A duplicate of the plaque at the south side of The
Bridge on the River Kwai was donated to The Imperial War Museum in 1993.
The plaque is on exhibition at the Duxford Branch of the I.W.M. and was
unveiled by Mr. Harold Payne CBE, who was a British P.O.W officer and
helped construct the original bridge plus also had major input to the
plaque as president of the Far Eastern P.O.W. Assoc. UK.
The railway was one of the great engineering
feats of the Second World War. Asian labourers and Prisoners of War (P.O.W.)
moved 7 million cubic metres of earth and rock in constructing the 415
kilometre railway; 14 kilometres of which were 8 steel and 640 timber
This famous steel bridge was built between
October 1941 and May 1942, using eleven 21 metre prefabricated spans
plundered by the Japanese from Dutch Java. At the same time a wooden
trestle bridge was built 300 metres downstream; it was immortalized in
the book and film "The Bridge on the River Kwai".
From February 1945 Allied aircraft raids
repeatedly damaged the bridges. P.O.W. from a large camp 400 metres
downstream repaired them; even so by June 1945 the bridges were
The steel bridge was repaired post-war with two
32 metre box-shaped spans, provided as War Reparation by the Japanese.
Still in daily use the bridge stands as a
memorial to the pain and suffering of so many.