Liberated Rangoon Jail
Notable Experience 3
At approximately 1800 hrs. on the 28th April, 1945, one of the PoW being marched out of Rangoon Jail, broke away from the column with seven other PoWs. Each of the party had managed to steal a certain amount of food from the Japanese carts which the PoWs were hauling.
They moved off into the jungle individually and met at a rendezvous two to three miles west of the road at approximately 2230 hours.
The party then returned to the road to make sure that the column had moved on, crossed over to the east, through the paddy, over the railway, and turned south along the track.
At 0400 hrs. on the 29th, April, they made camp in some elephant grass, and some of the party slept whilst others prepared a meal.
The PoWs rested there for some time and at 1600 hrs. two Burmese armed with spears approached, but made off again when they realised that they were outnumbered. The evaders gathered up their belongings and set off south for some distance under cover of the elephant grass.
After dark, they resumed their march, avoiding all villages. They finally reached one village which stretched from the river to the railway and could not therefore be avoided. They marched into the village and were surrounded by some Burmese who were all heavily armed. The headman proved reasonable giving them some water and directing them to a Karen village about 5 miles further on.
At the KAREN village the evaders were very well received and cared for, and the Karens kept them for about 5 days as they said that the Allies were on the way.
One Karen acted as scout and reported that he had seen Allied armoured cars in the vicinity. The next day he reported a whole column near the village, so two of the party set off to make contact and found a column of the West Yorks, who sent back a jeep to collect the remainder of the party and then passed them back to Pegu.
While the evaders were in the Karen village three Japanese arrived and asked if there were any Englishmen in the village. The headman had to sign a declaration to the effect that Englishmen had left. The Japanese departed but were ambushed on the outskirts of the village by the, Karens who beheaded them.