Bridge on the River Kwai

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by woopert, Sep 24, 2003.

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  1. woopert

    woopert LE Moderator

    I've just watched the (rather good) documentary on Ch 5 about the construction of the railway along the River Kwai. It brought home the magnitude of the suffering and endurance of all those PoWs who worked on the railway. I was also not aware that over 90,000 Indians who were indentured labour, Burmese, and Tamils died during construction as they were forced to work on the railways alongside the British, Australian, Dutch, and Americans.

    In my own way I'd like to pay tribute to all of those who endured that hell on earth of all nationalities. May they rest in peace.
     
  2. you wouldn't happen to have vidoe'd it would you, as I would really have liked to watch it, except was stuck at work releasing a sodding web site...
     
  3. Walked across that bridge once with Mrs Mushroom. There were two Japanese students sitting laughing on on of the piers and I so wanted to push them into the river. And no I'm not a prejudiced battler from the NAAFI bar but an old and fairly sensible sort.

    Anyone going to Bangkok for a holiday should visit Kanchanaburi cemetry and take the river and train trip. A definate eye opener.
     
  4. Eric Lomax wrote the book The Railway Man about his experiences.
    The Film 'Bridge on the River Kwai' is one to watch out for too.

    Time heals all wounds but there is no cure for torture,'' said British ex-prisoner of war Eric Lomax, visiting World War II's infamous Bridge on the River Kwai with the Japanese interpreter who took part in his brutal interrogations.

    Lomax and the man who participated in his torture sessions, Takashi Nagase -the man whose face and voice has haunted him for half-a-century -are now friends with the common cause of promoting reconciliation among the veterans of both sides.

    http://www.korealink.co.kr/14_6/9807/t4651322.htm

    another useful link- http://www.war-experience.org/history/keyaspects/thai-burma/
     
  5. Walked over the bridge myself 15 years ago. The bridge there now is I believe, not the one built by the prisoners, though I could be wrong. It was pulled down and another built closer to the town.

    Also came across two jap teenagers in the cemetry larking about and taking posed shots of each other. Amazing, I know no Japanese and they knew no English but I made a point they understood!

    Visit Hellfire Pass and see the drill bits still stuck in the rocks and let youself fill up at what the POWs endured. And also feel a lot of pride.
     
  6. went to the bridge and Kanchanburi cemetary on adventure training from Brunei.very humbling. the original bridge was destroyed during an air raid. Kanchanburi is around an hour or 2 north of bangkok, we got a taxi straight from the airport up there.
    Eric Lomax is a better man than me for not knocking out the Jap who was present during his torture sesh!
     
  7. I’ve also done the trip up from Bangkok with the wife a few years ago. Best bet is the all day option that includes the train ride. It’s available from any of the hole in the wall travel agencies around the city or your hotel. As noted it’s a couple of hours by bus to Kanchanburi.

    When you arrive they include a tour of the railway museum and plenty of time to visit the main cemetery (there’s another smaller on the far side of the river) and wander around or stroll across the bride. The town is a bit touristy with all the assorted stalls etc, but the Thai Government keeps the cemetery grounds immaculate.

    You board the train there and cross over the bridge and head up through Hell Fire Pass towards the Burmese Border for a couple of hours. Then you get off and are taken to a decent hotel for late lunch a long boat ride and then return to Bangkok in the evening just in time to get caught in the rush hour traffic.

    The Bridge is the original one. It was originally a railway bridge in Indonesia, the Japanese dismantled and shipped to Thailand to be reconstructed there. It was damaged by the RAF but repaired after the war. The narrow gauge rail line and old railway cars are also the original WW2 ones, making the trip in them interesting to say the least.

    I found this one picture of the bridge I took on my PC at work. I have others at home including the cemetery and railway and will try and dig them up later.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Danjanou I would love to see more pictures of Kanchanaburi cemetery as my great uncle is buried there. He died of cholera and was one of those working on the railway. If you could find anymore please let me know. I've seen a couple of pictures on the CWG website but would love to see more. Thanks
     
  9. There is a guy called Ernest Gordon too who wrote the book "To end all wars" which is about his time in the camp, how they drew on their faith and he also has forgiveness.
     
  10. [quote="MadJack"]Walked over the bridge myself 15 years ago. The bridge there now is I believe, not the one built by the prisoners, though I could be wrong. It was pulled down and another built closer to the town.
    Also came across two jap teenagers in the cemetry larking about and taking posed shots of each other. Amazing, I know no Japanese and they knew no English but I made a point they understood!

    Visit Hellfire Pass and see the drill bits still stuck in the rocks and let youself fill up at what the POWs endured. And also feel a lot of pride.[/quote]

    Seriously not a WAH. I thought it was destroyed during the war or am I wrong?
     
  11. Seen the DVD Film of it, my missus broke down into tears during it, i too had sand in my eye, very very moving.
     
  12. No problem my friend I'll hunt around for them tonight. It's nott he first military cemetary I've been through and earlir in the week we'd paid our respects at the US/Filipino one in Makati in Manila.

    Both very moving places. The names, ages and capbadges were all too familar to me. I must have sand or dust inmy eye too as I walked back to the tour bus.
     
  13. Absolutely agree Mrs P and I went to Kanchanaburi and Chang Mai and took some photos of the graves of the soldiers for their widows back home. We did this on behalf of the RBL and it really puts into perspective the scale of loss of life to drive the railway through hellfire pass etc.

    Mushroom - should have pushed them in :roll:

    Rgds
    JPW
     
  14. As promised more pictures. I’ll try and locate the train shots later

    [​IMG]
    Kwai River Bridge from the town side

    [​IMG]
    Cemetary

    [​IMG]
    Cenotaph

    [​IMG]
    Memorial

    [​IMG]
    Cemetery Entrance

    [​IMG]
    Dutch Graves

    [​IMG]
    Commonwealth Graves
     
  15. Thanks so much for that Danjanou. Its great to see the cemetery looked after so well. Well I guess they all are - the ones we have visited at the Somme are really well tended too. Its a really nice thought that my great uncles grave is looked after that way. So proud of all the gardeners. Well done to them and long may it continue.