Kanchanaburi War Cemetery

Kanchanaburi War Cemetery

Last week we visited the Chungkai War Cemetery in Kanchanaburi and I promised you this week we’d take a look at the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery.  To recap:

During the construction of the Burma-Siam railway it is estimated that nearly 100,000 civilians and 13,000 prisoners of war died and were buried along its course outside the work camps.  Later the remains of Allied prisoners were moved to three cemeteries, Kanchanaburi and Chungkai in Thailand, and Thanbyuszayat in Burma now known as Myanmar.

Kanchanaburi War Cemetery

Kanchanaburi War Cemetery is closely located to the former prisoner of war camp “Kanburi” which was a base camp for POW’s.  It was created not during the building of the Death Railway as was the Chungkai War Cemetery, but after the fact by the Army Graves Services of the Commonwealth.  Remains recovered along the course of the Death Railway from Bangkok to Nieke were transferred to this cemetery.

Kanchanaburi War Cemetery

There are 5084 Commonwealth casualties of WWII buried here.  There are also 1896 Dutch war graves.  300 men, most of whom died from a cholera outbreak were cremated and their ashes are now interned in two graves.  11 men of the India army are buried in Muslim cemeteries in Thailand and commemorated with a small memorial inside the entrance archway.

Kanchanaburi War Cemetery

Inside the memorial are several plaques in both Thai and English which provide information about the railway.

Kanchanaburi War Cemetery

From the back of the cemetery you can see this view.  Tour buses pull up out front and hundreds of tourists file in, most have no idea what they’re even looking at, and then file out.  I was amazed while at the cemeteries, at the numbers of tourists who appreciated the well maintained landscaping more than the story behind the men buried beneath the surface.

Kanchanaburi War Cemetery

Also from the back of the cemetery looking towards the front.  As I mentioned in last week's column, the maintenance and upkeep is absolutely first rate.  The best I’ve seen in Thailand anywhere.

Kanchanaburi War Cemetery

Precisely ordered markers stretch out in long rows.  Some visitors are there with a purpose and silently search for that special marker of meaning.

Kanchanaburi War Cemetery

The rows are seemingly endless.  Each marker maintained in top condition separated by flowers and ornamental shrubs.

Kanchanaburi War Cemetery

No matter which angle you check, the markers are laid in perfectly in precise lines.

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Standing in front of the Death Railway Museum you have this view of the markers and the trees which shade them.

Kanchanaburi War Cemetery

Color and light are available in abundance.

Kanchanaburi War Cemetery

During the entire length of my visit I didn’t observe any groundskeepers or laborers except for this lone woman who almost blended into the scenery unnoticed.

Kanchanaburi War Cemetery

The shade trees are huge and perfectly placed to provide shade and protection to the fallen.

Kanchanaburi War Cemetery

Beauty is everywhere.  I find this appropriate when you consider the men buried here were deprived of the basics in life, but perhaps were able to find their own beauty in their service, simple acts of kindness, and the brotherhood they continue to share to this day.