from Somerset, Devon and Dorset
© Andrew Templer 2023
George Deveraux Templer was the son of George and Beatrice Templer. He was captured in Singapore and sent to the work on the infamous Burma railway. He died of dysentery Thailand and his remains were buried in Burma.
CWGC = GEORGE DEVEREAUX TEMPLER
Johore Volunteer Engineers
who died on Saturday, 21st August 1943. Age 25.
Additional Information: Son of George Walter and Beatrice Elizabeth Templer, of Bournemouth, Hampshire.
Cemetery: THANBYUZAYAT WAR CEMETERY, Myanmar
Panel Number: 66. C. 19.
Camp Kami Sonkrai, Thailand
The notorious Burma-
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-
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-
There are now 3,149 Commonwealth and 621 Dutch burials of the Second World war in the cemetery.
The village of Thanbyuzayat is 65 kilometres from Moulmein, and the war cemetery lies at the foot of the hills which separate the Union of Myanmar from Thailand. At present the only way in which the cemetery may be visited is by train. This is a long and uncomfortable journey and three days should be allocated. Only those in good health should attempt the journey. Prior permission is needed to travel to the cemetery, which is close to areas of unrest. Enquiries about the possibility of obtaining permission to visit the cemetery should be made to the nearest Union of Myanmar (Burmese) Embassy, or a Commonwealth Embassy in Yangon (Rangoon).
HOLY TRINITY CHURCH
THE JOHORE VOLUNTEER ENGINEERS (JVE) 258 (Vol. Force Record Office postwar CO820/67)
Principally European planters. The only one of Johore forces to fight in both Johore and Singapore. So named to avoid confusion with the existing "JVF" raised by the Sultan of Johore. JVE was organised from SSVF Volunteer HQ with training etc. But fell under Australian command. Re-
TEMPLER G.D. [George Devereaux] born 12.10.1918. To Malaya 1938. Assistant Planter, Rubber Estates of Malaya, Kota Tinggi, Johore. Sapper 920 JVE POW Singapore to Thailand with F Force 29.4.43. Died in captivity 21.8.43 Songkurai. Grave at Thanbyuzayat.
'F' Force suffered more than any other work force that left Singapore for Thailand/Burma in 1942/1943 and Songkurai various spellings] was just a total nightmare. You can read about this in Brian MacArthur's widely available book 'Surviving the Sword.'
G.D.Templer would have been in the Kota Tinggi section of the JVE. A planter called Alex Archer was in the section and wrote about his experiences in a little book called 'The Way it Was.'
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