsie Beryl Pickersgill in 1932. They had two children. The youngest, son Peter John Howard born in 1939 tragically died in 1944 aged 5 years.
17 Jul 1943 WX8747 Hall William Harrison (Nobby)
Nobby enlisted AIF 23 Oct 1940 later joining ‘B’ Coy, 8 Platoon under CO Lt. MacKinnon as Section Orderly.
Born in Wales 1901, Nobby migrated to WA as a 22 year old.
He was father to several children.
27 Jul 1943 WX9052 McDonough Henry Elvin (Harry)
Harry obviously followed in his father’s footsteps, and was a talented athlete. Harry’s father at one time regarded as the best professional runner in the State.
Harry’s athletic talents were broad-based and included cycling, tennis and baseball and was a member of the Mt. Hawthorn Athletic Club where he excelled at javelin.
He had spent his formative years living at Bassendean.
Died cholera aged 28 years, buried unmarked cemetery approx 300 yds North of Kanu IIa (Tampie North) on Kanu-Hintok Road, Grave No 18.
7 Sep 1943 WX7623 Shelton George Tom
The Shelton family arrived from London on ‘Demethenis’ at Albany on 4 June 1924. George (snr) Shelton and Avis Hilda Carvey married 1919 Barnsbury, England. Nettie was first born daughter, followed by George Tom (Jnr) and then Avis.
It appears Tom Shelton was really born in 1920 and not 1918.
George and Avis with their 3 children settled on Group 124 Forrest, Sussex as we find them recorded in 1925 Electoral Roll.
By 1936, the family had moved to Busselton.
Tom Shelton died post pneumonia and beri-beri aged 24 years. Buried Grave No. 80 Malayan Hamlet.
24 Oct 1943 WX7250 Kidd George
George arrived in WA as a young boy with his family in 1912.