|Private Walter White
5952635, Beds. and Herts. Regiment, 5th Battalion.
Died 26th June 1943, aged 24. Son of Walter and Florence White, he married Sybil Blundell in December 1938.
The 5th Beds had various training and guard duties in England, including Litchfield and Atherstone Park, before leaving Liverpool on the SS Reina Del Pacifico on 27th October 1941. This went to Halifax, Nova Scotia, where they transferred to American liners, and went eastwards to Cape Town, then on to Bombay, where they stopped for two months.
About 1000 Beds and Herts Regt. men had sailed from Liverpool. They arrived in Singapore just a week before the surrender. About 60 died before the fall of Singapore, and 940 into captivity, where 326 died in Prisoner of War camps and working on the Burma Railway.
In January 1944 his wife wrote to the Red Cross to make enquiries, and they reported that they had been told he was still OK.
Kanchanaburi War Cemetery is only a short distance from the site of the former 'Kanburi', the prisoner of war base camp through which most of the prisoners passed on their way to other camps. It was created by the Army Graves Service who transferred to it all graves along the southern section of railway, from Bangkok to Nieke. There are now 5,084 Commonwealth casualties of the Second World War buried or commemorated in this cemetery.
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. 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. Commonwealth War Graves Commission
My grateful thanks to his family for providing the photos and some of the details here.