About the Sumatra Railway

Between March 1943 andAugust 1945, nearly 5,000 Allied Prisoners of War and 100,000 Javanese slave labourers (romushas) were forced to construct a railway from the port town of Pakanbaroe, to Moeara on Sumatra. The construction was overseen by some of the same Japanese engineers responsible for the Thailand-Burma railway.

On 15 August 1945, the day that Japan surrendered, a ceremony took place to signal that the last nail had been hammered into the track.

For the first time this website brings together a nominal roll of all British former POWs who laboured on the Sumatra Railway.

An accompanying book, Prisoners on the Sumatra Railway: Narratives of History and Memory will be published by Bloomsbury in late 2017.

This research has been made possible through funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), Leeds Humanities Research Institute (LHRI) and the Wellcome Trust.

Image: Old Railway, Alex Drainville