A piece of history on the Death Railway and World War II:
The Chief Abbot of Wat Chai Chumphon, the Venerable Phra Theppanyasuthee, founded the JEATH War Museum in 1977 in hopes to shine a light on the appalling conditions that the WWII POW’s had to endure while building the infamous Death Railway from 1942 to 1943. The museum is located at the junction of the Kwae Yai and Kwae Noi rivers in Kanchanaburi and sits within the grounds of a temple.
There are two sections in the museum itself:
– The first is a replica of the POW’s living quarters with a collection of sketches depicting the construction of the railway.
– The second has an array of bamboo huts holding pictures, artwork, correspondence from the POW’s, an unexploded Allied bomb sent to destroy the bridge, and other relics from the war. There is also a ten-minute video presentation in this section of the museum.
The JEATH War Museum is managed and maintained by the monks at the adjacent Wat Chaichumphon. The temple has some fascinating statues and shrines of its own, including one made out of a WWII boat dredged out of the river.
The acronym JEATH represents the warring countries involved in the construction of the Death Railway, which stands for Japan, England, Australia/America, Thailand, and Holland.