George Fletcher Beldam Archer
Straits Settlements Volunteer Force
1st (Singapore Volunteer Corps) Battalion
Born 10 April 1912
Attended Oakham School 1923-1929
The PoWs from the Straits Settlement Volunteer Force were under Lt Colonel T.H. Newey who was a harsh disciplinarian.
The Thailand-Burma railway was being built to support the large Japanese army in Burma. Commonwealth, Dutch and American PoWs were used by the Japanese in its construction. Two labour forces, one based in Thailand and the other in Burma worked from opposite ends of the line towards the centre. The Japanese aimed at completing the railway in 14 months and work began in October 1942. The death rate was very high and the Japanese wanted more prisoners in April 1943 to bolster the workforce. Sick prisoners from Singapore were told that they were to be sent to hospitals further up north to recuperate. These forces were known as ‘F’ and ‘H’ Force and consisted of 1,949 British, 705 Australians, 26 Americans and 590 Dutch.
These forces were loaned to the Japanese Thailand Administration by the Japanese Singapore Administration,
George was transported by rail to Thailand as part of “H Force” on 13th May 1943.
'H' and 'F' found that there was no recuperation, they were marched up the Railway line during the Japanese 'Speedo.' 'Speedo', which was the period in 1943 when the Japanese speeded up the construction of the Railway, this meant longer working hours, more demanding work and more brutality leading to much higher illness and death rates.
7th August 1943
George died in captivity at Tamarkan, Thailand which was a base hospital camp. It is most likely that he was either left there on the way up the line or sent back with the sick.
Son of John Fletcher Archer and Laura Annie Archer, of Bessacarr, Doncaster, Yorkshire
2. J. 28.
KANCHANABURI WAR CEMETERY