The ‘Death Railway’ was very well named. More correctly called the Burma or Thai–Burma Railway, it was a major project during Allied Far East imprisonment under the Japanese. Over 60,000 prisoners worked on its construction, the majority of whom were British, and some 20 per cent died before release in 1945. Working conditions were appalling, the climate inhospitable, and food supplies
grossly inadequate, making the POWs terribly vulnerable to a plethora of tropical infections and syndromes of malnutrition. No medical care was given by their Japanese captors, and it fell to the Allied POW doctors and medical orderlies to treat the sick, which they did with little in the way of medical equipment or drugs. However, with remarkable ingenuity and inventiveness they dealt with
recurrent attacks of malaria and dysentery, as well as tropical ulcers and beriberi, and devastating epidemics of cholera. Their efforts undoubtedly saved hundreds of lives.
This revealing book presents for the first time an in-depth analysis of the medical crisis in the Allied prisoner of war (POW) camps on the Thai–Burma Railway, between 1942 and 1945. While it is
written mainly from a British perspective, the authors acknowledge the contributions made by the many different nationalities of medical staff working together.
Geoff Gill and Meg Parkes
Imprint: Palatine Books
ISBN: 978 1 910837 09 2
Extent: 272 pages
Format: 243mm x 169mm
Illustrations: over 60
Pub date: 10 May 2017