Country Experience: Thailand
John Dunlop has spent time in Thailand in connection with the conservation of parts of the Burma Thailand railway as an Australian war memorial. This project, with the support of the Australian Government, has been spearheaded by now aged ex-POW's and other volunteers.
The railway itself can be accessed by road from Kanchanaburi to the north-west of Bangkok. At Kanchanaburi itself, tourists can see the Buddhist Peace Temple, the POW memorial and the War Cemetery as well as the famous bridge over the River Kwai.
Buddhist Peace Temple, Kanchnaburi
From Kanchanaburi, it is a short run by car up the river Kwai Noi to the sites of the WWII prisoner of war camps where many allied troops died in captivity constructing the notorious Burma Thai Railway. John's father "Weary" Dunlop worked on the railway with other prisoners of war and was remembered fondly for his medical service to his fellow captives. The photo below shows "Hellfire Cutting", where many men died excavating the railway cutting by hand. The oil fires at night were the source of the name...
Hellfire Cutting, Burma Thai Railway
Following his death in 1993, Weary requested that some of his ashes be spread at this place, where so much suffering occurred and yet gave birth to a sense of enlightenment and forgiveness. The picture below shows the ashes at the Peace Temple, en route to the waters of the Kwai Noi, where they were launched in a kratong by John and his brother, Alexander.
the image below is a reproduction of a rare post card which survived from the very few sent from Konyu camp on the Burma Thai railway in 1943.
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