Robert Goodwin - Thai Burma Railway

Running time
2 min 24 sec
Date made
Department of Veterans' Affairs


When we left Changi to go up onto the railway, there was a great deal of talk. Everyone was saying you're a lieutenant. The officers aren't likely to work there. Probably only being taken up so that they can supervise the work of the workers. Ha ha ha. When we did get up there, the train from Changi took us up to the border of Burma, or Thailand. From there, we had another ... some of them had 200 miles to walk.

They'd been prisoners for two years at this stage, and there were a lot of very ill people at that stage. Particularly, our medical officers did their utmost to try and persuade the Japanese to provide transport. The Japanese simply held their hands up and said, "Every man will walk." Many men just died. Those that made it were the workforce that went on. They had huge numbers, thousands, and thousands of prisoners. During most of the time in Burma, we were all pretty sick. My doctor, he would swear that he was being paid richly for his work, but the way he talked to you, you'd feel that he was being paid very richly just to do a simple job like amputate a couple of toes.

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