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'P.O.W. Dysentery ward - Chungkai Base Hospital Camp', Thailand, 1943

Pen and ink with wash, signed bottom right 'J CHALKER', by Gunner Jack Bridger Chalker (1918-2014), Royal Artillery, 1943.

View of the interior of a hut with a number of emaciated prisoners of war, lying on beds or sitting on makeshift 'thunder boxes', or commodes. Chalker records that there were 200 men per hut at Chungkai Hospital Camp in Thailand, suffering from 'amoebic and bacilliary dysentery with famine oedema'.

Jack Chalker was moved to Chungkai, where a large hospital camp was being formed, when he became ill with dysentery. In 1943 it is estimated that there were around 2,000 seriously ill prisoners held at Chungkai. Before departing he dug up the length of bamboo that he used to protect his paintings when they were buried and hid it in a secret compartment of his haversack. Chalker later said that his memories of Chungkai were of the great beauty of the landscape mixed with the stench of illness and death, and the humour and inventiveness of his fellow prisoners.

NAM Accession Number

NAM. 2002-04-887-1


National Army Museum Copyright


National Army Museum, Study collection

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