Sunday, 13 April 2008


The numerous cemeteries are immaculately maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.Small, flat ,black gravestones lie in perfect rows on beautifully manicured lawns.Some of the epitaphs rend the heart.On one is inscribed , “ If I could have just one wish ,Johnny,I’d want you back with us again” ,written by a grieving mother.” Another says “My son has found an eternal resting place”There is also a separate cemetery for the Japanese.Only small Asian men with grey hair,trilby hats and large cameras visit it.A few miles up the road is ‘Hellfire Pass’.where the Australians were.They were given the task of cutting through solid rock, using the most basic of tools.They worked eighteen-hour shifts and forty per cent of them perished.You can still see drill bits,nails and saw blades embedded in the rocks. In the museum nearby, there are photographs of skeletal survivors , ribcages clearly visible , looking more dead than alive. They are smiling bravely, glad no doubt to have survived their dreadful ordeal. Many are resting on crutches ,displaying the stumps of amputated legs.