Building the death railway: the ordeal of American POWs in by Robert Sherman La Forte, Ronald E. Marcello

By Robert Sherman La Forte, Ronald E. Marcello

The Oscar-winning motion picture 'Bridge Over the River Kwai' dramatized to thousands the development of the notorious jap 'Death Railway' - the provision line for Japan's deliberate invasion of India in the course of international battle II. however the motion picture informed purely a part of the tale, giving the effect that every one males engaged on the road have been British. in truth, 668 americans - serving at the USS Houston and with the Texas nationwide Guard's moment Battalion - labored along the opposite Allied troops within the jungle camps. In 'Building the dying Railway', their tale is instructed for the 1st time. In 22 interviews with American survivors, we research the main points in their long ordeal. disorder, punishment, camaraderie, paintings stipulations and makes an attempt to flee are defined by means of the lads who have been there. the tale starts off with their seize and ends with their liberation forty two months later. The Burma-Thailand 'Death Railway' was once probably the most terrible sentences a prisoner of battle might suffer. hundreds of thousands died within the jungles of Burma. greater than a hundred thirty americans - one guy in 5 - by no means lower back domestic, sufferers of forget, abuse, hunger and disorder. 'Building the dying Railway' offers the yankee standpoint on occasions that surprised the realm.

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Extra info for Building the death railway: the ordeal of American POWs in Burma, 1942-1945

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They were intended to be pulled by a small pony, from what I'm told. But one American equals one small pony in their minds. It was extremely difficult, although once you started they rolled fairly easily. They were maybe half the length of a pick-up truck bed and slightly more narrow. But to me they were quite large; I mean, it's not something that you would pull around in your backyard, you know. "I was extremely weak, extremely hungry, extremely thirsty. We had not been fed at all. I had on a pair of pants, no shoes, no shirt, no hat, no nothing.

I really mean that. I couldn't imagine being there another month. " In fact, they spent forty-two months in captivity, from March 1942 to August 1945. Finally, the reader needs to keep in mind that many of the Lost Battalion members were Depression youngsters, unable to finish even public schooling. Thus, the reader will not always find perfect use of the King's English in their interviews. Likewise, Ronald E. Marcello conducted the interviews over a period of many years, almost two decades, twenty to thirty years subsequent to the experiences being described.

I could see the outline of a mountain or a hill in the distance. I knew that that was Java. I swam for hours, and I didn't meet a single soul. Sometime during the night, I heard boats going through the water; I could hear the engines. They were some sort of small craft. I could see searchlights in the water, and I could hear machine-gun fire. I saw a boat approaching me, and I became very frightened. I knew from what I could hear that the Japs were machinegunning in the water, so I decided that the only thing that I could do would be to attempt to make them think I was already dead.

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