Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Kanchanaburi War Cemetery - Thailand

February 2015 - Bangkok Thailand

In looking through my photos about World War II I realized that I had never done a detailed post on the River Kwai.
Our full day activities.

The Kanchanaburi War Cemetery (known locally as the Don-Rak War Cemetery) is the main prisoner of war (POW) cemetery for victims of Japanese imprisonment while building the Burma Railway. It is on the main road, Saeng Chuto Road, through the town of Kanchanaburi, Thailand, adjacent to an older Chinese cemetery.

 It was designed by Colin St Clair Oakes and is maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. There are 6,982 POWs buried there, mostly Australian, British, and Dutch. It contains the remains of prisoners buried beside the south section of the railway from Bangkok to Nieke, excepting those identified as Americans, whose remains were repatriated.

There are 1,896 Dutch war graves, the rest being from Britain and the Commonwealth. Two graves contain the ashes of 300 men who were cremated. The Kanchanaburi Memorial gives the names of 11 from India who are buried in Muslim cemeteries.

Nearby, across a side road, is the Thailand–Burma Railway Museum about the railway and the prisoners who built it.

The 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.


  1. Wow! Everyone remembers, even in Thailand!

  2. What a tragic waste of so many young lives.

  3. Very interesting and beautiful place. I have always wanted to visit this part of Thailand.

  4. It's hard to imagine so many lives lost / sacrificed to build a railway. Wow!

  5. That was a very sad part of the war and my heart goes out to those who died building the railway. It is good to see that the cemetery is so well looked after.

  6. War cemeteries should be a must-see on every travelers list. It seems the least we can do to honor those who sacrificed their lives so we have the freedoms to travel. Beautiful photos of a lovely final resting place.