No 4 POW Camp Thailand

Discussion in 'Prisoners of War' started by smiley783, Jul 13, 2014.

  1. smiley783

    smiley783 Member

    Im doing research into my Grandfather George William Garland born 11th November 1909. He was in a POW camp the address given on a telegram was No. 4 POW camp Thailand, he always said he was in Burma on the railway whenever he did mention anything about it. I have his Army number which is 1603142. He was in the Royal Artillary as a Gunner. I have also found out that he came home on the Booissevain ship from Rangoon, Burma 20/09/1945 and arrived in Liverpool 12/10/1945.
    I have done lots of research on Ancestry but I can never find any information on there regarding him as a POW, im not sure if I am doing something wrong or if there just isnt anything on him. I have also looked on the National Archives Website but it said the information was not digitalised.
    I would like to find out where camp 4 is, and also if anyone has information on what it was like there.
    I have found a website called which if someone can tell me where camp 4 was, I may be able to read others stories which may shed some light to me.
    Any help people can give me would be appreciated greatly, or a push in the right direction of where I could find the information myself.
    Thank you all!
  2. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Hi Smiley783,

    Here are your grandfather's details on the Cofepow database for Far East POW's. His presence on this database will almost certainly mean there will be documents in relation to his time as a prisoner of war held at the National Archives.

    These would include a POW index card and possibly a liberation questionnaire. These should tell you more about the camps he served in. From the date given for his capture, it is likely, if not definite that he was captured at the surrender of Singapore.

    I'm sure other members can tell you more.

    Best wishes

    smiley783 likes this.
  3. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive


    Do you know what RA Regiment he was with when captured? I'm offering forum members a free search and copy of index cards and liberation reports if the war diary is ordered.

  4. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    The list for Thailand here - confused me as well, but perhaps you can make better sense of it than I could.

    There might be some relevant background info here:

    Reference:WO 361/1956 Description:
    Prisoners of war, Far East: Thailand POW Camp, name list, as of 1 November 1944; volume III

    Reference:WO 361/1957 Description:
    Prisoners of war, Far East: Thailand POW Camp, name list, as of 1 November 1944; volume IV

    I would assume that /1954 is vol I and /1955 is vol II

    There appears to be no reference directly for Camp No 4 but perhaps if you find a name then other files might be available.

  5. smiley783

    smiley783 Member you have completely made my evening!! I cant believe I have the date that he was captured. It is quite emotional to see that written down but im sure I can use that piece of information to help find out more. Thank you so so much!!!
    Drew5233..Im not sure I do know which regiment of RA he was with, on the piece of info Bamboo43 found out it says Service: A. Does that mean anything? Is there anyway I could find out what regiment he was in? Can you tell me what the index cards and liberation reports and the war diary are exactly?
    Many thanks for all your help.
    Tricky Dicky...I saw that info earlier and it completely confused me too haha!!!
    When it says WO/ and then a number what does WO mean? I have seen it loads, does it stand for something or is it just random letters?
    I shall keep looking to see if I can find a name of the camp. Speaking to my Auntie she said he was in the Changi hospital, I dont know how many camps were around the hospital but maybe it narrows it down? I wish there was a map of the camps! That would help an awful lot!
    Thank you all so much!!!
  6. smiley783

    smiley783 Member

    Drew 5253...My Auntie has just sent me a message after looking through his release book, it says under unit regt or corps, y list R A H, A, A
    Now i dont know if that means anything to you, it certainly doesn't to me! haha
  7. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Hi Smiley,

    A simply stands for Army in this case.

    WO stands for War Office, these are file references held at the National Archives.

    Here is a link to a list of POW Camps and the Home page for a very good website in regard to Far East POW's.

    Don't get too worried about finding the camp, others on the forum will know more I'm sure. If a liberation questionnaire exists for George, it will show his camps. Here is an example of an index card and a liberation report:

    Freeman J. JIC 1 copy.JPG

    Campbell-Paterson LIB:Q. copy.jpg
    smiley783 likes this.
  8. DaveB

    DaveB Very Senior Member

    Can I suggest looking at something like (the Australian War Memorial website - collection search) using search words like 4 POW Camp Thailand

    You might find something of assistance showing life in some of the camps.

    Is number 4 camp the same as 4 kilo camp?? -

    Transcript of account of POW experiences, describing enlistment with 2/2 Reserve MT Company, duties in Singapore, capitulation. Goes on to describe experiences as a prisoner of the Japanese, detailing conditions and duties at many camps including Changi, various locations on Burma/Thailand Railway including Victoria Point, Tavoy Kandaw 4 Kilo Camp, Thetkaw 14 Kilo Camp, 75 Kilo Camp, Thanbyzuat, Ankanan 105 Kilo Camp, Ratpu 30 Kilo Camp, Tamakan; Saigon; and River Valley Camp in Singapore.

    Describes treatment by Japanese of prisoners, natives, Chinese, and Indians; escape plans; punishments and illness. Describes being torpedoed en route to Japan on board `Rahuya Maru', being rescued by American submarine, and return to Australia via Saipan and Guadalcanal. Mentions kindness of Americans, assistance of natives, joy at return home. Includes lyrics for parodies sung as a female impersonator in POW theatrical performances.
  9. DaveB

    DaveB Very Senior Member

    I would like to find out where camp 4 is, and also if anyone has information on what it was like there.

    Google -

    Imperial Japanese Army Postcard for POW.

    Addressed to Newcastle NSW from No. 4 POW camp Thailand (near Tamuang, 34km point on Burma Thailand Railway).

