It’s been a long time since I saw that great Hollywood movie, ‘The Bridge on the River Kwai,’ but it has always stayed with me! Especially the final scenes when that wonderful bridge, created by prisoner-of -war labour, is about to be destroyed! In the movie, the explosion takes out not just the bridge, but a trainload of Japanese soldiers as well. Proving that truth is always stranger than fiction, what REALLY happened was quite different! The bridge was destroyed by an allied bomber. Unfortunately, rather than a train full of Japanese on the bridge, as portrayed in the movie, there were hundreds of allied prisoners STANDING on the bridge, waving to the pilot. Of course they were placed there by the Japanese in a futile attempt to save the bridge.
Jenny and I enyoyed our visit to the Bridge on the River Kwai. Rebuilt since WWII by the Japanese and Thais, it was great to finally see this famous site. Also enjoying a visit on the same day were a lot of Thai soldiers, no doubt visiting for historical and motivational reasons. Jenny and I liked strolling across the bridge. There is also a train option, local accommodation and a great looking floating restaurant beside the bridge. But for me, the highlight was the memorial museum situated nearby. Set up by a local family, it has five levels. There are many historical photos and interesting information about the bridge and the work by the allied prisoners-of-war. But the museum has much, much more and anyone vaguely interested in war history could spend a great deal of time looking at all of the exhibits.
Some of the highlights for me included the Japanese war vehicles, dioramas and weapons from WWII. In amongst the photo exhibits there are photos of Hitler with Eva Braun, Mussolini, McArthur and so on. Highly recommended.