Saturday, September 02, 2006

The Bridge over the River Kwai, Kanchanaburi - Thailand

The Bridge over the River KwaiInternationally famous, thanks the several motion pictures and books, the black iron bridge was brought from Java by the Japanese supervision by Allied prisoner-of-war labour as part of the Death Railway linking Thailand with Burma. Still in use today, the bridge was the target of frequent Allied bombing raids during World War II and was rebuild after war ended. The curved spans of the bridge are the original sections. A daily train is still following the historical route from Kanchanaburi to Nam Tok Railway Station

Historical background: 'Death Railway'- Kanchanaburi

Historical background 'Death Railway'In 1943 thousands of Allied Prisoners of War (PoW) and Asian labourers worked on the Death Railway under the imperial Japanese army in order to construct part of the 415 km long Burma-Thailand railway. Most of these men were Australians, Dutch and British and they had been working steadily southwards from Thanbyuzayat (Burma) to link with other PoW on the Thai side of the railway.

This railway was intended to move men and supplies to the Burmese front where the Japanese were fighting the British. Japanese army engineers selected the route which traversed deep valleys and hills. All the heavy work was done manually either by hand or by elephant as earth moving equipment was not available. The railway line originally ran within 50 meters of the Three Pagodas Pass which marks nowadays the border to Burma. However after the war the entire railway was removed and sold as it was deemed unsafe and politically undesirable. The prisoners lived in squalor with a near starvation diet. They were subjected to captor brutality and thus thousands perished. The men worked from dawn until after dark and often had to trudge many kilometres through the jungle to return to base camp where Allied doctors tended the injured and diseased by many died. After the war the dead were collectively reburied in the War Cemeteries and will remain forever witness to a brutal and tragic ordeal. [Source:]

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