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Last Updated: Monday, 15 August 2005, 17:09 GMT 18:09 UK
POW daughter sees Japan railway
Dariel Frances
Dariel Frances planned her trip with the help of her father
A woman has travelled to Japan to see where her father survived the building of the bridge over the River Kwai.

Dariel Frances said her father rarely shared his WWII memories before her trip, but helped to plan her journey.

The Tonbridge woman said the amazing part was the beauty of a country that was the scene of the deaths of thousands of POWs and labourers.

"It's all so beautiful in colour - instead of sepia photographs full of gloom and apprehension," she said.

Battlefield revisited

The notorious Thailand-Burma railway was built by Allied prisoners under the Japanese during 1942 and 1943.

Allied prisoners of war were shipped to Thailand from neighbouring countries to build the vital railway link between Thailand and Burma for the Japanese military.

It was dubbed the "Death Railway" because of the huge numbers of lives it claimed: 13,000 POWs and up to 100,000 civilian forced labourers.

The bridge - rebuilt after an Allied bombing raid - was made famous by the novel and film "A Bridge on the River Kwai".

Thailand-Burma railway
The notorious railway claimed thousands of lives

VJ Day - 15 August 1945 - followed the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by atomic bombs. The formal surrender was signed on 2 September.

People from Kent and Sussex who have travelled to the Far East this year to mark the 60th anniversary of VJ Day, also include Ted Syms, a former Royal Marines Commando from Hastings, East Sussex, who fought in Burma.

In March this year, he led a group of ex-commandos back to the site where they captured a hill at a place called Hill 170.

The group, all in their 80s and 90s, walked for two hours through paddy fields in temperatures reaching 90 degrees to lay crosses on the summit.

  • Ms Frances and Mr Syms will both tell their stories on BBC1 in Memories of a Forgotten War on Monday at 1900 BST.




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