Unlike most tours that visit the Hellfire Pass Memorial Museum towards the end of the day, our tour went to this place in the morning to avoid clashing traffic with loads of other tourists and the overcrowded train that passes the bridge over the River Kwai at sunset.
This museum is co-sponsored by the Thai and Australian governments to commemorate the suffering of those involved in the construction of the railway. It was opened by the then Prime Minister of Australia, John Howard. As a part of the museum experience, it is possible to walk through the cutting itself and along a section of the former railway track bed. An audio tour including recorded memories of surviving POWs is available at the museum.
Hellfire Pass is the name of a railway cutting, famed for its cost in life, on the Death Railway in Thailand, known by the Japanese as Konyu cutting. It was built in World War II, in part by POWs. Work by torchlight at night gave the pass its name.
A plaque attached to the ‘wall’ of the Pass:
“These doctors provided leadership, helped alleviate pain and suffering and above all gave reason to live when all real hope seemed lost. To them we all give thanks. When you go home, tell them of us and say we gave our tomorrow for your today.”