The Soldier's Details
- First Name:
- John Nicholas
- Nick Name:
- Regimental #:
- ‘B’ Company, No. 7 Platoon
- Place of Birth:
- Albany, Western Australia
- Father's Name:
- Christof Caimanos
- Mothers's Name:
- Louisa Esther Caimanos (nee Sands)
- Church of England
- Pre-war Occupation:
- Foreman with the Roads Board
- Selarang Camp and Barracks Changi
- D' Force Thailand, S Battalion
- Camps Thailand:
- Kanu II, Kanu I River Camp, Tarsau (evacuated sick by barge), Kinsaiyok, Konkoita, Tarsau, Tamuang, Chungkai
- Return Details 1945:
- Thailand-Singapore by aircraft, Singapore- Fremantle. HMT Moreton Bay
Jack Caimanos enlisted AIF Oct 1940 and joined 2/4th’s ‘B’ Company 7th Platoon.
He was selected in Singapore to work on the Burma-Thai Railway with ‘D’ Force S Battalion. This Battalion included a very large number of 2/4th men so John was amongst those he knew well. They entrained out of Singapore on 14 Mar 1943 and headed to Bampong, Thailand. The carriages were crowded and men took turns to sit/sleep. They spent 5 days during stinking hot temperatures and then found the nights very cold.
They stayed a few nights at Komna Transit Camp before being trucked to Kanchanaburi. Following a short stopover the men were marched out to Tarsau Camp. Tarsau was to become the Japanese HQ for S Battalion.
Here they worked for several weeks clearing the land for the rail link. They were marched out of Tarsau and arrived at Konyu 2 on 25 April 1943.
This was the beginning of a hellish life working on the rail. Konyu 2 was in the Hellfire Pass area – their jobs included chipping away at the rockface to prepare for explosives, then carting away the rubble. They had little equipment (certainly no wheelbarrows!) and worked long hours. They faced monsoon weather, “Speedo”, tropical illnesses they had never previously known of including ulcers and cholera which could kill a man within hours. They were starved and beaten by the IJA. The loathed Korean and Japanese guards and engineers. Most were barefooted and wore little clothing.
Jack next moved to Kanyu 1 and from here was sent by barge to Tarsau which suggests John may have been ill. Tarsau was one of the larger hospital camps as well as S Btn HQ.
Next he was back at Konkoita and Kinsayok working on the railway. He was again at Tarsau before being sent to Chungkai (Hospital Camp).
List of Camps:
Bampong, Kanburi, Tarsau, K2, K1 Tarsau by Barge, Konkretta, Kinsaiyok, Tarsao, Chungkai.
He was recovered from Chungkai on 22 August 1945.
A recent article passed on to the website from a nephew of John was… John was a very proud man that he had survived the ardures of war and in particular being a Prisoner of War. John returned to Fremantle on HMT Moreton Bay, October 24th 1945. He was as fit as any of the men returning, he’d had his knocks and bashings as all his mates had but nothing significant, only to fall on the gangplank at Fremantle and break his arm.
It would be reasonable to suggest Hazel and Jack met whilst he was stationed at Woodside, SA with the 2/4th in 1941
Soldiers about to enplane in Thailand. This photo was included with John’s papers and may include him.
Jack’s parents Christof Caimanos b. 1862 Nicosia, Cyrpus m. 1889 South Australia to Louisa Esther Sands b, SA 1872. John had 7 (or 8) siblings, three sisters and four brothers – Con, twins George and Theo and Chris.
As Jack was born Albany 1898, his parents had moved to WA prior to then. We do not know when the Caimanos family moved to farm at Elleker.
Above: The Caimanos family suffered the loss of their daughter, sister and aunt. Mary Catherine died in 1927 following an operation for appendicitis.
Prewar, Jack farmed in the Elleker area. Jack and his brothers all played cricket for the Elleker team. Jack was a player of above average talent!
It is not known when or where Jack’s father died. His mother Louise died in 1946 Albany.
Returning home from war, Jack moved to South Australia where in 1946 he married Hazel Mary Hewitt. Jack continued living in SA where they had a family of three children.
Jack died 15 Dec 1976 and was buried at Central Park Cemetery, South Australia.
- Selarang Barracks Changi - Singapore
- Selarang Camp Changi - Singapore
- Chungkai, 60k - Thailand
- Kanu 1 151.00k - Thailand
- Kanu II, 152.30k - Thailand
- Kinsaiyok Main, 170.2k - Thailand
- Tamuang, Tha Muang 39k - Thailand
- Tarsau, Tha Sao 125k - Thailand