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PLAQUE NO. 32 ... KONYU CUTTING - HELLFIRE PASS

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Text on plaque
This section of the Burma-Thailand Railway was constructed between April and September 1943.

Unlike the flatter section from Nong Pladuk to Nam Tok (to the south) this high country rose steeply to become ravined dense jungle.

The Japanese controlled thousands of Prisoners of War (P.O.W) and Asian labourers who toiled by day and night. They cut through rock and crossed ravines with the most primitive of. hand tools to complete this 25 kilometre section which traversed the worst terrain of the line. They forded raging rivers, negotiated dense jungle valleys and mountainous gradients. The work force was decimated by harsh working conditions, starvation, the monsoons and disease including cholera.

  TOTAL DEATHS
Asian Labourers 2000,000 +/- 80,000+/-
British P.O.W. 30,000 6,540
Dutch P.O.W. 18,000 2,830
Australian P.O.W. 13,000 2,710
American P.O.W. 700+/- 356 (Buried in U.S.A)
Japanese and Korean 15,000 1,000

Construction time for the railway was 17 month. Period of effective use was 21 months ending in June 1945. The railway line was dismantled by the British after the war as it was unsafe. It was later relaid along the section from The Bridge on the River Kwai to Nam Tok, a distance of 130kms. It is along this section that todays tourists can relive the feelings of the war.

 



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