Lest we forget . . . .

John Dalkin

Solihull, United Kingdom

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“LEST WE FORGET”..Bridge on the River Kwai
The Bridge on the River Kwai, Thailand.
This is the Allied Prisoners of War Cemetery in the nearby town of Kanchanburi.
It was a very sad and moving visit, prior to actually walking across the actual Bridge
( which is nothing like the structure as depicted in the famous Hollywood movie)

Construction of the Thailand-Burma Railway began on September 16, 1942 at two existing railroad terminals, one in Thanbyuzayat in Burma and the other in Nong Pladuk, Thailand, about 25 miles west of Bangkok, in the Ratchburi province. As early as 1939, the Japanese had drawn up plans to build the railway, which was to provide a supply line capable of transporting 3,000 tons of supplies per day to support their frontline troops in Burma. At that time, Japanese engineers estimated that the 257-mile line would take five years to build because of the harsh conditions and treacherous terrain. Much of the railway, particularly the roughly 175 miles of track that ran through Thailand, required high bridges (more than 600 along the entire line) and deep mountain cuttings. The railway was completed in just 16 months when the two separate lines joined 23 miles south of the Three Pagoda’s Pass. But the cost was incredibly high.

Though records are sketchy, approximately 61,000 Allied prisoners of war are believed to have labored on the railway, including 30,000 British, 18,000 Dutch, 13,000 Australian, and 700 American soldiers. An estimated 16,000 of those troops died, many of them from diseases like cholera, beri beri, malaria, and typhoid, most during an intensified period of construction known as “speedo” that commenced in January 1943. Another 200,000 Asian laborers, mostly Thai, were forced to work on the railway. More than 80,000 lost their lives.

Camera used: Canon EOS 20D

Artwork Comments

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desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait

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