Burma journey

A BULL CREEK author has unearthed unknown prisoner of war camps and battle sites while investigating his grandfather’s death on the notorious Thailand to Burma Railway.

In 1943, the Japanese army swept through South East Asia in a few weeks, taking over 60,000 allied POWs who were then used as slave labour to construct the 415-kilometre railway from Ban Pong, Thailand to Thanbyuzayat, Burma.

Hobby historian Martyn Fryer has been investigating this colossal human achievement and the horrid conditions the captured soldiers were forced to work in for his book From the Woodlands to the Jungle.

Fryer spent 11 years working on the book, travelling to Thailand and Singapore to excavate sites, dig up primary artefacts and prove the locations of camps along what was known as the ‘Death Railway.’

Martyn Fryer

“The story I have written starts as a family story and leads into WWII, following the path of my grandfather and his battalion through training and mobilisation, to the battle for Singapore and Thailand,” he said.

Working with Rod Beattie, curator of the Thailand to Burma Railway museum in Kanchanaburi and battle field archaeologist Jon Cooper, Fryer documented long-forgotten battle sites and POW camps.

The book investigates and chronicles the untimely death of Fryer’s grandfather Walter White, who succumbed to dysentery at the Lower Tha Kahnun POW camp.

From the Woodlands to the Jungle will be launched at the Flying Angel Club on Queen Victoria Street, Fremantle on Saturday July 14 from 3.30pm.


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