Tjimahi, Cimahi- Java ***
Tjimahi, Cimahi- Java ***
Tjimahi was a large garrison location near Bandoeng on West Java. The town was located high in the mountains. Here the Japanese established an internment camp and several POW camps which functioned for several periods during the occupation. It was also a major staging area for POWs about to be sent overseas between September 1942 – September 1944 to work for Japan on the Burma-Thai railway, Sumatra, Japan, etc.
Three large camps were created by transferring barracks previously used for housing by units of KNIL (Royal Netherlands Indian Army). Camp No. 4 had housed 4th Battalion and Camp No. 9 which had housed 9th Battalion Infantry and the Garrison Depot of the former Mountain Artillery Depot.
Camp No. 10 was in Jakarta on Java’s north west coast formerly the barracks for 10th Infantry Battalion. (not known if used for Australian POWs).
The former military hospital functioned as a general camp hospital.
When the 1st Allied General Hospital was closed down the patients and staff were marched 6 miles from Bandoeng to a native prison, Landsop Camp at Tijimah. From here they were moved to No. 4 Camp before being moved back to Camp No. 12 – former Dutch 15th Depot Battalion Barracks at Bandeong.
The barracks had decent roofs, cement floors and good ventilation. The Japanese removed all previous partitioning to create long halls to accommodate large numbers of POWs. Usually 6ft by 3ft – sufficient fit their mats on the cement floor.
Tjimahi was patrolled by sentries and surrounded by 3 barbed wire fences including one inside the other.
WX9551 Frank Carroll was moved from Camp No. 4 to Camp No. 9 – previously Infantry Battalion NEI Army – where the POWs were Dutch Eurasions, etc.
WX10365 Maurice Caldwell was at Camp No. 4 and No. 9 from 5 Feb 1944 to 27 Sept 1945.
Indo-Europeans had to leave to Tjimahi (4th and 9th Batallion) about mid-June 1942.
It is believed this camp reached a maximum number of nearly 12,400 internees in October 1944.
All POWs had to work either within the compound or outside and they each made their own eating utensils. Their clothing deteriorated in the climate and soon were dressed in shorts only, Indonesian style clogs and whatever protection they were able to find for their heads.
Tjimahi, Military hospital
The military hospital was situated across from the enormous 4th and 9th battalion encampment. The camp remained administratively under the battalion jurisdiction until April 1945.
Tjimahi, the “Kalen Koppen” camp (Bald Head Camp).
The railway camp Tjimahi (used by the army for military transport) functioned as a POW camp from April to October 1942.
Reportedly the POWs let their heads be shaved in the belief that the Japanese were less likely to beat bald prisoners and to combat lice.
The Australian POWs were advised they were to move to Bandeong on 14 Dune 1942.