Kanchanaburi War Cemetery
As I entered the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery, my feet froze. I stood there staring at those small memorials of 6982 POWs of WW II. I looked at one, where some fresh flowers were arranged, I could comprehend the grief and pain of those family members who come looking for the graves of their relatives to pay tribute.
The Kanchanaburi War Cemetery, locally known as the Don-Rak War Cemetery, is the main Prisoner of War (POW) cemetery associated with victims of the Burma Railway.
The Burma-Siam railway, built by the Commonwealth, Dutch and American POWs, was a Japanese project to support the large Japanese army in Burma. During its construction, approx. 13,000 POWs died and were buried along the railway.
The graves were transferred from camp burial grounds and isolated places into three cemeteries. This war cemetery is one of them.
There are two more graves in the cemetery with names of 300 men inscribed on panels in the shelter pavilion. These men had died mostly from a Cholera epidemic in May-June 1943 at Nieke camp. They were cremated and their ashes now lie in these two graves. You can see flowers left on the graves by loved ones from all over the world. It evokes a whole lot of emotions for any visitor.
The graves in the cemetery belong to mostly Australian, British and 1896 Dutch. To right of entrance are British and to the left Dutch and Australians. Each one of them has a small plant or a tree to give it company. It was designed by Colin St Clair Oakes. Adjacent to an older Chinese cemetery, this is surrounded by beautiful gardens and is well maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
Although we spoke about graves, I do not think these are real graves, for, they are too close to each other and too small. I guess these are more of memorials.
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