Postcards from Thailand #9: The World War II Cemetery in Kanchanaburi near Bridge over River Kwai

thai-deathrail-140412-0062.jpg: The World War II Cemetery in Kanchanaburi in Thailand
The World War II Cemetery in Kanchanaburi in Thailand

The Commonwealth Graves Commission has done a commendable job in honouring those who gave up their lives in World War II. They have set up and maintain cemeteries with graves of those who perished in the great war. Visiting any of these in no less than a moving experience.

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I visited the first such site at Kohima in Nagaland in India, and then in Kanchanaburi in Thailand. The latter is located on a plot of land donated by Thailand, and close to the famous bridge over the river Kwai. It is also not too far from the ‘Kanburi’ Prisoner of War camp where most prisoners passed on their way to other camps. They are all those who died during the construction of the Death Railway (Click here to read about it). The Army Graves Service transferred graves from camp burial sites and solitary sites along the southern half of the railway and other sites in Thailand. There are two other such cemeteries in Chungkai and Thanbyuzayat.
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More than 5,000 Commonwealth (British and Australian) and 1,800 Dutch casualties are commemorated at the cemetery as are some 300 men who were cremated after dying of sickness in Nieke and Changaraya. The ashes of the latter are buried in two graves in the cemetery and their names appear on panels in the shelter building. Another 11 Indian soldiers are honoured with their names inscribed on a tablet in the entrance building.

This site is one of the many maintained by the Commonwealth Graves Commission in about 150 countries. These are all dedicated to over 1,700,000 members of the Commonwealth forces who died in the two World Wars.

Also visit the ‘Thailand – Burma Railway Centre’ located across the cemetery. It is a well curated interactive museum about the Death Railway and the history of the same.

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thai-deathrail-140412-0043.jpg: The World War II Cemetery in Kanchanaburi in Thailand
The World War II Cemetery in Kanchanaburi in Thailand
thai-deathrail-140412-0045.jpg: The World War II Cemetery in Kanchanaburi in Thailand: Entrance
The World War II Cemetery in Kanchanaburi in Thailand: Entrance
thai-deathrail-140412-0046.jpg: The World War II Cemetery in Kanchanaburi in Thailand: A sign at the entrance
The World War II Cemetery in Kanchanaburi in Thailand: A sign at the entrance
thai-deathrail-140412-0047.jpg: The World War II Cemetery in Kanchanaburi in Thailand: A sign at the entrance
The World War II Cemetery in Kanchanaburi in Thailand: A sign at the entrance
thai-deathrail-140412-0048.jpg: The World War II Cemetery in Kanchanaburi in Thailand: Honouring Indian soldiers who died during the war
The World War II Cemetery in Kanchanaburi in Thailand: Honouring Indian soldiers who died during the war
thai-deathrail-140412-0051.jpg: The World War II Cemetery in Kanchanaburi in Thailand
The World War II Cemetery in Kanchanaburi in Thailand
thai-deathrail-140412-0056.jpg: The World War II Cemetery in Kanchanaburi in Thailand: The grave of a Dutch soldier
The World War II Cemetery in Kanchanaburi in Thailand: The grave of a Dutch soldier
thai-deathrail-140412-0061.jpg: The World War II Cemetery in Kanchanaburi in Thailand: The grave of an Australian soldier
The World War II Cemetery in Kanchanaburi in Thailand: The grave of an Australian soldier


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