POUNDER, THOMAS (Oral history)

Catalogue number
  • 4887
Production date
Subject period
  • whole: Duration 120, Number Of Items 4
Alternative names
  • object name: Oral history
  • object category: IWM interview


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Object description

British gunner served with 88th Field Regt, Royal Artillery in GB and Malaya, 1939-1941; POW in Changi and Sime Road POW Camps in Singapore, on Burma-Thailand Railway, aboard Kachidoki Maru in South China Sea, 9/1944 including sinking, 12/9/1944 and Sakata POW Camp in Japan, 1944-1945

Content description

REEL 1 Aspects of period as gunner with 88th Field Regt, Royal Artillery in GB, 1939-1941: background to joining Territorial Army, 1939; training and service in GB, 1939-1941. Aspects of period as gunner with 88th Field Regt, Royal Artillery in Malaya, 1941-1942: character of voyage from GB to Singapore; engagements against Japanese near Alor Star in north Malaya; withdrawal; lack of air cover; Japanese mortar fire; belief that Singapore would be held; opinion of Japanese forces; receiving news of surrender; spiking guns. Recollections of period as POW in Changi and Sime Road POW Camps, Singapore, Malaya, 2/1942-5/1943: march to Changi; accommodation; first encounters with Japanese; move to Sime Road camp; behaviour of Japanese during detachment to working party; treatment for dysentery in Roberts Hospital, Changi. REEL 2 Continues: accommodation and rations in Changi POW camp; supplementing rations; daily meal and work routine on work parties in Singapore; looting Japanese trucks during work parties; nature of Japanese supervision; question of escape. Recollections of period as POW on Burma-Thailand Railway, 5/1943-9/1944: false promise of better conditions on railway; train journey to Thailand; rations at Kanburi POW Camp; work on viaduct at Wampo; nature of ‘speedo’ period on railway; POW’s revenge on Japanese; work shifts; rain and cold; POW illnesses: POW’s accidental death at Tarsao; opinion of POW officers not working; Korean guards on railway; camp routine and supervision. REEL 3 Continues: nature of bridge building work at Kinsaiyok; cholera outbreak at Kinsaiyok; disposal of cholera victims’ bodies; death of friend from cholera and his own cholera scare; incidents during march to Krian Kri including POW drowning; invasion of camp by monkeys; crossing of river on march; malaria bout; losing sense of time on railway; completion of railway and subsequent maintenance work, late 1943; story of beating received from Korean guard on railway. REEL 4 Continues: move to Tonchan; bamboo cutting at Tonchan; construction of camp at Tamuang; train journey to Singapore, 9/1944. Aspects of voyage from Singapore aboard Kachidoki Maru in South China Sea, 9/1944 including sinking 12/9/1944: embarkation at Singapore; conditions on board; torpedoing of ship by USS Pampanito, 12/9/1944; abandoning vessel and loss of friend; period in sea and aboard life raft with Japanese survivors; rescue by Japanese destroyer; resumption of journey to Japan. Aspects of period as POW at Sakata POW Camp, Japan, 9/1944-8/1945: move to camp; labouring work; rations and Red Cross parcels; treatment by guards; US air raids on docks; hearing news of Japanese surrender, 8/1945.

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