In Memoriam      Lance Corporal  Peter (FRANCIS CHARLES) CAUSEBROOK                                        Home

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Arthur Ernest Abbott William John Berrill Peter (F.C.) Causebrook Harold Cheaseman
Gordon Roy Coe Jack Dunkley Gordon George Elderton Peter Gifford Felce

Frederick Furr

Harold Philip Gardiner

Anthony Robert Gillitt

Ronald Douglas Hales

Norman Leonard Hornsey

Robert Howard

Edwin Hudson John Arthur Paul Loake
Richard Saxby Mutimer Raymond Reginald Norman Raymond George Osborne Brian Terence Peck
Colin Roderick Penness Douglas Arthur Prigmore John Harry Sharp Norman Perkins Sharpe
Robert Troath Died after Korean War: Raymond-Kimber Leslie Walters

 

The information available about Peter Causebrook is limited to that available from:

i)   The letters, his parents sent to the school

ii)   The description in the Schools 'In Memoriam' book,

FRANCIS CHARLES CAUSEBROOK (Peter), born 20.10.1919, entered the School in September 1931.  He played for the 1st Rugby XV.  In July 1933, he obtained the Oxford School Certificate.  He left in March 1934 and joined the Staff of the Rushden Urban District Council and became assistant Sanitary Inspector. 

At the outbreak of War he joined the R.A.M.C.  In 1941, he was taken prisoner by the Japanese.  He died sometime in 1943 in a Prison Camp on the Border of Siam. 

He was the son of Mr.  and Mrs.  F.  Causebrook, 2 Gordon Street, Rushden. 

And,

Photo on left:   Rushden War Memorial

Photo on the right:  RAMC Cap Badge

iii)   The Information given by the Commonwealth War

       Graves Commission (below)

iv)   Not until 2020 will we be able to study his war

       record.

...... see below

When this information is combined with that provided by ex POW’s and  the information publicly available on the web, then a fairly detailed account can be given of what he actually experienced as a Prisoner of War in Malaya and Thailand (Siam). 

 The key information is:

i)     the date Peter died (31st August 1943),

ii)    the place where he is buried (Thanbyuzat)

and the statement that

iii)    he died in a prison camp on the borders of Siam  

The railway line was completed at Nieke, near Three Pagoda Pass in 17 October 1943 – just two weeks after Peter Causebrook died.  With the fact that Peter is buried in Thanbyuzat (In the War Cemetery at Thanbyuzayat in Burma lie those from the northern half of the line. ) this  means that Peter died between Moulmein and Nieke.  Since his parents were clearly informed that he died in a prison camp on the borders of Siam – This probably means he died at one of the two camps at Songkuri.

Though there was excessive brutality and cruelty by the Japanese, a POW commented that the POWs were mostly killed by cholera, dysentery and malaria.  Of the 7,000 men of ‘F’ force (Japanese description of the POWs)  approximately 4,000 died, the remainder were withdrawn back to Singapore. http://www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/stories/09/a5695509.shtml

 

RAMC Malaya Command   Transport of Prisoners to Siam  The Burma-Siam Railway    An Individual POW’s experience of the camps, Japanese punishment   Thanbyuzayat War Cemetery    rials of Japanese War Criminals

 

Transport to Siam     Source 1:  http://www.pows-of-japan.net/articles/85.html

Source 2:  Captain Roy Mills, 1994, "Doctor's Diary and Memoirs" ISBN0 646 19473 9

 

"F" Force a party of 7,000 POWs comprising 3,400 British and 3,600 Australians was sent by the Japanese to Thailand in April 1943.  The prisoners were told they were being sent to a place where the climate would be better and food more plentiful.

 

This Force, endured a 4 night/5 day train trip from Singapore to a location called Banpong in Siam.  On this train trip about 30 men were crammed into steel railway trucks about 18 feet by 7 feet.  The only ventilation was a sliding door in one side.  Meals (usually about a cup of rice, supplemented with a small amount of meat or seaweed) and toilet stops were spasmodic.  The force moved to Thailand in train loads of about 650 men at a time.  The Australians were first, followed by the British.

