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The Colonel of Tamarkan: Philip Toosey and the Bridge on the River Kwai
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"At the outbreak of the Second World War Philip Toosey had a career with Barings Bank, a young family and a commission with the Territorial Army. It was at Dunkirk that his charisma and fortitude were first noted, and in 1941 he was given command of an artillery regiment. Sent to fight in the Far East he and his men soon found themselves embroiled in the battle for Singapore, and were taken prisoner after the island's fall in February 1942." "The Japanese, scornful of the Allied forces for surrendering, determined to make full use of the new workforce at their disposal. Toosey was sent to Thailand to command the 'bridge camp' at Tamarkan, where he was ordered to supervise the construction of two railway bridges over the river Khwae Mae Khlong. Starvation rations and harsh working conditions up-jungle meant that dysentary and cholera struck, and Tamarkan became a hospital camp. A quarter of the 60,000 prisoners working on the Thailand-Burma railway would perish, and it gained the nickname 'Death Railway'. Toosey, as camp commander, insisted on high standards of hygiene and discipline, giving his men back their self-respect and making himself a buffer for the cruel excesses of the guards." "It would be another three and a half years before he returned home. Even after the war he found he was unable to stop looking after the men to whom he had become an inspiration, and his services to the Far Eastern POWs continued until his death in 1975." "Written by Toosey's granddaughter, The Colonel of Tamarkan draws on both private archives and many original interviews with Second World War POWs from the Asian theatre to create a blend of biography and history."--BOOK JACKET.
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