LIBERATED ALLIED AND AUSTRALIAN PRISONERS OF WAR FROM PALEMBANG, SUMATRA, RELATE THEIR EXPERIENCE TO A BRITISH WAR CORRESPONDENT IN SINGAPORE. (NAVAL HISTORICAL COLLECTION)
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.
Below: From the Beattie Collection -unfortunately date is unknown.
Below: being fitted out for clothes