Copryright © Colin Glendenning 2004
War Cemetery is approximately 5 kilometres west of Kanchanaburi
War Cemetery. It can be reached by road over the narrow Sudjai Bridge,
by ferry crossing at the junction of the two rivers, or by any of
the many river boats running up and down the rivers. The war cemetery
can be located on city maps available at the tourist office.
notorious Burma-Siam railway, built by Commonwealth, Dutch and American
prisoners of war, was a Japanese project driven by the need for
improved communications to support the large Japanese army in Burma.
During its construction, approximately 13,000 prisoners of war died
and were buried along the railway. An estimated 80,000 to 100,000
civilians also died in the course of the project, chiefly forced
labour brought from Malaya and the Dutch East Indies or conscripted
in Siam (Thailand) and Burma (Myanmar). Two labour forces, one based
in Siam and the other in Burma, worked from opposite ends of the
line towards the centre. The Japanese aimed at completing the railway
in 14 months and work began in October 1942. The line, 424 kilometres
long, was completed by December 1943. The graves of those who died
during the construction and maintenance of the Burma-Siam railway
(except for the Americans, whose remains were repatriated) were
transferred from camp burial grounds and isolated sites along the
railway into three cemeteries at Chungkai and Kanchanaburi in Thailand
and Thanbyuzayat in Myanmar. Chungkai was one of the base camps
on the railway and contained a hospital and church built by Allied
prisoners of war. The war cemetery is the original burial ground
started by the prisoners themselves, and the burials are mostly
of men who died at the hospital. There are now 1,427 Commonwealth
and 314 Dutch burials of the Second World War in this cemetery.
The cemetery was designed by Colin St Clair Oakes..
War Graves Commission]