Anzac Day marked by thousands in Asia

  • 24/04/2016
Anzac Day marked by thousands in Asia

By Ron Corben

In sweltering temperatures amid jungle cuttings and manicured lawn cemeteries, thousands of Australians and New Zealanders will mark Anzac Day across Southeast Asia on Monday.

In the dawn light, services will pause and remember the thousands of veterans from conflicts over the past 100 years.

In Thailand, memorial ceremonies are set to be held in western Kanchanaburi, the location of the death railway.

The pre-dawn service will be at the Konyu Cutting -- also known as Hell Fire Pass -- 190 kilometres west from Bangkok, with another service at the lawn cemetery in Kanchanaburi town later in the morning.

Around 60,000 Allied prisoners of war (POWs), comprised of British, Australians and a small number of Kiwis, were forced to build the 400 kilometre rail link to Burma between 1942 and 1943 in often appalling conditions.

A total of 16,000 Allied POWs and 90,000 Asian labourers died during the construction of the line.

Many died from dysentery, starvation and disease.

POWs captured in Indonesia and after the fall of Singapore in 1942 to the Japanese Imperial Army were sent from Singapore to work on the death rail line in Thailand.

New Zealand member of parliament Paul Foster-Bell as well as a delegation of New Zealand veterans from the Vietnam War in the 1970s and Malaya conflicts along with ex-servicemen from 1 Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment (1RNZIR) and Provost unit, are expected to attend a dawn service at Kranji War Memorial in Singapore.