SUMATRAN RAILWAY – Pakan Baroe – Moearo Railway Line

Total of seven men from 2/4th commenced work on the Railway:

Annear, Magill, Quinn, Squance who were joined by 2/4th Java POWs: Booth, McAskil and Banks. (Booth and McAskil both died on Railway)

Please read about McAskil

Also read about Booth & Banks







Above:  Printed in Daily News, Perth in 1986.


Pakan Baroe was a small port about 90 miles along the Siak River from its mouth. The river was sufficiently deep to accommodate ships up to 800 tons all year round.
From early 1944 when Japan realised the tide was turning and they were losing many ships to the Allies it was decided that in event of an Allied attack on Western Sumatra, Japanese reinforcements could be brought in by sea utilising the shelter of islands between Singapore and Sumatra. Japanese troops would then be brought straight up the Siak River to Pakan Baroe.
The following list of construction camps and approx. distance from beginning at Pakan Baroe:
Construction began 26 Oct 1944 and was completed one week after the end of the war 22 Aug 1945. 

No 1.  000.00km Pakan Baroe

No 2.  5 km Tengkirang Hospital.

No 2a.  15 km  Koebang

No 3. 18 km Teratakboeloeh

No 4a/b.  19 km Teratakboeloah

No 5.   23 km Loeboeksakat

No 6. 36 km Soengei Pagar

No 7a. 69 km Soengei Pagar

No 7.  75 km  Lipatkain

No 8.  111 km Kota Baroe

No 9. 142 km Logas

No 10. 160 km Loeboeck Ambajan

No 11. 176 km Pinto Baroe

No 12.  200 km Siluewah

No 13. 220 km Moearo

No 14.  118-119 km Tapoei-Petai spur line

Similarities to Burma-Thai Ralway included – type of work, rations and treatment meted out to POWs by Korean guards – except the POWs began this project with poor physical and mental  health having already been prisoners for 2 1/2 years and food supplies were reduced and became more scarce. POWs were skeletal, many unable to walk and daily deaths by the time they were rescued.
(With limited information available and few records of written/published personal accounts, we are unable to provide detailed account.)
Most important is the POWs who were there receive the recognition they deserve for their work and lives lost on this railway project. 


You Can read further about 2/4th men escaping Singapore to Sumatra

Please read about POWs sailing Sumatra

Please read about Evacuation of the POWs from Sumatra – another story!

A personal story of a POW who worked on Railway Sumatra

Read about three 2/4th boys sent from Java to Sumatra to work on Railway 1944 :
Of the three 2/4th POWs sent from Java to Sumatra, Banks was the only one to survive.  On arrival in Sumatra, the three men were sent to Pakan Baroe.  McAskil and Booth died working on the Railway.


Below:  From the Beattie Collection -unfortunately date is unknown.


Below: being fitted out for clothes


Please read POW George Duffy’s account of the Sumatran Rail