Posted by Vi Warkentin on
Visited Hellfire Pass Memorial in the Kanchanaburi district - the history of this place dates back to WWll during the Japanese occupation of Thailand (1942-1943). The objective was to build a 400+ km railway through very rugged terrain linking Thailand and Burma (Myanmar). The ‘Death Railway’, as it is known, was an incredible feat of engineering and 100,000+ labourers (both prisoners and conscripted workers) lost their lives at the hands of their captors.
Just below the very informative museum is a 4 km stretch of railway-bed upon which one can walk along. It is at this point, Hellfire Pass, which is one of the most demanding construction points along the railway.
This particular location known by the locals as Konyu Cutting was nicknamed Hellfire Pass because of the combination of constant hammering and chiseling sounds, and the flickering lights from the burning fires, the bamboo torches and carbide lamps used to light the work area at night casting eerie shadows on the rocks. When viewed from above, this site truly looked like the ‘Fires from Hell’ - thus Hellfire Pass.
The working conditions for the labourers was incredibly horrendous – completing an excavation through solid limestone and quartz using very simple tools – working day and night in brutal conditions.
One of the drill bits remains lodged in the rock along this path.
A memorial is located at Hellfire Pass - overlooking the valley with the mountains of Myanmar in the background.