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AUSTRALIAN PRISONERS OF WAR
Transcript of AUSTRALIAN PRISONERS OF WAR
Over 22,000 Australians became prisoners of war ( P.O.W) of the Japanese in south-east Asia. Over two-thirds were taken prisoner by the Japanese at the beginning of 1942. The remaining third were taken prisoner by the Germans. 14,972 Australians were taken as prisoners when Singapore surrendered to the Japanese on 15th February 1942
There were different experiences in the various prison camps on Singapore. For 3 and a half years POWs battled disease, starvation, exhausting work and the brutality of the captors. A typical day’s ration in most camps would be ½ - 1 cup of white rice, and some watery vegetable soup. Meat was eaten perhaps once or twice a month. Without basic proteins and vitamins , starvation was the biggest killer of the P.O.Ws and with the resulting low immunity they could not fight any of the endless number of diseases that they battled with through captivity.
In this photo we have Prisoners of war in Singapore, Changi.
Between 1942 and 1943, large numbers of prisoners were moved from Singapore to locations in Burma and Thailand. Australian prisoners were used to begin construction on the ends of the railway and work towards the middle, creating a total railway line of 415 kilometers. More then 2,800 Australians died on the track.
These blue lines indicate the Railway track going from Bangkok through to Burma.
The following 2 photos are of Australian prisoners of war in Bangkok, constructing the railway linking Thailand and Burma, to supply its campaign against the Allies in Burma.
WHY DIDNT THE P.O.W'S TRY TO ESCAPE?
Simply, there was no point. They were often in remote areas, most
were too sick and exhausted to try and escape. Even if they had made it to a civilian village, locals would often turn them over to the Japanese for reward. If a prisoner tried to escape (some tried and almost all failed), he would then be executed in front of the whole camp along with some form of punishment which would be given to the entire camp as a lesson.
Leonard George Siffleet was an Australian commando who became a POW. In this photo he was being interrogated, tortured, and soon to be beheaded by the Japanese.
WHAT WERE THE TASKS ASSIGNED TO THE P.O.W'S?
WHAT WAS LIFE LIKE FOR THE P.O.W'S?
HOW MANY AUSTRALIANS BECAME A P.O.W?
WHY SHOULD THE AUSTRALIAN PRISONERS OF WAR BE COMMEMORATED AND WHAT SHOULD FUTURE GENERATIONS REMEMBER ABOUT THIS GROUP?
BY ZOE DIAMANTAKIS 10B
The Australian prisoners of war should be commemorated because they literally went through a living hell to protect our country, most in fact didn't even get through it. The future generations should remember their high acts of bravery, courage, loyalty and honor. We should remember the sacrifices they made to build a brighter and safer future.
These are 2 photos of the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. Remebering everyone who participated in World War 1 & 2.