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From Farm Boy to Soldier, to Prisoner of War; the Memoirs of Alf Davey PART III

by Lancshomeguard

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People in story: 
Alf Davey
Location of story: 
The Far East
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Contributed on: 
11 May 2005

Finally, I managed to get a job in the Hospital Cookhouse, working 12-hour shifts. All we wore was a piece of material like a loincloth as we sweated all the time with the heat form the fires and the sun. The clogs we wore were what we had made ouot of bits of wood.

Whilst I worked in the Cookhouse, I had to have an operation to remove my appendix. Some of the lads in my Ward developed ulcers and died after having their legs amputated. Ten days later, I was back at work.

I will always remember one night we had a Camp Concert, and an Australian Tenor sang "Somewhere a Voice is Calling". There wasn't a dry eye in the room!

The railway finished at Tarsao and because steam trains no longer brought rations for the Japanese, we had to transport their rations of chicken, duck, sweet potatoes and shallots up country to the next camp. We had to cross the river in a barge driven by Thais. The chickens and ducks were in bamboo cages, and we carried them by putting a bamboo pole through the cages and putting them on our shoulders. If a chicken or a duck put its head through the cage, it got a whack. We knew which ones we had killed and the Japanese would take all the dead out saying "presento". We would reply in their language and keep the ones we knew we had killed which weren't diseased, and give away the rest. My mates and me would have a good meal that night!

The next day, the rations would be transported to the next camp about 8 miles away. On our return, it was back to the railway again, moving up country to Tamuang.Here we had to build huts for the Japanese out of bamboo. The roof was made out of coconut leaves (called atap); we had no nails and had to use bark from the trees to tie all the joints.We collected all the bugs we could find and put them in their huts to give the Japanese sleepless nights, the bugs biting and sucking their blood!


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