Peace and after
In posts of JEATH museum, Death Railway, Hellfire Pass and Bridge on the river Kwai you can read about the history and horror of the Thai – Burma Railway. What happened after all? After completing the railway the POW’s were either kept in Thailand or sent to Singapore.
After the war the surviving POW’s were repatriated and with the help of proper medical treatment and food most recovered fast. Many of them never fully recovered mentally. They carried the scars of what had happened the rest of their lives.
The POW’s that didn’t survive the construction on the railway got reburied on the cemeteries of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in Thanbyuzayat cemetery, Kanchanaburi cemetery and Chung Kai cemetery. The American fallen were sent back to the U.S.
Thousands are buried at the Kanchanaburi cemetery in rows with a cross in the middle of the field and a memorial wall with the text ‘Their name liveth forever more’. At the left end corner of the entrance is another small building with the names of many POW’s who died and had perished in captivity. Their ashes are buried in two graves. At one side of the cemetery is a Catholic Church for the families of the fallen as many were Catholic. At another side of the cemetery is the Death Railway Museum and research center.
There are signs mentioning that the land of the cemetery is given by the Thai people and all cemeteries are well maintained. The grass gets water almost daily. There are plenty of visitors every day. Twice a year there are ceremonies, on what the British call Poppies Day and the Aussies call ANZAC Day. The days that their respective fallen soldiers in all wars are remembered. Flowers will be placed and speeches given.
The Chung Kai war cemetery is just on the outskirts of town. Many of the fallen lay to rest there, but it gets less visitors as it’s a bit out of town. The designs, memorials, etc are the same as at the war cemetery in town. The one in town is easy to find. Just the same road coming from the Bridge on the river Kwai passing the hotels, restaurant and bars and make a curve to the right at the end. Soon you’ll see the war cemetery at your left hand side.
For Chung Kai war cemetery you keep going straight and turn right after the temple. Follow the road over the bridge and at the end turn right. Keep follow the road for some kilometers and you will reach the cemetery at your left hand side. In Total it will be around 6 km. You can rent a scooter or bicycle in town to get there.