Banno Hirateru and others

Between 1 April 1943 and 31 December 1943
25, 26, 27, 28, and 30 September and 1, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 22, and 23 October 1946
Case Summary

In April 1943, orders were issued by Japanese HQ Allied POWs in Malaya that a POW force, to be composed of 3600 Australians and 3400 British, was to be sent north from Changi.  Many of those selected were already unfit, having suffering or was suffering from diseases such asdysentery and beri-beri.

After a train journey to Bampong, Siam POWs were made to march 300km to their destination through difficult terrain.  The POWs were in fact brough to Siam to construct the Burma-Thailand Railway. Working conditions were bad with the POWs having to work for long hours, under unsanitary conditions and constant beatings by the Japanese.

As a result, more than 3000 of the original 7000 men died and 1000 men had to be left behind in Burma or Siam either as sick and incapable of surviving the journey or as medical and adminstrative personnel in charge of them. Those who returned were not sparred from disease either. It was said that upon return, there were only 125 men fit for light duty only. 

The accused, who were all staff of the various camps, were said to have played a role in the suffering and death of the said POWs.


For more information, see:

Trial records consist of several hundred pages of evidence that include, inter alia, servicemens' diaries, staff reports by POW officers and transcripts of the proceedings of the Australian War Crimes Commission. This case is a compelling read for anyone interested in the working and living conditions of the POWs involved in the construction of the Burma-Thailand Railway.