It was extremely salutary to travel on the train from in Thailand to the Bridge over the River Kwai. That was part of the railway laid by the POWs under the supervision of the Japanese in World War 2 that was called ‘The Railway of Death’
A railway connecting Thailand to China was considered by the British but considered too difficult and costly. It went through tropical swamps and mountainous terrain. The route was too hard.
But in the war the Japanese decided to undertake it using captured Allied troops and Asian slave labour. The plan was a 258 mile long railway connecting Thailand and Burma. In the course of building this the POWs were starved, beaten and worked to death. They succumbed to disease, dysentery and starvation, existing on boiled rice while being forced to carry out hard manual labour. Sixty nine were beaten to death by the Japanese guards and over sixteen thousand died. The Asian workforce were treated even worse and died in their tens of thousands – over 90% of them succumbed.
The workforce worked their way through jungles, swamps and rocky mountain equipped with basic tools and pick axes.
We visited a number of sites – the museum with its graphic paintings (produced by the POWS) and photographs was the most harrowing.
Below are the photos and paintings from the museum.