Liberated Rangoon Jail
These pages are compiled from KEW File AIR 40/1855
- Apart from the British PoWs who were marched out of Rangoon Jail by the Japanese on 25th April, 1945, there were some 150 who were considered unfit to undertake the march and were left behind.
These 150 PoWs were subsequently released and evacuated to hospitals in India. This report, issued as a supplement to the ‘E’ Group Consolidated Interrogation Report, is based on a selective interrogation.
Although the interrogation of these PoWs was carried. out on similar lines to that of the Consolidated Report, to avoid unnecessary repetition only information not included in the Consolidated Report appears In this supplement. The numbering of Sections and Paragraphs is the same as that on the Consolidated Report.
- The following details of events after the PoWs had been marched out were given by a senior Officer PoW. (R.A.A.F.) left behind in the Jail.
When the Japanese marched the party of PoWs out of the Jail on 25th April 1945, new guards were brought into the Jail.
These guards were very slovenly ex-civilians , and took over the guarding of the Jail until 29th April.
On the evening of 29th April, these guards came round the prison as usual, and issued the normal orders.
Later that evening the PoWs heard considerable noise coming from the Japanese quarters followed by the sound of vehicles being driven away.
Suspecting that the guards might have left the Jail, a POW went to confirm this. He jumped over the wall and met the C.O. of No. 2 Block who had had a note telling him that the Japanese had gone.
29th April 1945
To the whole captured prisoners of Rangoon Jail.
According to the Nippon military order, we hereby give you liberty and admit to leave this place at your own will.
Regarding food and other materials kept in this compound, we give you permission to consume them, as far as your necessity is concerned.
We hope that we shall have an opportunity to meet you again at battlefield of somewhere.
We shall continue our war effort eternally in order to get the emancipation of all Asiatic Races.
Signed The Chief Officer of the Rangoon Branch Jail.
Thinking this might be a trick, a PoW and an Indian Doctor went to the main building and opened the gate.
Attached to the gate was another note Saying the Japanese had gone.
Bravely you have come here opening prison. We have gone, keeping your prisoners safely with Nipponese Knightship. Afterwards we may meet again at the front somewhere. There let us fight bravely each other.
(We had kept the gate’s keys at the gate room).
PoW then locked the gate, armed the other PoWs with whatever weapons they could lay their hands on, and mounted a guard till dawn.
Next morning contacting some Burmese POW, as senior officer of the jail, ordered them to inform any responsible I.A.N. to report to him and, in due course a number of armed members of the I.A.N. reported at the jail.
On orders from PoW the jail was fortified and guarded as well as possible with the limited personnel and equipment available, and he with the members of the I.A.N. virtually took over control of Rangoon until the arrival of our troops.
Reports by PoWs liberated at Rangoon Jail