The Guards

Many of the guards on the railway were Japanese colonial soldiers from Korea or Formosa. Harshly treated by the Japanese, they behaved with particular brutality toward the prisoners in their control. After the war, this man was sentenced to death and executed for his brutal treatment of prisoners.

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A Korean guard known to prisoners as “The Mad Mongrel”.

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The Boy Bastard and his cobbers. Japanese soldiers posing in front of a guardhouse on the Burma–Thailand Railway. Prisoners gave their guards inventive nicknames: “The Boy Bastard”, “The Boy Bastard’s Cobber”, “Fishface”, “Poxy Paws”, “Babe Ruth”, “Gold Tooth”, “Paddle Feet”, ‘The Snake”, “Modern Girl”, “The Spitting Gunso”, “The Boy Shoko”, “The Black Bomber”, “Maggot”, “Boofhead”, “Snake Eyes”, “Charlie Chaplin”, “Barrel Guts”, “Wire Whiskers”, “Tom Mix”, “Cookhouse”, “Foghorn”, “Woof Woof”. Nicknames remained one of the few ways prisoners could retaliate against men who controlled their lives.


Prisoners of the Japanese