 

On arrival they were forced to march north about 270 kilometres, mainly on jungle tracks, towards the Burma border.  The march was at night, as the daytime temperatures were around 45 degrees Celsius and the monsoon rains were just starting.  By day they tried to find some shade and sleep.  However, for the Medical personnel there was little rest, as they attended to the sick, sore and lame.  The march lasted about 18 nights.”

  

The Burma Siam Railway

The notorious Burma-Siam railway, built by Commonwealth, Dutch and American prisoners of war, was a Japanese project driven by the need for improved communications to support the large Japanese army in Burma. During its construction, approximately 13,000 prisoners of war died and were buried along the railway. An estimated 80,000 to 100,000 civilians also died in the course of the project, chiefly forced labour brought from Malaya and the Dutch East Indies, or conscripted in Siam (Thailand) and Burma (Myanmar).

 

Two labour forces, one based in Siam and the other in Burma worked from opposite ends of the line towards the centre. The Japanese aimed at completing the railway in 14 months and work began in October 1942. The line, 424 kilometres long, was completed by December 1943. The graves of those who died during the construction and maintenance of the Burma-Siam railway (except for the Americans, whose remains were repatriated) were transferred from camp burial grounds and isolated sites along the railway into three cemeteries at Chungkai and Kanchanaburi in Thailand and Thanbyuzayat in Myanmar.

 

 Thanbyuzayat became a prisoner of war administration headquarters and base camp in September 1942 and in January 1943 a base hospital was organised for the sick. The camp was close to a railway marshalling yard and workshops, and heavy casualties were sustained among the prisoners during Allied bombing raids in March and June 1943. The camp was then evacuated and the prisoners, including the sick, were marched to camps further along the line where camp hospitals were set up. For some time, however, Thanbyuzayat continued to be used as a reception centre for the groups of prisoners arriving at frequent intervals to reinforce the parties working on the line up to the Burma-Siam border. Thanbyuzayat War Cemetery was created by the Army Graves Service who transferred to it all graves along the northern section of the railway, between Moulmein and Nieke. There are now 3,149 Commonwealth and 621 Dutch burials of the Second World war in the cemetery.

 

Source below:  http://www.cofepow.org.uk/pages/asia_thailand1.html

The Japanese aimed at completing the railway in 14 months, or at least by the end of l943. They utilised a labour force composed of prisoners of war taken in the campaigns in South-East Asia and the Pacific, and coolies brought from Malaya and the Dutch East Indies or conscripted in Siam and Burma. From June 1942 onwards large groups of prisoners were transferred periodically to Thailand and Burma from Java, Sumatra and Borneo. Two forces, one based in Thailand and one in Burma, worked from opposite ends' of the line towards the centre.

When the first of the prisoners arrived their initial task was the construction of camps at Kanchanaburi and Ban Pong in Thailand and Thanbyuzayat in Burma. Accommodation for the Japanese guards had to be built first, and at all the staging camps built subsequently along the railway this rule applied. The cook-house and huts for the working parties came next and accommodation for the sick last of all. Frequently men were sent to work on the line long before their accommodation was completed.

 Railway Construction Camp - Kanya, Thailand

Throughout the building of the railway, food supplies were irregular and totally inadequate. Brought up by barge on the Kwai Noi river, or by lorry on a road which was merely a converted jungle track, a consistent service could not be maintained by either method, and rations were nearly always below even the Japanese official scales. Vegetables and other perishables long in transit arrived rotten. The rice was of poor quality, frequently maggoty or in other ways contaminated, and fish, meat, oil, salt and sugar were on a minimum scale.

 

Although it was often possible to supplement this diet by purchases from the local civilian population, men sometimes had to live for weeks on little more than a small daily ration of rice flavoured with salt. Red Cross parcels helped, but these were invariably held up by the Japanese. Malaria, dysentery and pellagra (a vitamin deficiency disease) attacked the prisoners, and the number of sick in the camps was always high. 

