Roy Cornford - Living conditions on the Burma-Thailand Railway part 1

Running time
1 min 42 sec
Date made
Department of Veterans' Affairs


Roy Cornford:
Well, at first, we lived on our own food, but once we got to Thanbyuzayat and started on the Burma Railway, all we had was rice and soya beans. Well, actually it wasn't too bad at first. We did have some of our own food to mix with it. But once we really got started on the Burma Railway it got down to all you had was rice. And for breakfast you would get a big dixie full of real sloppy rice, which we called pap. And then for other meals you would get a heap of dried rice and you might get some boiled sweet potato potatoes, the juice, or some of the sweet potatoes as they used to pick them wild in the jungle there.

We used to even collect them ourselves and take them back and scrape them clean and boil them. And of course you had to boil all the water you drank and well, it was luckily we logged to start the Burma Railway in the dry season, but I'll admit we were short of water and any water they got, they had to boil for you to drink, but you could wash in the other water and wash what clothes you had. And of course after about three months your boots had worn out and then we worked the full Burma Railway barefooted and practically no clothes.

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