Resources About the Lost Battalion
The Thailand-Burma Railway Centre (TBRC) is a museum and historical research institution dedicated to preserving the memory of Allied POWs and Asian laborers that worked and perished during the construction of the Railway. The Centre, located in Kanchanaburi (Thailand), maintains a comprehensive database of POWs that worked on the railway, with details on camp locations and the history of POWs during that period. TBRC accepts requests from families of POWs for research.
The Museum is entirely privately funded and relies upon revenue generated from both local and international visitors together with private donations. At the start of the pandemic, the Thai government immediately refused entry to international travelers. As a result, the Museum suffered a sudden massive reduction in its income. The monthly operating costs, during the lockdown, remain substantial despite all efforts to keep outgoings to a minimum.
For well over a year now, the Museum has stayed afloat by drawing upon its own financial reserves together with a small income generated from local visitors. Due to an increase in the numbers of COVID cases in Kanchanaburi during the last few months those visitor numbers have basically "dried up".
Currently, there is no sign that a significant number of international visitors will be allowed to return any time soon. The Museum has international bookings planned to go ahead as soon as the 'travel corridor' opens. In the meantime, the Museum needs to continue to support itself, financially, maybe for another year or more.
This Museum is unique and it represents the huge dedication, passion, and ongoing work of three men, Rod Beattie, Terry Manttan, and Andrew Snow. It is an international treasure and an invaluable resource to families of former POWs. As an institution, it continues to offer support, comfort, and information to so many people from all parts of the world. It has given a 'voice', on the ground, to those Far East Prisoners of War who were silenced for so long. We simply cannot let this Museum die because of a virus, please consider supporting the TBRC Museum and Research Centre during this challenging time.
There are currently two ways to contribute:
Sandra Norman, daughter of Arthur Cole (captured in Singapore) has established a GoFundMe page to accept (and transfer to TBRC) contributions. Donations are made in British Pounds, currently at an exchange rate of $1.40 US for each British Pound. So a contribution of $100 US would end up with a final charge of ~$140.00 US. Sandra is working with TBRC leadership to transfer funds on a timely basis. If you wish to contribute, you can reach Sandra’s GoFundMe page by clicking here.
Resources About the Lost Battalion
Memoirs and Accounts of the Lost Battalion and the USS Houston
Allen, Hollis. The Lost Battalion
Memoir of 1st Lieutenant Hollis G. Allen, one of the 28 commissioned officers of the 2nd Battalion, 131st Field Artillery. Jacksboro, TX. Leigh McGee, 1963.
Charles, H. Robert. Last Man Out: Surviving the Burma-Thailand Death Railway: A Memoir
Memoir recounting the unimaginable brutality of the camps and the inspiring courage of the men from U.S. Marine H. Robert Charles, a survivor of the USS Houston. An extraordinary account of the role of Dutch doctor Henri Hekking in aiding the survival of the Lost Battalion and USS Houston men in POW camps. Austin, TX. Eakin Press, 1988.
Crager, Kelly E. Hell Under the Rising Sun: Texan POWs and the Building of the Burma-Thailand Death Railway
Grueling yet inspiring account of building the Thai-Burma railway; includes interviews with Texan POWs. College Station, TX. Texas A&M University Press, 2008.
Daws, Gavan. Prisoners of the Japanese: POWs of World War II in the Pacific
Australian writer Gavan Daws with a superb body of research that covers the story of the Lost Battalion POW’s along with those of Bataan and Wake Island. New York, NY. William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1994.
Dunn, Benjamin. The Bamboo Express
A true account by a Lost Battalion soldier of HQ Battery who was imprisoned by the Japanese. Chicago, IL. Adams Press, 1979.
Fillmore, Clyde. Prisoner of War
A personal account from 1st Lieutenant Fillmore, Lost Battalion survivor, about his experiences in prison camps and building the “Death Railway”. Quanah, Wichita Falls TX. Nortex Offset Publications, Inc, 1973.
