to perpetuate the memory and history of our dead

MM at Hintok

US POWs at Hintok

Beyond to the famous bridge, there are two somewhat less recognized portions of the Death Railway: The WangPo viaduct and Hellfire Pass. The former is still in use by the train that departs the River Kwai Station for NamTok. The latter is a bit farther west (about 80 Km from the Bridge) and has a Memorial Museum operated by the Australian gov’t. The Pass itself is accessed via a massive set of stairs. It is possible to do a multi-hour trek along the former path of the railway. (see URL below for a tour)

Although Hellfire Pass itself was worked mainly by Aussie POWs, The H Force based at Hintok was the home of a small group of the American POWs. These consisted of 19 Merchant Marines who survived the sinking of the SS Sawolka freighter and a few of the TXNG 131 members who had initially been left behind in Singapore due to illness as the main body of the 131 was transported to Burma.

I am only aware of one survivor account that addresses the plight of the MerMar: DEATH’S RAILWAY by Gerald Reminick. He relates that the US POWs worked on what became termed the “Pack of Cards” bridge/ trestle. So named because it collapsed a number of times during its construction. It was dismantled after the war and at present there are no known photos of that section of the railway.

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