Kanchanaburi War Cemetery – Thailand

Kanchanaburi,Kanchanaburi Thailand,Kanchanaburi Cemetery,Kanchanaburi War Cemetery,River Kwai,Bridge over the river Kwai

Kanchanaburi War Cemetery – Thailand.

The plaque at the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery in Thailand reads: “In honoured remembrance of the fortitude and sacrifice of that valiant company who perished while building the railway from Thailand to Burma during their long captivity. Those who have no known grave are commemorated by name at Rangoon, Singapore and Hong Kong and their comrades rest in the three war cemeteries of Kanchanburi, Chungkai and Thanbyuzayat.” I will make you a name and praise amongst all people of the earth when I turn back your captivity before your eyes, saith the Lord.”

Kanchanaburi,Kanchanaburi Thailand,Kanchanaburi Cemetery,Kanchanaburi War Cemetery,River Kwai,Bridge over the river Kwai
Entrance to the Cemetery.

After we crossed the Bridge over the river Kwai we had an opportunity to visit the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery. I always find that cemeteries, especially ones that reminds us of war, are so sad. A lot of people in my group were not interested to visit the cemetery. We were all in good spirits and they did not want to place a damper on their mood. It was not compulsory but I wanted to go.History fascinates me.I knew nothing about the cemetery or it´s history. The cemetery was so beautiful and quiet. Rows and rows of neatly lined graves were everywhere.

Kanchanaburi,Kanchanaburi Thailand,Kanchanaburi Cemetery,Kanchanaburi War Cemetery,River Kwai,Bridge over the river Kwai
Neatly lined graves

The history of Kanchanaburi War Cemetery.

The sad history of the cemetery as explained below.

Kanchanaburi,Kanchanaburi Thailand,Kanchanaburi Cemetery,Kanchanaburi War Cemetery,River Kwai,Bridge over the river Kwai
Telling the history.

This cemetery, the largest of three on the Burma-Siam Railway, is located near the site of the former “Kanburi” Prisoner of War Base Camp through which most prisoners passed on their way to other camps. The cemetery, designed by Colin St Clair Oakes, was created after the war by the Army Graves Service who transferred graves into it from camp burial grounds and solitary sites all along the southern half of the railway and from other sites in Thailand.

More than 5,000 Commonwealth and 1,800 Dutch casualties are commemorated in the cemetery, including some 300 men who died of sickness at Nieke and Changaraya and who were cremated.  Their ashes are buried in two graves in the cemetery and their names appear on panels in the Shelter building. The names of eleven soldiers of Indian army whose graves elsewhere in Thailand could not be maintained are commemorated by name on a table in the entrance building.

Kanchanaburi,Kanchanaburi Thailand,Kanchanaburi Cemetery,Kanchanaburi War Cemetery,River Kwai,Bridge over the river Kwai
Some soldiers died very young.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission is responsible for the maintenance of graves and memorials in some 150 countries which commemorated around 1,700,000 members of the Commonwealth forces who died in the two world wars.  Those commemorated here and elsewhere include servicemen and women of several faiths and of none.

Kanchanaburi,Kanchanaburi Thailand,Kanchanaburi Cemetery,Kanchanaburi War Cemetery,River Kwai,Bridge over the river Kwai
People maintaining the cemetery. It was one of the most beautiful cemeteries that I have ever seen.

It’s estimated that one person died for every railway tie that was laid.

I spent some time in the cemetery and eventually left with a tear in my eye. Knowing more about the history I paid a visit to the Death Railway Museum close to the cemetery.

Where to find The Kanchanaburi War Cemetery?

Address: Saengchuto Rd., across from train station, Kanchanaburi

I have been fortunate to have done quite a bit of travelling over the last 10 years. By heart I am an adventurer and I love exploring new places, cultures and food. Travelling can become stressful and expensive. Over the years I have learnt to travel as cost effective as possible, simply by travelling more clever. Nelmitravel.com is a Adventure and Budget Travel site where I review Airlines, Accommodation, Transport, Restaurants and give helpful travel information.

20 Comments

  1. War never leaves anything in its original form. It changes things and people and leaves scars.Acknowledging and respecting the past allows one to move forward.

  2. Wow! This is amazing! I have never heard of this, which of course doesn't surprise me because I never really paid much attention to history:(At any rate, the photos are spectacular, showing off every detail. The grooming and upkeep of the cemetery is impressive!

    1. Hi Mary so glad you liked it. Yes this was one of the best looking cemeteries that I have ever visited. They sure do put in an effort to maintain it and I suppose that adds to the peaceful atmosphere.

  3. For some reason, cemetery like this is very calming for me, one of those places that invokes deep introspection.

    1. Hi Claire yes I also found this cemetery very calming. But I have been to others that had the total opposite effect.

  4. Kanchanaburi is one piece of Thailand that I wanted to visit a few years ago but wasnt able to because I was left by the plane. But I ddnt know about this, thank you for sharing. Places like this really makes one cry.

    1. Hi Gael, it is a beautiful and extraordinary place to visit. There are normally a lot of tourists but I found this cemetery so peaceful and quiet. I hope you get an opportunity to travel there one day.

  5. I also visited here. It is beautiful and well maintained I spent some time reading the inscriptions on the gravestones. So many young men mourned by their families. I left in tears but glad I had visited.

  6. OMG! Nelieta, I really admire you in every way that you write about your travels… It's amazing to see how much of this cemetery alone you can describe and remember that I myself would not bother perhaps… Really appreciate you shared this with us and may I ask, how much of the world really you have been to? I'm reading a piece of Thailand now…. LOL xoxoxo

    1. Thank you so much for your lovely comment Jorie! I am so glad I kept a travel diary on my trips and when I read it now it brings back such wonderful memories. I also try to take photos that will trigger my memory. In answer to your question. I´ve been around but did not see the whole world. Would love to see so much more!!!

    1. Hi Khroppom, I am not sure if there are French soldiers buried there. My blog only mentions Dutch, American and Commonwealth soldiers. If I find information relating to French soldiers then I will post an update.

Thank you for visiting. Have a fabulous day!

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