Roy Cornford - Sickness on the Burma-Thailand Railway

Running time
1 min 22 sec
Date made
Department of Veterans' Affairs


When you had malaria that bad, you'd be wondering whether you were going to wake up out of the fever. You'd be shivering and shaking. You'd shiver and shake like anything until the fever broke and then you would break out in a great sweat. You'd be just dripping wet. And if the fever never broke, well, that's when they used to die. And there was plenty of... I was on plenty of funerals where we had to take men and bury them.

Mostly, we had a couple of doctors, but they had no medical supplies to give you. All they could do was do what they could, if you had sores or anything like that, but any other pains or aches, they couldn't do much.

There was different bits of herbs that we used to gather that were grown, that we used...And of course, all along the Burma Railway, there used to be paw paws growing. We used to get the green paw paws and boil them and eat them, things like that. You had to scrounge and do anything to get anywhere and survive. It's like I said, some people would offer their last meal for a cigarette.

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