Bridge over the River Kwai

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The Bridge over the River Kwai, made famous by the 1957 movie that won 7 Oscars, actually doesn’t cross the River Kwai at all. It is located around 130 kilometres west of Bangkok, and crosses the Mae Klong River a tributary of the Kwai near to Kanchanaburi.

The black iron compoents for the bridge were shipped by the Japanese from Java during the second world war. The bridge was then constructed by Prisoners of War under Japanese supervision. It was a link in the infamous Thailand to Burma railway, also known as the death railway. Tens of thousands of Prisoners of War from Britain, Australia, The Netherlands and the United States worked on the railway along with tens of thousands of civilians who were brought into forced labour. Many thousands of lives were lost during it’s construction. The railway was a supply route used by the Japanese and as such the bridge became a target for allied bombings.

The bridge was rebuilt after WWII and is still in use with a train running daily between Nam Tok Station and Kanchanaburi. Each year a festival is held that commemorates the allied attack on the bridge in 1945.

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