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.”
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.
The history of Kanchanaburi War Cemetery.
The sad history of the cemetery as explained below.
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.
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.
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