Photo: Walking the trail.

Hellfire Pass

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Midday heat topped 40 degrees Celsius as we sipped our last drops of water under a scorching sun. We’re not out of shape, but the extreme weather and rugged terrain left us exhausted just 45 minutes into the hike. Only then did we begin to imagine how horrific this place must have been for those who were forced to chisel through solid rock for 18 hours a days. Only then did we begin to understand why Allied POWs named this section of the Thai-Burma railway, Hellfire Pass.

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In terms of human lives lost, the most costly event of the Japanese occupation of Thailand and Burma during the Second World War was the construction of the Thai-Burma Railway, better known today as the “Death Railway“. Building began on the 414 kilometres of track that linked Bangkok to southeastern Burma in June 1942 and lasted until October '43, though forced labour on the railway continued until the end of the war in '45. Some 15,000 Allied POWs and 90,000 Asian conscripted labourers perished from disease, starvation and beatings by Japanese ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 1,000 words.)


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