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. His hope, desire, and intention were to shine a light on the appalling conditions that the WWII prisoners of war (POW) 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 the Chai Chumphon 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 arch treatments the prisoners had to endure during the construction of the railway.
The second has an array of bamboo huts holding pictures, artwork, correspondence from the POW’s, other relics from the war, as well as an “unexploded” Allied bomb sent to destroy the bridge. There is also a ten minutes video presentation in this section of the museum.
The JEATH War Museum is managed and maintained by the monks who live and pray at the adjacent Wat Chai Chumphon. The temple has some fascinating statues and shrines of its own, including one made out of a WWII-era boat that the monks dredged out of the river, thus making it well worth a visit.
The acronym JEATH represents the warring countries that were directly involved in the construction of the Death Railway during those dreadful years: it stands for Japan, England, Australia & America, Thailand, and Holland.