 

The Japanese demanded from each camp a certain percentage of its strength for working parties, irrespective of the number of sick, and to make up the required quota the Japanese camp commandants insisted on men totally unfit for work being driven out and sometimes carried out. Those who stayed behind were accommodated in camp "hospitals" which were simply one or more crude jungle huts.

 

At main camps such as Chungkai, Tamarkan, Non Pladuk and Thanbyuzayat were "base Hospitals" which were also huts of bamboo and thatch, staffed by such medical officers and orderlies as were allowed by the Japanese to care for the sick prisoners. To these base hospitals desperately sick men - the weak supported by the less weak, since no fit men were allowed to accompany them - were evacuated from the camp hospitals, travelling by the haphazard means of hitch-hiking on a passing lorry or river barge.

 

At both camp and base hospitals, for the greater part of the time, the doctors had only such drugs and equipment as they had been able to carry with them. Neither drugs or surgical instruments were supplied by the Japanese, and although later on certain medical supplies were made available they were always inadequate. A great deal of equipment was improvised by the medical officers and orderlies, and food and medicines were clandestinely obtained. Only the devotion skill and enterprise of the prisoner of war medical staffs saved the lives of thousands and gradually evolved an organisation which could control disease and mortality.

 

Work on the railway started at Thanbyuzayat on 1st October 1942 and somewhat later at Ban Pong. The two parties met at Nieke in November 1943, and the line - 263 miles long - was completed by December. Thereafter work on the railway consisted of maintenance, and repairs to damage caused by Allied bombing. Repeated reconnaissance flights over the Burma end of the railway started early in 1943, followed by bombings at intervals. These became more and more frequent when, towards the end of October 1943, trains full of Japanese troops and supplies began to go through from Thailand to Burma. The Japanese would not allow the prisoners to construct a symbol (a white triangle on a blue base) indicating the presence of a prisoner of war camp, and these raids added their quota to the deaths on the line. Most of the camps were right alongside the railway track and some were near bridges and other vulnerable points. The only cover for the prisoners was that afforded by the flimsy bamboo and thatch huts, where they were made to shelter while the raids were in progress, and the inevitable casualties were heavy. In one raid alone on the Non Pladuk area, where the camp was located amongst sidings holding petrol, ammunition and store trains protected by an anti-aircraft post, and prisoners were not allowed to leave the huts.
95 were killed and 300 wounded.

 

Thanbyuzayat War Cemetery

The Thanbyuzayat War Cemetery was created by the Army Graves Service for the graves originally located in camp burial grounds and isolated sites along the railway track between Moulmein and Nieke, which is just over the border in Thailand. There are some 3,800 burials, and each grave is marked by a bronze plaque mounted on a concrete pedestal.

 

An Individual POWs experience of the camps and Japanese punishments

http://women.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/women/the_way_we_live/article3476414.ece      

From The Times March 4, 2008

Waterboarding: the most horrific experience of my life

My personal experience of systematic organised and deliberate torture dates from August 1943. In that year I was in a small PoW camp in Kanchanaburi, Siam, [now Thailand] known as the Sakamoto Butai. This was the PoW camp supporting the main Japanese Army mechanical workshops, responsible for maintaining the machinery used on the construction of the infamous Burma-Siam Railway. The Japanese troops working there were almost all technical personnel, and were mostly reasonable and fairly civilised men. The POW camp consisted of about 200 men, mostly British and mostly captured in Singapore the previous year. We also were supposed to be technicians of various kinds. The main problem in being a PoW is usually not the physical problem of food, or even of basic survival. The problem is one of non information.  No one receives any reliable information about the outside world. This is a very serious matter psychologically.

