to perpetuate the memory and history of our dead

30. Acknowledgements

It is imperative that that I acknowledge the involvement of two organizations without whom this project could not have been successful.

First is the Lost Battalion Association and the staff at the Texas Military Forces Museum at Camp Mabry, TX. They provided valuable insight and guidance but more importantly rosters of the two main military units involved in this saga. I believe that this is the first time that the roster that was kept by LTC Tharp has even been digitized. They also provided me with LTC Tharp’s diary that became the basis for the timeline that appears in Section 5 of this website.

http://www.texasmilitaryforcesmuseum.org/lostbattalion/index.htm

In JULY 2022, I was fortunate to be able to visit this museum and was hosted by the Curator Ms. Lisa Sharik. She provided a tour of the 2/131 exhibit and access to a large amount of documents that the museum holds in its archives. I was able to update and expand may sections of the website as a result of that access.

Secondly, is staff at the University of North Texas Oral History Program, that is the repository of a series of interviews performed primarily by Dr. Ronald Marcello. In those interviews, he delves into the personal stories of many of these ex-POWs. They provide a insight that can came from no where else except having lived the ordeal. He has summarized and presented the stories of a few of these men in his book: Building the Death Railway in conjunction with co-author Robert LaForte. They have also granted permission for the use of the Wisecup sketches and provided access to the Master’s Thesis of Frances Peadon.

[see Section 9.6 for a summary of their contributions.]

Early on in my quest, I was aided and guided by Sue Kreutzer of the USS HOUSTON Association to whom I am eternally grateful.

http://www.usshouston.org/

Roger Mansell dedicated a substantial portion of his life to examining and archiving the Japanese records of the SEA POWs. Those records help greatly in ‘placing’ individual POWs at exact places. One issue with these records as the Japanese kept them, is that they are often undated. So while a POW name appears on a roster as being at Changi Prison, we don’t always know if that was before his TBR time or after when many of the POWs were retro-graded back to Singapore. A number of his rosters are attributed to a camp (in Thailand) named Hunbo (or Humbu) but I cannot find that name anywhere else.

A special shout out needs to go to Ken Rodgers, International Officer, Office for Global Initiatives Kyoto Seika University ksuinted@kyoto-seika.ac.jp who facilitated my access to some of the published works by Professor David Boggett whose story is told in Section 20.7 . He has also provided some insights into Japanese language usage.

In AUG 2022, I had the unique opportunity to view the thousands of pages of documents collected by Samuel Milner housed at the University of Houston Library. Curator Christian Kelleher and the staff of the Special Collections Section provided full and ready access to their holdings. Historian Milner had intended to write a history of the USS HOUSTON and the members of the LOST BATTALION but passed away prior to completing more that a few draft chapters of the book he intended to call The Captives: The Building of the Burma-Siam Railway. His extensive collection of research materials is housed in 23 ‘bankers boxes’ of folders.

https://findingaids.lib.uh.edu/repositories/2/resources/183

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Another late arrival but major contributor has been Thansawath Saranyathadawong. He has provided a large number of articles written in Thai which I have incorporated (with his permission) to further tell pertinent parts of the TBR story. Included in the Thai-Burma Railway Explorers Group is Acharn Theerawat Pakdee who provided information and artifacts.

Fellow US Veteran and Kanchanaburi Expat, Dan Manners provided many unique perspective photographs and video drone footage.

Another excellent website dedicated to the Australian TBR POWs was created by Lt. Col. Peter Winstanley OAM RFD (Retired) JP at:

https://www.pows-of-japan.net/index.html

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The existence of this website is due to the software skills of my long-time friend Khwanchai Sirmsri.

Many individuals and organizations have done a splendid job of relating a portion of the TBR story. I have taken the liberty to cite many of those efforts as embedded URLs. I thank each and every one for their contribution to perpetuating the memory of these men.

The existence of the District 5 VFW memorial near the bridge (see Section 14a) is largely due to the efforts of Rod Beattie who was then (1997) the CWGC manager in Thailand. It was also at his suggestion that I began this quest in 2016.

A special level of thanks goes out to Jim Ascencio. He is a VFW colleague based in Taiwan as a professional Chinese language translator. He provided invaluable translations of the Chinese characters used by the Japanese in much of their formal writings. Without those translations, we would have a much more limited understanding of the Thai-anusorn and Wat Yuan Obelisks. He invites language inquires at jimas64@yahoo.com .

jimas64@yahoo.com

I also want to acknowledge the contributions of Michael (Mick) Newbatt, the current CWGC manager.

Also thanks to Richard Barton for his contribution to the information on HellFire Pass and to Marianne LeButt who pointed out the errors I had made in the E Battery story and forced me to re-visit that group and make corrections. Marianne has provided much detail to the story of the men who were sent to Japan, particularly the E Battery members.

Lastly, I suppose I owe a huge shout-out to the folks at GOOGLE for providing me with the ship that I can use to sail the ether to find trinkets of information and rearrange them into a larger jig-saw puzzle picture that is this website.

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National Archives Oddities: The US military Nat’l Archives is a database of all US WWII POWs. One oddity in their record keeping is that ALL of the US ARMY POWs who were moved to other sites after completion of the TBR are listed as having been liberated from TBR camps. It is well documented that many men were sent to Saigon, Japan or back to Singapore after the completion of the TBR, yet these sites are not always listed in the NARA. Many of those recorded as POWs have no camp associated with their liberation in the NARA records. The interviews noted above assisted greatly in placing some of those men in the correct work party and in some cases their final camp.

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There seems to be some controversy building (as of MAR 2021) about some of the photos available on the Australian War Museum site. This site has a disclaimer that all photos are in the public domain. I have borrowed liberally because the Aussie military was among the first to arrive in Thailand at the end of the war and they made extensive photo documentation of what they did, saw and found as they searched for Allied POW graves. Without those efforts, we would have lost a tremendous amount of documentation about the POW’s lives and condition.

Some of the this controversy comes from an effort to name the POWs seen in some of those photos; many of them in wretched condition. Seemingly, some families are objecting to that effort. I downloaded most of the AWM photos that I have posted in the fall of 2020; before those controversy arose. None have identifying information except perhaps as to location and timing. I am willing to delete any photo that someone feels is distressing to view.

I have re-edited the sections with potentially ‘distressing’ photographs to warn viewers of their presence and avoid ‘unexpected encounters’.

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