to perpetuate the memory and history of our dead

9.19 Ubon Airfield

One of the lesser known post-TBR camps was the one at Ubon in the northeastern area of Thailand. A few thousand POWs (mainly British) were transported there from the Nong Pladuk camp after the TBR was completed. Their task was to build an airfield.

Ray Withnall spent many years researching this camp and its inhabitants. They included 4 US POWs: FCM1c Melvin Mahlandt, CPL Thomas Whitehead, and PVTs Albert Smoke and Warren Voge. Withnall describes how Col. Toosey –who had been the commander at the Nong PLaduk camp for a short period — arrived post-war to assess his men. He knew that LTC Tharp was gathering the US personnel in Bangkok for quick repatriation. Toosey instructed that the four Americans accompany the sick on the train back to Bangkok. Almost immediately after their arrival them managed to jump on a Dakota transport for the flight to Calcutta.

Their story and that of the building of the airfield are told in Withnall’s book:

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