The only way to get over this difficulty in a POW camp is to acquire and to operate suitable radio sets. In a POW camp this means making them, which for obvious reasons is a matter of great difficulty and great danger.  The relatively stable day-to-day routine in the workshop camp and the technical background were helpful for making small and totally illicit radio sets.  The technical genius who conjured up the working radio receiver at Kanchanaburi from basic materials such as silver paper was a sergeant major in the Royal Army Ordnance Corps; one Lance Thew, formerly the proprietor of a civilian radio shop in Sunderland.  Our radio receiver worked nicely, under secure conditions for many months.  The end came one day in August 1943, however, when several PoW camps on the Burma-Siam Railway were raided by the Japanese Military Police simultaneously. What gave rise to this widespread search is not known, even to this day.

Drawing above from  Jack Walker: Burma Railway - The Original War Drawings of Japanese POW  £18.99- ISBN 978 0 9557127 0 8

 

On August 29, 1943, without warning, a small group of Japanese soldiers, who were never precisely identified, arrived in the camp and started a search of the PoW living huts. It was not long before the Japanese discovered one complete, usable radio set and some incomplete ones. A terrible commotion broke out. Retribution descended first on Thew, then on an heroic sergeant named Fred Smith, then on a group of officers, including myself. As an officer in the Royal Signals I tended to attract attention in difficulties like this. The Japanese regarded Royal Signals personnel with great respect, quite rightly. But they also deemed us not only as highly suspicious, but probably also as responsible for every communication problem in the PoW camps throughout South East Asia.   Thew and Smith were badly ill-treated immediately.

 

A little later, on September 29, 1943, the group of six officers were removed from the workshop camp to another one in Kanchanaburi where, eventually, we were each individually beaten for some hours until unconsciousness took over. I emerged from the fray with two broken arms.

After several days nominal recovery the six of us were swept into the local HQ of the Kempeitai where the official interrogators and torturers now took over. Once again the Royal Signals got special attention. To begin with I was placed in front of a group of three Japanese; two were NCOs and were quite awful, even in appearance; the third was a young man of my own age, who introduced himself as the interpreter. The interrogation lasted for some days, on and on and on. The Kempeitai men wanted to know everything about the PoWs in the Sakamoto Butai, including the full story of the making of the radios, the sources of material, the circulation of the news and of various related sins. Men being interrogated in those circumstances are in a very difficult position. One has only a fraction of a second to think up answers to questions and the protection of one's life and the lives of others must be paramount. Eventually, after several days, we reached the point where the Kempeitai clearly felt they were not getting anywhere. They announced that they were going to take '”further steps”.

 

This is the beginning of the classic torture situation. The interrogators, unable to learn what they want by conventional question and answer, decide that they have to resort to conventional torture.

 

One morning I was led out to the back of the Kempeitai building, where the simple apparatus for the historic water torture was laid out. From its availability I wondered if they used it quite often. I was laid on my back on a bench; my arms, still broken and almost useless, were placed across my chest, my face was covered by a cloth and a tap feeding a hose-pipe was turned on. It was all so simple. To encourage me to say something the senior Japanese man beat me from time to time with the branch of a tree. This did not do my arms any good at all. The interpreter, who did not seem sympathetic to the whole procedure, held my left hand. I suspected that he wanted to make sure that I remained alive.

 

The whole operation was a long and agonising sequence of near-drowning, choking, vomiting and muscular struggling with the water flowing with ever-changing force. To put it mildly, it was ghastly, quite the worst experience of my life. There were occasional intervals for interrogation. How long the torture lasted, I do not know. It covered a period of some days, with periods of unconsciousness and semi-consciousness. Eventually I was dumped in my cell, which was so small it offered little scope for movement. At about this time two of my colleagues were beaten to death. Their bodies were dumped in a latrine where they may well remain to this day.

 

The remaining two years, until the war came to an end in August 1945 were a long sequence of further ill-treatment, near starvation and continuous fear, night and day, first in Bangkok then in Singapore. During this period another of my colleagues, Major Harry Knight, a splendid Australian, died of ill-treatment and neglect.

 

At the end of the war, I made a formal complaint to the War Crimes organisation in South East Asia about the beatings that killed my two colleagues and badly damaged the rest of us. Captain Matsuo Komai, of the Imperial Japanese Army, was convicted of responsibility for this and was hanged in Singapore. I did not make a complaint about the interpreter, who presided over the water torture, but I never forgot him.

