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Section of a sleeper from ‘Death Railway’, Burma, 1945 circa (wood)

IMAGE number
NAM5921757
Image title
Section of a sleeper from ‘Death Railway’, Burma, 1945 circa (wood)
Auto-translated text View Original Source
Artist
Burmese School (20th century) / Burmese
Location
National Army Museum, London
Medium
wood
Date
1942 AD (C20th AD)
Image description

Section of a sleeper from the ‘Death Railway’, Burma, 1945 circa. Between October 1942 and December 1943, the Japanese Army used forced labour to build a railway that cut 260 miles (420km) through mountainous jungle to link Burma (now Myanmar) and Siam (now Thailand). The project was designed to safeguard the passage of supplies from Singapore and Bangkok to the Japanese armies fighting in Burma. The previously used sea route had become too risky. Building the railway led to the deaths of around 15,000 Allied prisoners of war and over 80,000 Asian civilians from over-work, disease and starvation. The Japanese used the railway until April 1945, when parts of the line and the famous bridge over the River Kwai (Khwae Yai) were destroyed in Allied air raids. The prisoners were liberated when Japan surrendered on 2 September 1945 following the atomic bomb raids on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This 14-inch (35.5cm) long section of wood is from one of the railway sleepers at Thanbyuzayat at the Burmese end of the line. It is housed in a red and gold wood box and was used as a miniature Buddhist shrine - a fitting act of remembrance for the railway’s thousands of victims.

Photo credit
© National Army Museum / Bridgeman Images
Image keywords
prisoner of war / railway / transport / prisoner / slave labour / punishment / relic / death

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Asset - General information
Largest available format 5115 × 3410 px 21 MB
Dimension [pixels] Dimension in 300dpi [mm] File size [MB] Online Purchase
Large 5115 × 3410 px 433 × 289 mm 21.1 MB
Medium 1024 × 683 px 87 × 58 mm 857 KB

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