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The Untold Story of a Japanese POW Camp in North-east Thailand

The untold story of a Japanese Prisoner of War camp at Ubon in north-east Thailand where three thousand men constructed an airstrip .

The story begins when Thailand became a Japanese ally. After two years the secret Seri Thai resistance movement founded by a prominent Thai politician to oppose Japanese domination made contact with the British Special Operations Executive and American Office of Strategic Services. The SOE arrived in the Ubon area to train the Seri Thai in sabotage and intelligence gathering, but the Japanese surrender abruptly changed their plan. 

Extensive research in Ubon has revealed the camp’s daily life, its unorthodox liberation and the exceptional generosity of Ubon’s citizens towards the men, which is commemorated by a lasting memorial. The story describes disarming the Japanese, identifying war criminals and suppressing remaining resistance which sometimes ended tragically.

It is a story of the faith held by Prisoners of War, Seri Thai and people of Thailand that one day the Japanese will be finished.



  • I have just read Mr. Ray Withnall’s book about Ubon the Last Camp Before Freedom and, as the son of one of the Prisoners of War held there, wish to contact him to congratulate him on it. My Kindle rating for it was unhesitatingly five stars. (Mr RV by email)
  • It’s an incredible story, very well written and researched. I think it fills a gap in the history of POW camps and role the Thais played supporting the prisoners (KK)
  • A most wonderful book meticulously researched. A must have for anyone who had an ancestor at the Ubon POW camp in WWII. So much about FEPOWs is not known and this just adds to the knowledge, background and archive for those researching their family history. Ray includes a piece about my Grandfather in his book for which I am so grateful and appreciative of! A valuable resource indeed! (SG Amazon)
  • This is a fascinating book. Not only is it important in terms of content, it is a compelling read and extremely well-written. My congratulations to the author for the depth of his research and his ability to convey information in such a moving and enthralling manner. (Karen email)
  • Not only did I learn about the Japanese POWs roll in the construction of the airfield in Ubon, which is still in use there, I was interested to learn of the part played by the local resistance fighters who fought against the Japanese whilst Thailand was still an ally of the Japanese. What is even more encouraging is that the author has established links with the local community who helped with his research and they are keen to ensure that their history during this time is passed on as part of their children’s education. The book has been well researched and presented in an interesting and analytical way and also with respect to those who, as prisoners, were victims of such cruelty and deprivation. I look forward to learning more as the research progresses. (BJ Amazon review.)
  • I thoroughly enjoyed all of it (the book) but especially Part Four. I think this is because with knowing the area so well now and being there only eighteen years after the last Brit left Thailand, it was very easy to imagine myself back in time and witnessing those events. Well done Ray, on writing such a well researched and interesting book. I was really chuffed to see the ‘creopcrown’ website address ( in the acknowledgements. Thanks Ray. (JH Messenger)
  • My step-daughter gave me your book on Ubon for Father’s Day. There was only one problem with it – I couldn’t put it down! It taught me so much about an area of WW2 about which I know little. …. Thank you for writing such a well researched book, you clearly have great respect and love for Thailand and its people. (DT by personal letter.)