Fujita, Frank ‘Foo’; Falk, Stanley L., and Wear, Robert. Foo: A Japanese-American Prisoner of the Rising Sun
Fujita, Frank ‘Foo’; Falk, Stanley L., and Wear, Robert. Foo: A Japanese-American Prisoner of the Rising Sun. Denton, TX. University of North Texas Press, 1993. Denton, TX. University of North Texas Press, 1993.
Fung, Eddie. The Adventures of Eddie Fung: Chinatown Kid, Texas Cowboy, Prisoner of War
A second-generation Chinese American born and raised in San Francisco's Chinatown reinvents himself as a Texas cowboy before going overseas with the U.S. Army. Eddie was a member of the Lost Battalion’s F Battery. Seattle, WA. University of Washington Press, 2007.
Hornfischer, James D. Ship of Ghosts: The Story of the USS Houston, FDR’s Legendary Lost Cruiser, and the Epic Saga of Her Survival
Brings to life the terror of nighttime naval battles until their luck ran out during a daring action in Sunda Strait. Survivors of the battle ended up in prison camps with the men of the Lost Battalion. New York, NY. Bantam Books, 2006.
La Forte, Robert S. and Ronald E. Marcello. Building the Death Railway: The Ordeal of American POWs in Burma, 1942-1945
22 interviews with American survivors, beginning with their capture and ending with their liberation. Wilmington, DE. Scholarly Resources, Inc., 1993.
Monday, Travis. W.F. Matthews, Lost Battalion Survivor: The True Story of a God-and-Country American
Biography of PFC W. F. Matthews, member of the Lost Battalion’s E Battery. San Angelo, TX. Lulu Enterprises, 2004. Reference: https://www.worldcat.org/title/wf-matthews-lost-battalion-survivor/oclc/56883399
Nussbaum, Chaim. Chaplain on the River Kwai: Story of a Prisoner of War
Portrait of life among allied prisoners of war in Japanese camps, from his diary, his is the saga of a rabbi's struggle to provide hope and comfort to men of all faiths. New York, NY. Shapolsky Publishers, 1988.
Thompson, Kyle. 1,000 Cups of Rice: Surviving the Death Railway
Personal account of how the author, as a teenage soldier from rural Texas, became a member the "Lost Battalion" to build the Thai-Burma railway. Kyle Thompson was a member of Headquarters Battery. Burnet, TX. Eakin Press, 1994.
Beattie, Rod. The Thai-Burma Railway: The True Story of the Bridge on the River Kwai
Kanchanaburi, Thailand. Thai-Burma Railway Centre, 2015.
Robert Hardie. The Burma-Siam Railway. The Secret Diary of Dr. Roberr Hardie, 1942-1945
Robert Hardie was a British POW captured in Singapore in early 1942. Barnsley, UK. Pen and Sword Books, 1988.
Kreefft, Otto. Burma Railway: a visual recollection. Bangkok, Thailand
Sukhumvit Printing Co. Ltd. for the Burma-Thailand Railway (2008).
La Forte, Robert S, Ronald E. Marcello, and Richard L. Himmel, With Only the Will to Live: Accounts of Americans in Japanese Prison Camps 1941-1945
Accounts of 52 individuals from interviews with survivors of captivity covers every stage of their ordeal. Wilmington, DE. Scholarly Resources, Inc., 1994.
Lomax, Eric. The Railway Man: A POW's Searing Account of War, Brutality and Forgiveness
Memoir of a British soldier who bravely moved beyond bitterness drawing on an extraordinary will to extend forgiveness. Basis for the movie by the same name (The Railway Man) featuring Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman. New York, NY. W.W. Norton & Co, 1995.
Stewart, John. To the River Kwai: Two Journeys – 1943, 1979
Memoir from secret notes kept in 1943 during the building of the Thai-Burma Railway. London, Great Britain. Bloomsbury Publishing, Ltd., 1988.
Boulle, Pierre. The Bridge Over the River Kwai: A Novel (1954)
A fictional account of the Death Railway construction and basis for the popular 1957 movie directed by David Lean. Novato, CA. Presidio Press; Reprint edition, 2007.