Naung Pattaya Railway Station
These pages are compiled from KEW File AIR 40/1855
This report is based on a selective interrogation of those British who were marched out of Rangoon Jail by the Japanese on 25th April 1945. The interrogation was carried out mainly from an Group angle.
The first reaction of the Japanese prison authorities to the Allied advance towards Rangoon was a request in the jail on 23rd April 1945 for a working party of 200 to be ready to move at short notice. Nothing further happened until 25th April when immediately after roll call the cook-house was warned to prepare three meals for each of a party of 250 men by 1300 hours. Orders were Also given for a list of all fit men to be prepared, and Japanese kit was issued. A conference was called of Block Commanders and they were informed by the Commandant of the jail that all fit British and American PoWs were to leave the jail at 1600 hours that day.
In fact just undery 400 eventual1y left including Brigadier Hobson, the senior British Officer, under an escort comanded by the Jail Commandant. They were marched along the main road past Ledaunggan towards Pegu.
There were left behind approximately 120 white PoWs, some sick and some not strong enough to undertake the march.
On reaching Pegu the party turned North East along the railway track towards Waw. They arrived at a place afterwards discovered to be Naung Pattaya QG0413, by the PoWs who found some railway tickets which indicated it’s name. This place was reached on 29th April 1945 by the majority of the party who had originally set out. Some 30 to 40 PoWs had, however, escaped or made off into the jungle.
Towards the evening of 29th April 1945, a large Japanese staff car appeared and an officer got out and conferred with the Comnandant of the Jails, after which the former returned to his car end drove off. The Commandant then sent for Brigadier Hobson who later returned to inform the PoWs that they were free. Evidently the Allied advance had been too swift for the Japanese to carry out their plan of moving the PoWs. W here it was their intention to move is not known. One series of rumours suggests Moulmein, and another, a camp in Siam (Thailand).
At his interview with the Commandant, Brigadier Hobson was handed a document signed by the Conmandant on behalf of the Emperor of Japan, stating that the PoWs had been freed, and requesting that safe conduct should be given to them.
Some time was spent in and around the railway station and the area was bombed and strafed by Allied aircraft. Brigadier Hobson, who had taken shelter and escaped the bombing was killed however during a strafing attack.
Shortly after, an Allied column made contact with the liberated PoWs and arrangements were made for them to be flown out to hospitals in India.
While it must be remembered that these PoWs were the fittest in the Jail, it must be stated that their morale was extremely high despite the fact that some of them had been prisoners for ovor three years, that most of them had at some time been subject to ill-treatment, and that all of them had suffered from neglect and under nourishment. There were some cases of stomach trouble, and Beri Beri, but in the main they had managed to keep themselves remarkably fit considering the hardships they had endured.
Reports by PoWs Liberated at Naung Pattaya Railway Station
Contacts and Codes
Interrogation Treatment (To Follow)
Noteable Experiences (To Follow)
Fate of Army RAF and Civilian Personnel (To Follow)
Miscellaneous (To Follow)