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KANCHANABURI

Personal stories of those who fought and died in South-East Asia during the world wars to be shared by CWGC

03 October 2014

Fresh insights into the people who fought and died in South-East Asia during the two world wars are being revealed with the unveiling of interactive visitor information panels in Kranji, Singapore (October 3) and Kanchanaburi, Thailand (October 8).

Digital artefacts and stories of the prisoners-of-war who died building the Thai-Burma railway for the Japanese - after being captured in Singapore - will be made available by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) to smartphones users at the two cemeteries.

Visitors can use their phones to scan a code that navigates to a website revealing the backstories of those who died from sickness, malnutrition and exhaustion in the process of building the notorious Thai-Burma railway.

One example is that of Captain Oliver Bellingham-Smith, a former racing car mechanic who died serving with the Federated Malay States Volunteer Force in the Second World War, having emigrated to South East Asia from Europe in the 1920s.

Click here to learn more about Bellingham-Smith via the microsite that will be accessed by those using the interactive panels at CWGC Kanchanaburi War Cemetery.

The panel unveilings in Kanchanaburi and at CWGC Kranji War Cemetery will be made by CWGC Vice Chairman Sir Joe French. A third panel is also being installed at Chungkai War Cemetery, Chungkai, Thailand this month.

In Thailand - and Burma - it is possible to visit the graves and memorials commemorating the lives of 10,000 British, Dutch, Australian and New Zealand soldiers held prisoner by the Japanese during the Second World War.

Barry Murphy, CWGC Director, Africa and Asia Pacific Area, said: "The CWGC is pleased to be able to preserve the memory of the Commonwealth servicemen who lost their lives in South East Asia during both wars through the installation of interactive visitors panels. We hope those visiting either the River Kwai or the business hub that is Singapore will be able to visit the nearby cemeteries to pay their respects and learn more about the protagonists of the conflicts."

Click here to read the full press release.