 

The physical damage suffered by victims of torture can usually be repaired. But the psychological damage can never be repaired. It accompanies victims of torture throughout the rest of their lives. It certainly accompanied me for a long time until the appearance of a news item in The Daily Telegraph in 1986 intimating the establishment of a new organisation, the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture. The distinguished director, Helen Bamber, and her staff helped me enormously. Then came a review of a book by a fellow former PoW, Jim Bradley, in the Telegraph in 1991. By following up the review I was able to identify the interpreter present throughout the water torture in 1943. His name was Nagase Takashi. With my support, my wife wrote to him and we received expressions of deep remorse. This led to our visiting Thailand and Japan in 1993 where we met. I had started the search for Nagase with murder in mind. In the end I gave him a formal written statement of forgiveness, in Tokyo, towards the end of our visit.

 

The repercussions of August and September 1943 are still with us today. In July 2007, a deputation from north Japan made the journey to Berwick-upon-Tweed to visit my wife Patti and me. It was led by Osamu Komai, son of Captain Komai who was responsible for the dreadful beatings which killed two of my colleagues and which left me very badly damaged. Although aware of my responsibility for the execution of his father, Osamu Komai wished to come in person to apologise formally for the beatings. Then on New Year's Day, this year, Nagase Takashi and I had a telephone conversation. Ideally, Mr Nagase and I would like to meet again but age and health are now problems.

 

In case anyone is still in doubt whether the water torture is, or is not, torture I shall refer to a Japanese Army document, which is authoritative. I have an extract from the Japanese Secret War Service Guide, headed '”Fundamental Rules for Interrogating War Prisoners”. This was probably issued in the Kwantung Army in Manchuria in 1938. In the list of “official” tortures item No 3 reads: “Putting the person interrogated on his back (it is advisable to raise the feet a little) and dripping water into the nose and mouth simultaneously.” A later section draws attention to the importance of minimising the disturbance caused by victims' screams.

The Railway Man by Eric Lomax, published by Vintage, is available for £7.99, and from Times BooksFirst for £7.59, free p&p. 0870 1608080; timesonline.co.uk/booksfirst

 

Index of British trials of Japanese War Criminals relating to POWS in Siam

Copyright 2005 U.C. Berkeley War Crimes Studies Center 

Case #

Name of Case

Accused

Victims

Crime scene

Summary of Charge(s)

234/917

Shimojo

1 Japanese (I.J.A.)

British POWs

Kanburi Aerodrome Camp, Siam

Ill-treatment of British POWs causing physical suffering, in particular to POW Capt. Taylor

234/925

Sakano

1 Japanese (I.J.A.)

British POWs

Chungkai POW Camp, Siam

Ill-treatment of British POWs causing physical suffering (in particular Demery, Moore and Baldwin)

234/897

Komasawa

8 Japanese (I.J.A.)

British, Australian, Dutch POWs

Siam and Burma

Ill-treatment of POWs causing bodily suffering and injury to their health

234/911

Mizutani

1 Japanese (I.J.A.)

British, American, Australian and Dutch Prisoners of War, Burmese civilian and a British POW

Siam and Burma

1) Ill-treatment of POWs employed in construction of the Burma-Siam Railway resulting in death and physical suffering

2) Ill-treatment of a Burmese civilian causing physical suffering

3) Killing of a British POW

234/913

Kokubo

3 Japanese (I.J.A.)

British, Australian, American and Dutch Prisoners of War

Various POW camps in Siam

1) Ill-treatment of POWs resulting in death and physical suffering

2) Ill-treatment of British POW resulting in his death

3) & 4) Ill-treatment of POWs causing bodily suffering to them

234/916

Daimon

2 Japanese (I.J.A.)

British and Australian POWs

On route in Siam, and a POW camp in Siam

1) Ill-treatment of POWs resulting in death of some and physical suffering to others

