THANBYUZAYAT SWEAT CAMP: RELIEF AND EVACUATION OF ASIAN FORCED LABOURERS ON BURMA-SIAM RAILWAY [Allocated Title]
- Title: THANBYUZAYAT SWEAT CAMP: RELIEF AND EVACUATION OF ASIAN FORCED LABOURERS ON BURMA-SIAM RAILWAY [Allocated Title]
- Film Number: JFU 492
- Other titles: BRITISH ARMY OPERATIONS IN SOUTH EAST ASIA DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR [Allocated Series Title]
- Summary: At Thanbyuzayat camp in Burma Asian forced labourers receive food, clothing and medical attention from the Civil Affairs Service (Burma) before being evacuated to Rangoon, and General Stopford makes a visit.
- Description: A simple Red Cross flag hanging. Pan along a line of severely emaciated Asian labourers; open-sided thatched roofs and benches can be seen behind. Close-up of a gaunt labourer's face. Group of labourers. Close-up of an emaciated man. Two labourers are given pieces of chocolate. Close-up of a labourer slowly nibbling at the chocolate. A labourer staring intently at the camera; he is sitting in bright sunshine and all of his ribs are visible. Pan left along a line of emaciated men who all put their hands to their mouths to eat; a man in uniform walks out of shot. Closer shot of men eating. Men queue for food; generous portions of rice are handed out. The queue for food. Steaming curry or stew is ladled onto rice from drums. Men squatting on the floor eating; no one looks at the camera. Men receiving food. A man squatting on the floor, his arms desperately thin, slowly spoons food into his mouth. Long lines of men eating. Slow pan along a line of men eating; only one glances up from his food. A child eating from a bowl; he (?) has his head and left arm thickly wrapped in bandages. A child has a dressing removed with forceps by a captain of the Indian Army Medical Corps. A dressing is washed in a basin. The child is rebandaged. General Sir Montagu Stopford, commander of 12th Army, at the entrance of the camp; pan to a signboard (see notes). Stopford with an officer, possibly Captain Andrews, the officer responsible for the camp. Stopford crosses a small ditch and is saluted (by a camp inmate?); he returns the salute. Stopford and party walk along a hospital ward (?) and he returns a salute. Medium close-up of Stopford wearing the patch of 12th Army. He passes a sign marked 'Surgical Ward'; a child sits on a matting bench (the same child as earlier?). Passing through the ward. A labourer. Stopford passes thatched huts. A large group of waiting labourers sit down on the floor. Seated men; a soldier reads from a paper (instructions or a roll call?). Men being issued with longyi (clothing). Camera follows a man being issued his longyi. Sign 'Labour Camp Distribution Point'; tilt down to man receiving cloth then pan to men listening. At Setse beach on the Gulf of Martaban men carrying bundles walk down to the water; parked vehicles can be seen in the background. Men at the water's edge. Men waiting with their bundles in the foreground with the beached Landing Craft Tank (LCT) 7002 in the background. View of the waiting men (cameraman standing in the water). Pan of men siting on the beach. Shots of people smiling at the camera. People walk into the shallow water and board the LCT, as seen from the craft's ramp. Alternate angle of people boarding. Very wide shot showing the whole landing craft. An attractive shot to close shows waves gently breaking on the beach.
- Access Conditions: IWM Attribution: © IWM
- Featured Period: 1939-1945
- Production Date: 1945-12-17
- Production Country: GB
- Production Details: War Office Directorate of Public Relations (Production sponsor) SEAC Film Unit (Production company) Higgins, K G (Production individual)
- Personalities, Units and Organisations: Stopford, Montagu George North (person) Civil Affairs Service, Burma (regiment/service) Indian Army, Indian Army Medical Corps (regiment/service) Royal Navy, LCT 7002, amphibious landing craft (regiment/service)
- Keywords: Thanbyuzayat, Burma (geography) Setse, Burma (geography) Burma 1942-1945, Second World War (event) India 1939-1945 (theme) British Army 1939-1945 (theme)
- Physical Characteristics: Colour format: B&W Sound format: Silent
- Technical Details: Format: 35mm Number of items/reels/tapes: 1 Footage: 692 ft; Running time: 8 mins
- Notes: The sign at the camp entrance is marked 'Labour Camp' and reads 'Number in camp: 1712', 'Number in hospital: Indoor 222; Outdoor 81', 'Number at Setse: 296', 'Number sent to Rangoon [abbreviated RGN]: 1326' and is dated 17 December 1945. Thanbyuzayat was the Burmese end of the Burma-Siam railway; the so-called 'Railway of Death'. Started in June 1942 it was completed in October 1943 it was intended to mitigate Japanese logistical difficulties. Of the 60,000 Allied prisoners of war put to work on its construction some 16,000 perished, and of 270,000 Asian labourers 80-100,000 died. These statistics are easy to believe given the physical state of the workers seen in this film. A well shot piece with a strong narrative, and some disturbing content. For more footage of the Burma-Siam railway see related items. Matching stills in IWM Photograph Archive at references below.
- Link to IWM Collections page:
Related IWM Collections Objects:
JIN 141 (THE RAILWAY OF DEATH [Allocated Title]) SE 6162 (THE BRITISH REOCCUPATION OF BURMA) SE 6167 (THE BRITISH REOCCUPATION OF BURMA) SE 6170 (THE BRITISH REOCCUPATION OF BURMA) SE 6172 (THE BRITISH REOCCUPATION OF BURMA) SE 6173 (THE BRITISH REOCCUPATION OF BURMA) SE 6174 (THE BRITISH REOCCUPATION OF BURMA)