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.