2) Ill-treatment of POWs causing physical suffering

234/918

Usuki

10 Japanese (I.J.A.)

British, Australian and Allied PsOW

Various POW camps in Siam

1) Ill-treatment of POWs

2) & 3) Ill-treatment of POWs resulting in death and physical suffering

4)-8) Ill-treatment of POWs resulting in physical suffering

234/919

Okada

1 Japanese (I.J.A.)

British and Australian PsOW

Various POW camps in Siam

Ill-treatment of POWs resulting in physical suffering

235/943

Kudo

12 Japanese (I.J.A.)

Civilian inhabitants,

British and Dutch POWs

Burma and Siam

1) Ill-treatment of Civilian inhabitants causing physical suffering and death

2) Willful killing of civilian inhabitants.

3) Ill-treatment of POWs causing physical suffering.

235/963

Ishida

5 Japanese (I.J.A.)

British, Australian and Dutch POWs

Burma and Siam

8 charges involving ill-treatment of POWs on the Burma-Siam railway with regards to using them for military purposes, in bad conditions, exposure to aerial bombardment and the killing of certain POWs. 

235/964

Sugasawa

1 Japanese (I.J.A)

British, Australian and Dutch POWs, Indian POWs

Siam

1) Employment of POWs in work having connection with the operation of the War

2) Ill-treatment of Indian POWs

3) Ill-treatment of Brit, Aus. and Dutch POWs causing physical suffering

235/965

Osato & Ozawa

2 Japanese (I.J.A.)

British and Dutch POWs

Chungkai POW camp, Siam

Ill-treatment of POWs causing bodily suffering to many of them and in particular to one Captain BIGGS a British POW. 

235/1051

Shimada

5 Japanese (I.J.A.)

Civilian residents of Bangkok

Bangkok, Siam

5 charges involving ill-treatment of the civilian residents of Bangkok.

235/981

Watari

9 Japanese (I.J.A.)

British, Australian and Dutch POWs

Siam and Burma

Ill-treatment of POWs resulting in deaths and suffering

235/1109

Sasa

1 Japanese (I.J.A.)

British POWs

Siam

Killing of 4 named British POWs

 

 

RAMC Malaya Command

Sadly we do not yet know exactly where Peter Causebrook was serving since such information will only become generally available in 2020, unless  next of Kin request otherwise.

RAMC

 

HQMC 

Asiatic Hosp Blakang Mati

HQ Fortress

Military Hosp Tanglin

196, 197, 198 Field Ambulance

Auxiliary Depot Tanglin

No 1 Mal Gen Hosp

Hospital Ship Wuh Sueh

No 4 Mal Field Amb

No 17 Combined Gen Hosp

No 1 Mal CCS

No 5 CSS

Ind Med Services

Nos 15, 16, 38 Field Amb

No 1 Mal Field Amb

No 1 Special Amb Car Coy

No 32 Coy RAMC & Detachments

No 20 Combined Gen Hosp

(Inc ADMS Med Base & ADMS Fortress)

Nos 18, 27, 28, 40, 43 Field Amb

No 2 British Conv Depot

Nos 1, 2, 5, 13, 44 Field Hygiene Section

No 2 Adv Depot Med Stores

Army Dental Corps

No 6 Divisional Field Lab

IMD

(Battle Order on 8th December 1941 compiled in Changi POW Camp 1942 to 1945)

 

 

 

The Commonwealth Graves Commission

Name: 

CAUSEBROOK, FRANCIS CHARLES

Initials:

F C

Nationality:

United Kingdom

Rank:

Lance Corporal

Regiment/Service:

Royal Army Medical Corps

Unit Text:

16 Mobile Bath Unit

Age:

23

Date of Death:

31/08/1943

Service No:

7520270

Additional information:

Son of Frank and Lily May Causebrook, of Rushden, Northamptonshire.

Casualty Type:

Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference:

B1. B. 10.

Cemetery:

THANBYUZAYAT WAR CEMETERY