Burma Railway, also called Burma-Siam Railway, railway built during World War II connecting Bangkok and Moulmein (now Mawlamyine), Burma (Myanmar). The rail line was built along the Khwae Noi (Kwai) River valley to support the Japanese armed forces during the Burma Campaign.
Why is it called Hellfire Pass?
Hellfire Pass is so called because of the fact that the pass was light up by torchlights in the night, which made the prisoners working in these harsh conditions in the night with the red light shining on them visually resembling Hell.
Does the Thai Burma Railway still exist?
The Thai portion of the railway continues to exist, with three trains crossing the original bridge twice daily bound from Bangkok to the current terminus at Nam Tok. … During the railway’s construction, around 90,000 Southeast Asian civilian forced laborers died, along with more than 12,000 Allied prisoners.
When was the Burma railway built?
The railway was completed in October 1943. The Japanese were able to use it to supply their troops in Burma despite the repeated destruction of bridges by Allied bombing. More than 90,000 Asian civilians died on the railway, as well as 16,000 POWs, of whom about 2800 were Australian.
How many died building the Death Railway?
This breakneck speed of construction had a heavy toll for those who built it: around 13,000 Allied Prisoners of War (POW) died during the work, alongside 100,000 local workers from across the region. They perished in unimaginably horrific conditions – starved, overworked, sick and mistreated.
How many died at Hellfire Pass?
When the Japanese were not satisfied with the pace of work, prisoners were forced to endure atrocious physical punishment, and some 700 Allied prisoners died or were killed at Hellfire Pass.
Why was the Thai Burma Railway constructed?
The Burma-Thailand railway (known also as the Thailand-Burma or Burma–Siam railway) was built in 1942–43. Its purpose was to supply the Japanese forces in Burma, bypassing the sea routes which had become vulnerable when Japanese naval strength was reduced in the Battles of the Coral Sea and Midway in May and June 1942.
How many soldiers died on the Burma railway?
The construction of the 420-kilometre railway between Ban Pong in Thailand and Thanbyuzayat in Burma led to the deaths of 2,700 Australians, and more than 12,000 Allied soldiers.
Why did the Japanese treat POWs so badly?
Many of the Japanese captors were cruel toward the POWs because they were viewed as contemptible for the very act of surrendering. … Moreover, friendly fire caused about one in four POW deaths as the U.S. attacked Japanese convoys, sinking many ships transporting POWs back to Japan because they were unmarked.
How was the Thai Burma Railway built?
The railway was to run 420 kilometres through rugged jungle. It was to be built by a captive labour force of about 60,000 Allied prisoners of war and 200,000 romusha, or Asian labourers. They built the track with hand tools and muscle power, working through the monsoon of 1943. All were urged on by the cry “speedo!”
Who built the railroads in Thailand?
Interest in rail transport in Siam can be traced to when King Rama IV was given a gift of a model railway from Queen Victoria in 1855. The first railway line, 20 km in length, named the Paknam Railway between Bangkok–Samut Prakan began construction in July 1891 under a 50-year concession with a Danish company.
Was the bridge over the River Kwai real?
The film “The Bridge on the River Kwai” dramatized the WWII story of the Thailand-Burma Railway, yet it was largely fictional. Over 65,000 Allied P.O.W.s battled torture, starvation, and disease to hack the 255-mile railway out of harsh jungle for the Japanese.
What is a prisoner of war called?
Alternative Titles: POW, PW. Prisoner of war (POW), any person captured or interned by a belligerent power during war.
How many Australian POWs were captured by the Japanese?
Over 22,000 Australian servicemen and almost forty nurses were captured by the Japanese. Most were captured early in 1942 when Japanese forces captured Malaya, Singapore, New Britain, and the Netherlands East Indies.
What happened to Japanese prisoners of war?
Unlike the prisoners held by China or the western Allies, these men were treated harshly by their captors, and over 60,000 died. Japanese POWs were forced to undertake hard labour and were held in primitive conditions with inadequate food and medical treatments.
How many Japanese POW camps were there?
Thus, in addition to the seven main camps, there were 81 branch camps and three detached camps at the end of the war. 32,418 POWs in total were detained in those camps. Approximately 3,500 POWs died in Japan while they were imprisoned.