Thursday, 28 April 2011

Kanchanaburi - ANZAC Day dawn service at Hellfire Pass

I will be writing up several blogs on the Burma Thai Railway, the Bridge on River Kwai, Hellfiire Pass and Three Pagodas Pass shortly, but in the meantime a few photos from the ANZAC Day ceremony held on April 25 in Hellfire Pass, which is always a privilege to attend ...

Hellfire Pass (or Konyu Cutting) was hacked out of rock with minimal equipment
and has come to symbolise the atrocities of the Death Railway. It was originally planned to be a tunnel through this rugged terrain, but tunnelling equipment could not be shipped from Japan in time.

The crowds have been growing in recent years, estimated this year by
Hellfire Pass Memorial Museum manager Bill Slape to be around 1500.
Many in attendance are veterans themselves, with a lot of Vietnam war veterans in particular joining tour groups.

The TWO minutes silence is stunningly powerful among the soaring teak trees and the dawn chorus of  bird song.
This wreath sums up the sacrifice. 12,800 Allied PoWs died building the railway,
as did around 100,000 unheralded Asian labourers.

The guest of honour in 2011 was the Governor General of Australia, HE Quentin Bryce, seen here chatting to some of the former PoWs, including Bill Haskell, Lex Arthurson, Cyril Gilbert and Neil Macpherson.
An Aussie flag in the wall near the spot where legendary Aussie doctor Weary Dunlop's ashes are scattered.

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