The Long Ride Home cycling along the Thai Burma Death Railway During The 75th anniversary year of the completion of the line - 1943-2018.
Nong Pladuk to Kanchanaburi.
Departed Nong Pladuk Station via Ban Pong to follow the line early hours today (day 1). Light rain and humid conditions along the way.
My day 1 objective is the war cemetery at Kanchanaburi on the infamous Bridge over the River Kwai – one of 688 bridges built along the length of the line. The Bridge over the River Kwai may have been made famous in the movie of that name but it was just one of 688 bridges and crossovers built by our Allied POWs and the thousands of forced labourers, the so-called Rimusha, pressed into service by the Japanese on the line.
Plenty of visual reminders today of F Force’s forced march to the area of the Three Pagoda Pass so many years ago now.
After arriving in Kanchanaburi I’m looking forward to an interview with a local icon, Sir Rod Beattie, a former Australian engineer who set up the amazing Death Railway Museum at Kanchanaburi after many years running the Commonwealth War Graves here. Sir Rod’s contribution to unlocking and preserving the history of the line has earned him a knighthood from the Dutch, a Member of The British Empire (MBE) and the Order of Australia (OAM ).
Interesting that on arrival in Kanchanaburi the local newspaper is running photos of unexploded WW2 bombs that were discovered four days ago on a construction site in Bangkok – another grim reminder of the Japanese Imperial Force’s presence in Thailand during the war and for two years after the completion of the railway.
Further information about F Force is available at https://anzacportal.dva.gov.au/history/conflicts/thaiburma-railway-and-hellfire-pass/locations/camps-f-force.
Truck Sams on The Long Ride Home along The Thai Burma Death Railway in Thailand