    Faint Japanese censor chop in red minimal tick list on reverse dated “10 June” (these cards never have the year and ticked options are usually the same – my health is good/your mails received etc. Soiled survivor one hope the prisoner who sent it survived too
  10. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    HAA stand for Heavy Anti-Aircraft. So all we need now is the number that goes in front of it.
  11. Enigma1003

    Enigma1003 Member

    Hi Smiley,

    Your Grandad was a member of the 3rd Heavy Anti Aircraft Regiment.
    His address given in 1942 files states Sutton Marsh, Cross Keys, Hereford.
    HE stated his birthday was 11th September 1910. ( not November 1909)
    He was probably sent from River Valley Camp on Singapore.
    He was sent to Saigon, Vietnam, sailing on 4th April 1942, and this was the first troop movement to leave Singapore, being promised much better conditions.
    In March 1944, he was sent to the Burma / Siam Railroad to the camp at Tarso, which was about 125 km from base camp. So it appears he worked on the Siam end of the railroad, but was shipped home from Burma.

    smiley783 and Drew5233 like this.
  12. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    I would guess there is some background info here:

    Reference:WO 208/1925 Description:
    Building of the Burma-Thailand railway: employment of prisoners of war, strategic importance, photographic interpretation reports, intelligence summaries, etc.

    Includes 16 photographs depicting: Military intelligence: building of Burma-Siam railway: maps of Burma, Burma coastline; written report on China communications; roads; military train in sidings at Hnohnpladuk (aerial view); stretch of railway between Burma-Siam border and Wang Ga. Dated 1944.

    Date: 1943 Aug.-1945 Oct.


    edited to add:
    A further possible reference at TNA is:

    Reference:WO 347/13 Description:
    "Official War Diary and Death Register": including brief account of move from Singapore to Thailand (with reference to work on [Burma-Siam] railway); journal of camp activity July-Nov 1943, with copy letters to IJA Camp Commandant; plan of camp; various death registers; and nominal roll of persons buried at Kando

    Note: Of 668 prisoners recorded as dying in Tanbaya Camp, it appears the majority were buried in two mass graves in Sept and Nov 1943 Date: 1942-1943
  13. smiley783

    smiley783 Member

    Wow, first of all thank you everyone so so much!! I really cannot explain how much it means to be finding out all of this information to share with my mother and aunts. My Nan and Grandad died when my mother was very young so all we new originally was his name and date of birth, which then went on to finding a few documents from the war but not much. We are all so grateful, thank you!!
    I dont know where to begin because so many of you have so kindly replied to me!
    Enigma1003...thank you so much for finding that out, where did you find all of that information? its just amazing!!! I went onto the COFEPOW website and there is a list there of people to message for help. I messaged someone who very kindly replied with pretty much the same information as you did. He attached a form which he says is the liberation report. Is that the same place you found the information? How would I have gone and found that information myself? Yes I am really not sure why he got his birthday so wrong, the only thing I can imagine is that he was very sick, malnourished and had malaria so maybe he got confused? Its actually my Nans birthday and he idolised her, maybe he was thinking about her so much that he wrote hers down instead of his.

    I sent an email to the National Archives yesterday and they emailed back, not with anything helpful to be honest as I thought maybe they might check their records and see what they held on him for me. Was I being extremely naive? I suppose I have to pay for something like that?
    They sent me a link to VeteransUK which send me to a site to fill in a form and pay £30 to get records.
    They also sent me a link to Prisoners of war, which is a link to their records which I originally looked on that says it hasn't been digitalised yet, which I did say in the email to them. They said I can email back if I need to, but I dont want to come across as rude. Its a shame I don't live closer and would just go there myself and do the research.

    Can anyone tell me what the Index is that I can get somehow and also what the war diary is, as I am still not sure.

    Thank you, Sharon
  14. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Apply for a copy of his service records, once you know the unit he was with I can copy his units war diary for you at 10p per page and I offer a free service for PoW Liberation Reports and Japanese PoW Index Cards with every diary ordered.

    You won't find anything out any other way as none of the above documents will be online anytime soon.

    Good luck :)
  15. smiley783

    smiley783 Member

    Bamboo43, ignore my comment about the what is the index card, you have sent me a copy of what one looks like already!!!
    DaveB..Im not sure if its the same as 4 kilo camp? I have got a list of the camps he was in now, unless there is more than 1 camp called Saigon and Tarsao/Nam Tok?? I shall spend some time tomorrow evening looking at the camps I think. Talking about those cards with the "I'm in good health" "Im working for money" I actually have one of those for him.
    So I now have the number that goes infront of the 3rd H.A.A Regiment R A.

    Thanks Tricky Dicky for that info, im going to spend some time tomorrow researching it all.

    Thank you all once again.
    Sharon :)
  16. smiley783

    smiley783 Member

    Drew5233, what is a war diary?
  17. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

  18. smiley783

    smiley783 Member

    I have just literally been reading that haha!! I used my initiative finally!! So how would I know how many pages there were on his unit? Also, would I be right in thinking that the diary would have stopped when they were captured?
    I guess you work at the National Archives Kew Drew5233?

    Sharon :)
  19. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    How many pages? Impossible to say until the files is ordered and copied - They all vary greatly in thickness.

    The diary may stop a month or more before capture or could go up to a day before after capture. Again they all vary greatly and the only way to know is look at the actual file.

    Do I work at Kew?.....It feels like it sometimes but no, its a hobby that pays for my petrol, books and research.

  20. gill reay

    gill reay New Member

    HI, I am hoping that someone can help me find out more information about my granddad who was also in No4 POW camp in Thailand.

    We have a telegram with some information regarding where he was and that he was working for pay but very few other details.

    His name was William F Needham and he was a Gunner in the Artillery.

    We know that he was in Burma but that is all.

    I would be grateful if anyone can let me know how I can find out more information about his military records. My father was recently given his medals, and the telegram. This has prompted me to look further into what happened to him in the war.

    Thank you

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