Tanyin 35 Km Camp - Burma

Tanyin 35 Kilo Camp – Burma

Williams Force from Java (884 POWs mainly from 2/2 Pioneers & Perth survivors) arrived Moulmein 25 October 1942 via Singapore.   Joined by Anderson Force January 1943 to become No 1 Mobile Force
In late October 1942 Williams and Black Forces travelled from South Moulmein Railway Station 40 miles to Thanbyuzayat which became the HQ for Burma Administration Group 4.  Group 4 also included Green, Ramsay and Anderson Forces.
Williams Force was transferred to Tanyin 35 Kilo Camp while Black Force, made up of 593 Australians and 190 Americans went to Beketaung (or Beke Taung) 40 kilo Camp.
At that time 35 Kilo Camp consisted of two atap huts that were open on one side.  There was a native well about 500 yards from the camp and a stream about the same distance away.
Tanyin was then described as one of the best camps on the Burma Section.  The Camp  Commandant Lt. Yamada, although grim and forbidding in appearance, exercised  intelligence and tolerance  in camp administration.  He insured Lt. Col Williams received treatment in accordance with his rank. Unfortunately Yamada was later moved from the railway.
Medical Officer was Ear Nose & Throat Specialist Lt Col Eadie.
Initially POWs were required to move 6 cubic metres earth daily with 10 minutes rest every hour 7 days week.  With these conditions the Australians found they could complete this task by midday, avoiding the heat of the afternoon.
This miscalculation by the Aussies saw the Japanese increase the daily quota!
It was in October the Japanese insisted each and every POW sign undertakings not to try to escape.  Varley and Green were removed and imprisoned.  Varley then advised the men to sign – there was no point to prolong proceedings.
‘I the undersigned swear by my honour that I will not under any circumstances attempt to escape’. 
Every man signed with a false name:  Ned Kelly, Banjo Patterson & other Australian legends and sporting heroes.

 

Above:  Lt Col John Williams, 2/2nd Pioneers, AIF who was respected by Camp Commander Lt Yamada.

 

On 3 January 1943 Anderson Force was moved by motor transport to join Williams Force at 35 Kilo Camp.  On the night of 27 March 1943 the combined Williams and Anderson Forces moved by motor transport moved back along the trace to Kun Knit Way 26km Camp here they were to come under the control of the unpredictable and drunkard Lt Naito.
There existed an overcrowding problem until 13th March 1943 when the advance party for the now combined Black and Anderson Forces moved out of 26 Kilo Camp to Meiloe 75 km Camp – with the main party moving out on 18 March on a 30 kilometre march by way of the railway trace.
(On 28 March 1943 Green Force arrived at 75 Kilo Camp having been at 14km Thetkaw Camp.)
(Anderson Force had been based at Thanbyuzayat since 5th October 1942.  They had been building an embankment which was completed 5 days later and on 10 October 1942  marched on a rough road for a day to Alepauk 18 km Camp.)
On 4th April, now known at No.1 Mobile Force, the men commenced the work of laying the rails & sleepers through to where the two ends joined on 17 October 1943.

Location of Tanyin 35 Km Camp - Burma