Sketch by Jack Chalker

Air Raids and Bombing

PART TEN

AIR RAIDS AND BOMBING

Seeing the P.O.W Camps were mostly in or near places of Military importance, such as Marshalling Yards, Bridges, Workshops, Docks, Airfields, etc., casualties amongst P.O.W's through Allied Air activity was fairly heavy.

The first Allied planes seen, were two, four engined bombers [type not known], in February 1943, on their way back from an attack on Bangkok, (Wampo).

No other planes were seen until December 1943, (Chungkia), although raids were more or less continuous on the Burma side of the Railway. On moonlit nights, many planes (passed overhead) on their way to bomb Bangkok or Indo-China up to May 1944: but no bombs were dropped on or near P.O.W Camps.

In late 1944, the first large raid took place on Non Pluduk. This Camp was the main ordnance repair workshops in South Thailand, with large rail sidings. The Camp was so situated (see diagram), that it was more or less impossible to drop bombs on the sidings, workshops or Ack Ack gun positions, without dropping one or two in the camp.

Non Produk Camp

That is what happened, all P.O.W's had to stop inside their huts, no slit trenches were allowed to be built, consequently, when our planes flew over and bombed the Workshops and Sidings, bombs fell amongst the huts of Number One Camp, killing 91 and wounding hundreds.

At a later date, another raid took place, when approximately 80 Allied planes took part, but only 7 P.O.W's were killed. Slit trenches had been built and the men were allowed out of the huts, also because the raiding planes came from another direction, although they obliterated the Oil Dump, Workshops and Sidings, only one bomb dropped in the Camp and then that dropped on to a slit trench containing the seven killed.

Later still the Bridge near Tamakan, Kan-Chan-Buri and Chungkia P.O.W Camps was constantly being bombed and destroyed, this Bridge allowed the Railway to cross the river on its way up country and was therefore vital to the Nip's war effort being the one and only Bridge. It was protected by several A.A. guns which made themselves a nuisance. In the first raid, the Bridge was destroyed and the A.A. guns put out of action by bombs and machine gunning, Tamakan P.O.W Camp was in close proximity to both the Bridge and the guns, consequently bombs dropped in the Camp, killing and wounding many P.O.W's. In every raid on the Bridge the same thing happened.

As soon as one bridge was destroyed, another one was built by P.O.W labour and even during the raids; P.O.W's were forced to work on the Bridge, both through the bombing and through the machine gunning.

This also happened at a Bridge between Bangkok and Bang-Pong, and also at Rat-Buri, both bridges were totally destroyed. P.O.W's were employed to both erect new bamboo bridges or to ferry Military Stores, Troops and Equipment across the rivers.

In early 1945 and up to August 10th 1945, the Railway from Bangkok to Moulien was constantly being bombed and machine-gunned, especially trains. All the damage was repaired by P.O.W labour. P.O.W's were conveyed on these trains from Camp to Camp as follows: - Trucks were loaded with supplies and ammunition; the P.O.W's were forced to ride on the top of the trucks. To illustrate the danger involved by this method of travel, one train loaded in this manner was travelling from Tarso to a Camp further up the river. Whilst on the way an Allied, four-engined bomber flew directly over the top of the train, but did not machine gun or drop any bombs. This plane was quickly followed by one, two, three, four, Allied planes, each in turn bombed and machine gunned the train. The P.O.W's waved to try to be recognised as P.O.W's and not Nips, this did no good, they then scrambled off the train and raced into the jungle. But the jungle was then bombed and machine gunned for one hundred yards on either side of the train, many P.O.W's were killed or wounded, the train was completely wrecked. They were left without food or water, no medical supplies with which to dress the wounded, miles from anywhere. Volunteers left this bombed area and walked for hours to get help, which finally they did.

So just understand that we had not only death always staring us in the face through starvation and disease, but also by our own aircraft.

This did not only happen in Thailand, but in Burma and Indo-China also.

[On 6th July 2000, I was in our Model Shop, "Showcase Models", in Penrith, when a customer, who I knew had served in Malaya during the War, brought a copy from his Flight Log Book from the time he had served in Thailand to show me. His name was 1801625 W/O Len Moore and he had served with 159 Squadron, Flying out of DIGRY in Bengal in Liberator Bombers. What was to follow made fascinating reading and I felt it was only right that it should be included in with this part of the Document. I am quite sure my Father would have wished it to be so. It also, ties I with the photograph]

It read as follows: -

385.10

Time Carried Forward: - 290.45  94.25

Date

Hour

Aircraft

Pilot

Duty

Remarks

Flying Times

 [Including results of bombing, gunnery, exercises, etc.]  Day – Night

21.6.45

11.20

LIBERATOR EV968 "Z"

W/O PA BROWN

NOSE GUNNER

OPERATIONS: - SIAM MINE LAYING IN BANGKOK RIVER. ATTACKED BY L.A.A. FROM SHIPPING IN RIVER REAR GUNNER RETURNED FIRE

7.00  7.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Date

Hour

Aircraft

Pilot

Duty

Remarks

Flying Times

[Including results of bombing, gunnery, exercises, etc.]  Day – Night

24.6.45

06.28

LIBERATOR EV968 "Z"

W/O PA BROWN

NOSE GUNNER

OPERATIONS :  -  SIAM ATTACKING ANTI-AIRCRAFT GUN SITES WHILE MAIN FORCE ATTACKED AT  LOW LEVEL. RAILWAY BRIDGES AT KANCHANABURI POSN 14'02'N 99'32'E BOTH BRIDGES DOWN. HEAVY ANTI AIRCRAFT FIRE

12.00 2.00

[ATTACK CARRIED OUT BY: -   

F/LT RM BORTHWICK R.C.A.F. IN "R"  

F/O J HAYCOCK R.N.Z.A.F. IN "B"         

 SCORED THE HITS]                          

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Date

Hour

Aircraft

Pilot

Duty

Remarks

 

Flying Times

[Including results of bombing, gunnery, exercises, etc.]  Day – Night

27.6.45

0930

LIBERATOR KL677 "X"

W/O PA BROWN

NOSE GUNNER

PRACTICE BOMBING SALANI RANGE. 8 BOMBS 4000 FT

1.35

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Date

Hour

Aircraft

Pilot

Duty

Remarks

 

Flying Times

[Including results of bombing, gunnery, exercises, etc.]  Day – Night

30.6.45

15.00

LIBERATOR KL  674 "J"

P/O LEE

NOSE GUNNER

FERRYING CREWS FROM DIGRI TO  JESSORE

.55           .55

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total Time...312.15   103.25

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[I have the permission of Mr. Len Moore to copy this section of his Flight Record and it is correct to the best of my knowledge. - Michael E Nellis]

 

Next Chapter

Mail and Correspondence

 

 

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