Nacompaton Hospital Camp, Thailand

Nacompaton was set up from December 1943 as a large hospital and convalescing camp which would hold as many as 10,000 men.  It is believed Japan embarked on the construction of this hospital due to increasing international pressure.  It would be a hospital camp for the chronic sick and heavy sick from the railway and was meant to impress the outside world and the International Red Cross.  The Japanese also constructed a hospital camp for their own patients separating the two camps by a high bamboo fence.

The huge Phra Pathom Chedi, the most sacred place in Thailand was visible from the camp.  This was where the Indian missionaries first taught Buddhism.

The Japanese Commander was Lieutenant-Colonel Ishii.  Lt. Col Sainter the POW administrative officer and Lt-Col Albert Coates, A.I.F.,  chief medical Officer.   Coates gathered many of the best British, Australian, and Dutch surgical and medical officers in Thailand. Lt-Col Weary Dunlop arrived from Chungkai  on 14 June 1944.  

Several 2/4th men involved in the construction of this camp included Eric Fraser and Frank ‘Blue’ Evans.

Initially POWs from Non Pladuk Camp began construction at Nacompaton.

2/4th amputees who remained at Nacompaton until the end of the war included Syd Gorringe, Eric Ryan, Tom Barbour and Allan Bamford.  Nacompaton was located about 30 miles west of Bangkok.  Besides many amputees, POWs were sent to this camp to build up their strength following completion of the Railway. As their health improved (slightly) POWs were called out of Nacompaton in work parties.

When Japan surrendered in August 1945, Nacompaton became an Allied Forces collection centre for ex-POWs who were either moved out via Bangkok to Singapore direct or via Rangoon to Singapore.