1943: Six POWs, inscribed on a ouija board

Here lie the remains of 3529270 Pte T Jackson Manch Reg. CQMS C Anderson FMSVF, A S H Justice USS Houston. 33271– Pte Mar- … here the letters had been eaten away. At the bottom of the board there were several more words which it was not possible to decipher but still discernible were the words

Executed 1/11/43

The WW2 People’s War is an online archive of wartime memories contributed by members of the public and gathered by the BBC. The archive can be found at bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar.

This date’s execution — contributed to WW2 People’s War by Chris Comer of Stockport Libraries on behalf of Arthur Lane — concerns six Commonwealth POWs who were shot for attempting to escape at Thambazayat, a prison camp in Burma.

They’re remembered by a fellow-prisoner from their time at the Thailand prison camp Chungkai, where the prisoners pulled off a memorable caper with a ouija board and some of their guards.

Chungkai War Cemetery, on the site of camp’s POW burials. (From Australian War Memorial)

These executions did not reshape history. But this story of a few men under the shadow of a senseless death has the spark of humanity that animates these pages. Read it in its entirety here: part 1 | part 2.

On this day..