Friday, 29 October 2010

Introduction - Part 7.

Christmas day came and for lunch we had a large tin of tongue and biscuits, talking amongst ourselves as we sat under the bungalow said we would not forget this Christmas. A chicken walked around our feet pecking here and there, could have had it for our dinner if we had know how to kill it properly, then again perhaps not, with the cleaning out and plucking the features, after work we wanted to relax.

The constant air attacks slowed the loading, bullets in metal boxes were very heavy as well. At last we finished and when the transport was unloaded we were leaving. Shortly after the train was loaded it was bombed and destroyed along with the station and surrounding area, so we suspected there must have been spies everywhere.

Our next move was to Sungai Besi, an RAF station a few miles from Kuala Lumpur, hut accommodation in a rubber plantation completely hidden by the rubber trees. It was a fighter station and still had some Brester Buffalo fighter flying, so it was the same again.
We were told to rest, we were fairly safe, the fighters did fly over shooting into the trees, but saw nothing and no fires started. There was very little warning again before the fighters arrived, the aircraft were getting destroyed on the ground or as they took off to attack.

The cook house was hidden and we had good meals, was not bad there, just had to lay flat on the ground when the fighters came, no bombs were used as the Japanese wanted this airfield in working order.

Stretching our legs one day, Bill and I went for a walk in the plantation to see how big it was when we heard firing and dived flat. We waited a while, then got up and walked on. We’d walked a long way before we saw light at the side of the trees and coming out, we saw it was a cemetery with large headstone and figures, not for the ordinary people here, but amongst the gravestones was the smouldering remains of a Buffalo fighter, shot down I suppose as he tried to clear the airfield. Just odd bits of the aircraft were still alight, most of the metal had melted and only bits of the iron survived, so it was mostly ashes and must have burnt out in a minutes fully loaded with petrol. The pilots burnt body had shrunk in size and his tightly packed parachute was smouldering behind him. I got a stick and moved it away from the body in doing so it came apart like pages from a book. I was pleased to see in the unburnt white silk it was soaked in blood and the pilot was probably dead before he hit the ground.

Our rest came to a halt when we were told work tonight. At darkness we departed camp, six trucks and men, spares from the dockside we were told, Port Sweetenham. Our vehicle pulled up close to a bungalow, no more light than necessary we were told.

The Japs had tried a landing from the sea during the day but were beaten off, it was possible some were about and we did hear shots during the night.

Our bungalows were stacked from floor to ceiling with oblong four gallon petrol tins, get loaded and go, was the order. We worked a system where we did not bump into each other in the dark and finished before dawn.

Same again the next day, finished about the same time and our departure was a little quicker but the Japanese must have decided on a dawn attack. The shooting started and increased rapidly, as it was dark there was no aircraft, lucky there, and as we pulled away the bungalow was destroyed in a huge fiery explosion, no point leaving that for the Japanese.

1 comment:

  1. Frank,

    I am greatly enjoying your postings thus far. I look forward to reading the accounts of the camps in Hakodate and Ohashi.

    Thank you so very much for the experience you shared in person when I visited from the U.S. recently! Melinda Barnhardt Jud