Pakan Baroe Death Railway


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Reply inge jensen
2:21 AM on January 21, 2017 
my father, Jan Willem van der Mey, survived the junyo maru disaster and "worked" on the pakan baru railroad. he recently passed away at the ripe age of 99. Never talked about his experiences, just once to my husband. never to his wife and/or kids.
So, for us this is a wonderful site, where we can get information and learn about the past. hope to visit sumatra coming september.
Reply Renee Novakovich
5:05 PM on January 2, 2017 
My father worked on this rail road as a POW. He was in the camps for 2 years but I have no information as to which one. I am dutch and my father was dutch-indonesian. He was born in Kutaradja, Sumatra. After the war he was released from the POW camp and he met and married my mother. When the independence revolution started in Indonesia he was transported to Rotterdam with my mother 7 months pregnant and my half brother Marc.
Reply JefferyFarrell
6:55 PM on July 11, 2016 
This is a new site we as a family have been working on and it has only just gone live. Its around 85% complete (hope to have it fully done soon) and although has some history, it deals more with the present and what is left of the railway today.

I will also be traveling there next month and plan on taking my drone and cameras to get some much better shots of the areas along the railway.

My sisters site will remain as it is a great source of history and she promises that she is going to update it sometime soon.

We are always interested in stories about the railway and any other info or pictures people may have.

So if you have time please take a look

The Farrells
Reply Wendy Woodford
6:39 PM on June 26, 2016 
My uncle Private Ronald Edward Allen Shields from the 2nd/18th Battalion AIF was a POW on this railway, however we do not know which camp he was kept at along the railway.

He returned to us, a bag of bones but ALIVE!
He never had children, so I payed to get his war records for our family history nook.
Reply James Walker
11:53 AM on February 18, 2016 
Hi Phyllis I am wondering if you are the author of The Sumatra Death Railway 70 years on? One of the sources of information that you quote is 'One Man and his War' by W R Smith. This is of interest to me as W R Smith is my late father in law. I have a copy of 'One Man and his War' which he gave to me before he passed away. I believe he may have deposited a copy with the IWM in London and wondered if this is where you obtained your information? I would love to hear from you as I am thinking of editing the copy with a view to getting it published.
Reply James Walker
11:07 AM on February 18, 2016 
Hi Anthony My late father in law Ray Smith was a POW with your father in Camps 2, 3 and 3A. He mentions him in his diaries along with his Irish friend called Paddy Davin. He also mentions their activities selling clothing to the natives in the jungle. The money raised was used to purchase a water buffalo for food to supplement their meagre diet. My late father in law was camp interpreter in these camps so had some interesting encounters. I am hoping to convert his diaries into a book with the intention of getting it published.
Reply Arold de Vries
7:51 AM on November 21, 2015 
Hi, my grandfather Arend Wind was a POW at Pakanbaru railway and was airlifted after the war to Singapore. he returned to his family end '45 and my mum still remembers saying: "Mum, there i a man at the door who says he is my father" . the family returned to Holland/Friesland and my grandfather returned to Indonesia for the politionele Akties. We never heard any stories about the war from him. But i remember him having bad dreams, when we stayed over as small children. The war never left his mind
Reply Ronald Reintjens
8:22 AM on August 5, 2015 
My grandfather, A.E Reintjens, was a POW and died in Pakanbaru on May 4th, 1945. He first was buried at the Camp 2 cemetary (JA 263) and later re-buried at Leuwigajah (Java). I am interested in learning anything I can about him. If anyone has any information, please share with me. Thanks in advance.
Reply Jeremy Mills
2:06 PM on December 22, 2014 
I have just finished reading a book my father (Derek Mills RAF 153 Maintenance Unit) wrote of his experiences of being taken prisoner in Java, being shipped to an island in the Mollaccas to build an airfield before going to Pakenbaru to build the railway. His book is full of hundreds a stories, one of which is a sad story of trying to sell a friend's wedding ring for food but was caught by a guard doing so and lost the ring but got no food (he was severely punished, which shows that your father had better luck in this risky business). He also refers to Lady Mountbatten and writes about her being greeted by a prisoner wearing no more than a g string (which fell down) and her taking it in her stride as this was quite normal.
Reply Jeremy Mills
1:55 PM on December 22, 2014 
Anthony Spero says...
Hi my late father David Spero RAF was a POW in Java then was shipped to Sumatra for the Pakanbaroe railway camp.My father was involved in camps1,2 and 3.In camp 3 he was famous with an Irish pal of his as they took the prisoners uniforms and jewellery and sold them to the villages.They used to buy and barter for food and pass them back to the camp.The commanding officer mentioned my father in despatches.This was a risky business and no one else was prepared to do it.It also kept my father focused on survival and extra food.I have after many years have obtained my father's writings of his time as a POW as in the 70s a friend of his was going to write a book on him and taped him for several hrs.This was in South Africa as he emigrated there soon after the war.On my recent trip back to Durban I managed to trace the wife who said the tapes were lostbut she had kept the writings of all the tapes thankfully.I now have them and it makes extraordinary reading.Sadly many pictures are missing especially one with Lady Mountbatten meeting a few POW after an air supply drop before liberation and my father was there to greet her and a few others.This was a news clip and I am trying to seek this,Please feel free to contact me.