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Ubon POW airfield and Loeng Nok Tha airfield


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Over the years of living in Ubon, I have been asked by various people about an airfield built by the British during the war. I thought they were talking about the Vietnam-USA war and the airfield 4 kms south of Loeng Nok Tha on the way to Mukdahan Road (212).

 

But apparently the airfield people were asking about is the POW built-airfield in WW2.

 

1 Loeng Nok Tha airfield. The main purpose of this airfield apparently was to prepare for a land invasion of Laos up to the 17th parallel. The construction was done in the 1960s and involved British army engineers with help from Australian and New Zealand soldiers. The Prime Minister of NZ at the time, Keith Holyoake, flew in to visit in 1964. After the airfield was completed, a road from Loeng Nok Tha to Nong Phok was also built.

 

https://op-crown.webs.com/thestoryofcrown.htm

 

The airfield is still in use, as I drove on to it last year to have a look. Only 200 metres off the main road. I think it is run by the Thai Air-force. There were several young cadets there and one small Cessna parked on the runway. 

 

This is the location of the Loeng Nok Tha airfield.

 

https://www.google.co.th/maps/@16.1548669,104.5869778,2306m/data=!3m1!1e3?hl=en

 

An Australian who worked on the airfield in 1966 has written a comprehensive Masters thesis on its history. Well worth reading.

 

https://espace.library.uq.edu.au/data/UQ_412783/S40773207_mphil_correctedthesis.pdf?Expires=1602746794&Key-Pair-Id=APKAJKNBJ4MJBJNC6NLQ&Signature=WjjZjfZT-U~Ca1uRvlw~5xWRxgx9fHvGxv1O~E7-QNpnDXm3E3xZ~LQrkW~NqRqLOkumtIRIAxjOv~IlAUtNbA8ITzNf57WxWfqDWwdDG6Ex4GdBL6~Xv5vA633XKhCd6H4bq2EpUvMJ6RVep4AI~QfB712JGqBN9bnZoAPKtZyWaSpUfDzPRRi~UMChRllUYUlFWcP~0Hw6LbdHB8hI4qGvPwNEoCDw0JihcMpLRZZpdJC7D33BlT~SDALdYSZ9I0or4kJyMWhJVHAsPLoPwM0V7mqe9BL-M7Eqwa84WozqCGPz2naoHK5pABvfSQZVGiZEpiaF5oaVIQgTDEMehg__

 

2 Ubon POW airfield. This airfield was built by POWs in 1944-45 on the same road 212, but only 9 kms north of Ubon, behind or near the large Honda car dealership. I cannot find it on Google earth, but maybe some readers of this forum know more about its exact location. Perhaps it is further up the road.

https://fepowhistory.com/ubon-airfield/

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16 minutes ago, Michael Hare said:

2 Ubon POW airfield. This airfield was built by POWs in 1944-45 on the same road 212, but only 9 kms north of Ubon, behind or near the large Honda car dealership. I cannot find it on Google earth, but maybe some readers of this forum know more about its exact location. Perhaps it is further up the road.

https://fepowhistory.com/ubon-airfield/

It is here on Google maps. https://goo.gl/maps/Vz8tKB1edE6Tzmei9

 

 

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Ray Withnall was a guest at one our meetings here in Ubon and gave a presentation about his research and history of the airfield.

He has put a lot of time and effort in researching all POW camps and their history here during WW2.

 

Edited by American Legion Post TH01
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1 hour ago, American Legion Post TH01 said:

Ray Withnall was a guest at one our meetings here in Ubon and gave a presentation about his research and history of the airfield.

He has put a lot of time and effort in researching all POW camps and their history here during WW2.

 

Thank you American Legion. What I find interesting is that in the 26 years I have lived in Ubon, no one has ever mentioned this air-strip. And it is nearly in the city. (Thought not when it was first built). Not surprising though, because some history is forgotten by the locals here. Yesterday, I showed the photos I had just taken to my young staff. Took a lot of explaining, especially when they didn't no anything about WW2!

 

My late wife, Nitayaporn Nasaree, didn't even mention this air-strip. She worked on the Ubon Airbase for nearly three years from 1971 to early 1974. First as a personnel clerk for the American Base exchange, PACEX and then as a personnel assistant. In her last year there, she was a secretary for Wagner High school, Adult Education Division at the Ubon RTAF Base.  She said it was the happiest time in her life.

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1 hour ago, Patriot said:

"Ubon: The Last Camp before Freedom" Ray Withall.

There are copies available at the Seven Seas restaurant in Warin - very interesting read.

Thank you Patriot. I will drive out and buy a couple of copies. An American friend said that his Thai wife's older sister was about two years old when the Japanese were in Ubon. The Regional HQ was here. The Japanese commander-in-chief was missing his young daughter back in Japan very much and so arrangements were made for the two year Thai girl to come and play at the HQ a few days a week. This arrangement went on for about a year. 

 

Another friend said that his Thai wife in Phana remembers the Japanese soldiers marching through her village on the way to surrender.

 

In addition to the looking after the Japanese soldiers, the allied forces also had to make arrangements to repatriate the comfort women!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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On 10/17/2020 at 2:05 PM, Patriot said:

"Ubon: The Last Camp before Freedom" Ray Withall.

There are copies available at the Seven Seas restaurant in Warin - very interesting read.

Beg pardon; Withnall!!

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