Possible K-Force involvement

Discussion in 'Prisoners of War' started by Stuart Howell, Feb 12, 2018.

  1. Stuart Howell

    Stuart Howell Member

    Hello all

    I apologise in advance for what will be a little bit of a preamble.
    I am looking for any advice, information or possible sources of further research regarding my great uncle
    Gunner Bernard William Bergin RA 1753778

    As a child, I knew uncle Bern as a quiet, mild mannered almost meek individual. He would spend a lot of time in the garden in a shed converted to keep budgerigars. As i grew older, I discovered that he had been a POW of the Japanese. He would never discuss his experiences with anyone and he developed a hatred of anything Japanese. Looking back with the eyes of an adult, I now recognise the signs of PTSD. He passed away in 1983 and as I was just beginning to get into family history, I ended up inheriting his documents.
    I have his medals, his Field Medical Card, several postcards sent from his time in the camps, a copy of his MOD records, his Japanese record card and a copy of his Liberation Questionnaire. It is this last item that has thrown up a mystery and his possible involvement with K-Force.
    I have been in email contact with Andrew Snow from the Thailand-Burma Railway Centre (TBRC) in Thailand. He translated the Japanese record card for me and also gave me the link to the Liberation questionnaire.

    These are direct quotes from our emails.

    He seems to have had a very interesting time as a P.O.W. as he didn't follow the usual format.
    He came up to Thailand in October 1942 and for some reason went to Tha Makham camp near the Kwai Bridge with Lt Col Toosey and then to Kanchanaburi with Maj Slater. This is not usual for a Gunner in the Artillery and we have come to the conclusion that he must have been involved in Hospital work perhaps as a medical orderly or some form of assistant as his subsequent movements tend to confirm.
    His next move was to Apalon in Burma about 290km from Kanchanaburi with Maj Crawford who was with "K" Force which was a group of medical officers and support staff sent to Thailand and Burma to try to help the Asian labourers that were suffering in their thousands with tropical diseases and had no medical assistance of their own. He was in Apalon from Dec 43 to Aug 45 a very long time to be up in the Jungle whatever his work was.
    He then moves to Tha Muang Hospital in August 45 and then to Rangoon Hospital Sept 45 and then home.
    I know that Bernard was not part of "K" Force as such but he was with the part of the force that worked in Apalon so he must have been assisting them in some way and I can only imagine what he must have seen in his time in Burma.

    Hi Stuart
    I have attached the Index Card Translation for you. It only confirms the puzzle about his time on the Railway.
    He was part of Group 2 yet he worked with Col Toosey (Group 1) at Tha Makham and Major Slater (Group 1) at Kanchanaburi.
    before going to Apalon in Burma with Major Crawford (K Force).
    I am trying to get some information on Major Lloyd who was his detachment leader in Singapore, Tha Makham and Kanchanaburi to see if that gives any hint of what he was doing.
    The only explanation that I can come up with for his unusual movements comes from the fact that before the war he was an Auditor and as such had expertise with figures lists columns etc, he was put to work by the Officers preparing Camp and Medical reports and when K Force (Medical) came to Thailand he was included in the party that went to Apalon to do the same work.
    Maybe I am wrong but that is the best that I can come up with.

    I have tried the Red Cross, but they are not taking any more requests until 14th May 2018.

    So I am asking if anyone on here could provide any information or could suggest any where else to try looking.
    Many thanks
  2. Stuart Howell

    Stuart Howell Member

    Just as a follow up I have included a link to the Liberation Questionairre. I hope

    Viewing Image
  3. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Re member

    Have you seen:

    Prisoners of war, Far East: K and L Forces who proceeded overland on 25 June and 24... | The National Archives
    Reference: WO 361/2202
    Prisoners of war, Far East: K and L Forces who proceeded overland on 25 June and 24 August 1943; nominal roll
    Date: 1944 Jan 01 - 1944 Dec 31
    Held by: The National Archives, Kew
    Former reference in its original department: 128
    Legal status: Public Record(s)
    Closure status: Open Document, Open Description
    Access conditions: Open on Transfer
    Record opening date: 22 April 2011

    This is available to download from Findmypast

  4. Stuart Howell

    Stuart Howell Member

    I think I have all records from Findmypast relating to Bernard so will have to check them to see if any flag up as the ones you mention.
  5. Stuart Howell

    Stuart Howell Member

    Have just checked and cross referenced the archive WO 361/2202 against all entries for Bern but found no matches. This could be what Andrew Snow meant when he said that Bern was not part of K force proper.

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