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Remembered Today:

Tamarkan POW Camp Performance of 'Journey's End'


Justinth
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My grandfather was a POW at Tamarkan on the Thai-Burma Railway. He would have been in the camp in July 1943 when:

'Journey’s End
On 27 July, “Fizzer” Pearson’s company mounted a production of R. C. Sherriff’s First World
War drama Journey’s End. Nussbaum was impressed with the relevance of its “message” for the POWs at
Tamarkan:

Tonight, they performed Journey’s End, a saddening play about a
young officer during World War I who arrives as a novice on the front in France.
Enthusiastically, he pioneers a new bond of equality between officers and
privates, and he dies in a mood of melancholy in the evening of that very first
day in the command bunker.
The audience is grateful and deeply touched, apparently identifying
with this soldier’s story.

To produce Journey’s End in this setting was an extraordinary gamble. It is a serious play about
soldiers obeying orders to defend the British lines against a major attack by German forces; the soldiers
know full well it will bring about their deaths. With its tragic ending, it was not the usual fare for recovering
POWs, who, it was thought, needed songs and laughter. Perhaps the rationale for its production was its
political importance more than its entertainment value.'

From Eldredge, Sears, "Chapter 5. "The Tamarkan Players Present ": Tamarkan Convalescent Camp" (2014). Book Chapters. Book 17.
http://digitalcommons.macalester.edu/thdabooks/17

I am sure that all members of this forum will be fully aware of the difficulties faced by the prisoners of the Japanese on the Thai-Burma Railway in 1942/3. How moving must it have been to witness this tale when you are living or have lived through (by this time Tarmakan was a hospital/convalescent camp) the horrors of the construction of the Thai-Burma Railway?

Justin

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