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Through the Valley of the Kwai (also published under the titles Miracle on the River Kwai and To End All Wars) is the autobiography of the Scottish captain Ernest Gordon, and recounts the experiences of faith and hope of the men held in a Japanese prisoner of war labour camp, building the Burma Railway during World War II.
Dusty Miller was a British prisoner of war (POW) in Thailand conscripted to work on the Burma Railway during the last three and a half years of World War II. His life and death is attested to in Gordon's book. Miller was a gardener from Newcastle and a Methodist. Like Gordon, he was in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, but was drafted into the Military Police or "Red Caps". He became known to Ernest Gordon during a period early on in their three and a half year incarceration under the Japanese. Gordon was seriously ill, and was attended to by Miller and "Dinty" Moore, a Roman Catholic POW. In their care, Gordon unexpectedly recovered. Through the examples of Miller and Moore, the recovery of Gordon, and the self-sacrificing examples of numerous others, both faith and hope were restored to many soldiers in the death camps.
At the war's end, Gordon was the sole survivor of the three. Upon liberation, as he sought news of his friends, he found that two weeks before the war's end Miller was martyred, having been crucified by a Japanese guard as a result of his faith.
Near the end of the war, Dinty Moore was being transferred on a Japanese ship, which should have had a Red Cross markings, as it was a POW ship, not a warship. An Allied submarine sank the ship, not knowing it was a POW ship.
The book was also adapted into a film in 2001 under the title To End All Wars .
A prisoner of war (POW) is a non-combatant—whether a military member, an irregular military fighter, or a civilian—who is held captive by a belligerent power during or immediately after an armed conflict. The earliest recorded usage of the phrase "prisoner of war" dates back to 1610.
The Bridge on the River Kwai is a 1957 British-American adventure epic war film directed by David Lean and based on the 1952 novel written by Pierre Boulle. The film uses the historical setting of the construction of the Burma Railway in 1942–1943. The cast includes William Holden, Jack Hawkins, Alec Guinness, and Sessue Hayakawa.
The Burma Railway, also known as the Death Railway, the Siam–Burma Railway, the Thai–Burma Railway and similar names, is a 415-kilometre (258 mi) railway between Ban Pong, Thailand, and Thanbyuzayat, Burma, built by the Empire of Japan from 1940–1944 to supply troops and weapons in the Burma campaign of World War II. This railway completed the rail link between Bangkok, Thailand, and Rangoon, Burma. The name used by the Japanese Government is Thai–Men-Rensetsu-Tetsudou (泰緬連接鉄道), which means Thailand-Burma-Link-Railway.
Hellfire Pass is the name of a railway cutting on the former Burma Railway in Thailand which was built with forced labour during the Second World War, in part by Allied prisoners of war. The pass is noted for the harsh conditions and heavy loss of life suffered by its labourers during construction. Hellfire Pass is so called because the sight of emaciated prisoners labouring at night by torchlight was said to resemble a scene from Hell.
Changi Prison Complex. often known as simply Changi Prison, is a prison located in Changi in the eastern part of Singapore.
The River Kwai, more correctly Khwae Noi or Khwae Sai Yok, is a river in western Thailand. It rises to the east of the Salween in the north-south spine of the Bilauktaung range near, but not over the border with Burma. It begins at the confluence of Ranti, Songkalia and Bikhli Rivers. At Kanchanaburi it merges with the Khwae Yai River to form the Mae Klong River, which empties into the Gulf of Thailand at Samut Songkhram.
To End All Wars is a 2001 war film starring Robert Carlyle, Kiefer Sutherland and Sakae Kimura and was directed by David L. Cunningham. The film is based on Through the Valley of the Kwai, an autobiography of Scottish captain Ernest Gordon.
The Bridge over the River Kwai is a novel by the French novelist Pierre Boulle, published in French in 1952 and English translation by Xan Fielding in 1954. The story is fictional but uses the construction of the Burma Railway, in 1942–1943, as its historical setting, and is partly based on Pierre Boulle's own life experience working in Malaysia rubber plantations and later working for allied forces in Singapore and Indochina during World War II. The novel deals with the plight of World War II British prisoners of war forced by the Imperial Japanese Army to build a bridge for the "Death Railway", so named because of the large number of prisoners and conscripts who died during its construction. The novel won France's Prix Sainte-Beuve in 1952.
Ernest Gordon was the former Presbyterian dean of the chapel at Princeton University. A native of Greenock, Scotland, and the son of James Gordon and Sarah R MacMillan, as an officer in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, Gordon spent three years in a Japanese prisoner of war (POW) camp during the Second World War. He chronicled his experiences on the Death Railway in his book Through the Valley of the Kwai. The book served as an inspiration to the film To End All Wars, where he was portrayed by actor Ciarán McMenamin. The film opened in 2001, and the film's DVD release, which came out after his passing, dedicated the film to his memory.
Thanbyuzayat is a town in the Mon State of south-eastern Myanmar. It is the administrative center for Thanbyuzayat Township. Thanbyuzayat is about 64 kilometres (40 mi) south of Mawlamyine (Moulmein) and 24 kilometres (15 mi) south-east of Kyaikkami (Amherst) and Setse beach.
Return from the River Kwai is a 1989 British film directed by Andrew McLaglen and starring Edward Fox, Chris Penn and Timothy Bottoms.
Takashi Nagase was a Japanese interpreter during World War II. He was born in 1918 in Kurashiki, Okayama, Japan and learned English from an American Methodist in a college in Tokyo. He was one of the officers in charge of the construction of the "Death Railway" which ran between Thailand and Burma and included the famous bridge over the River Kwai, and is known for the use of forced labour of Allied prisoners of war, though the majority of the labour was incurred by romusha, or local civilians pressed into labour.
The Narrow Road to the Deep North is the sixth novel by Richard Flanagan and 2014 winner of the Man Booker Prize.
Major Joseph Gordon Smith was a soldier who served with the 2nd Battalion of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and the Royal Army Ordnance Corps. Smith served in Malaya during the Second World War and survived being held as a prisoner of war by the Japanese. During his imprisonment, Smith experienced many hardships and was forced to work on the Burma Railway, an experience which was illustrated by the film The Bridge on the River Kwai.
Major Arthur Moon was an Australian army doctor who saved the lives of dozens of Far East prisoners of war as the Thailand-Burma Railway was being constructed during World War II.
The Lost Battalion was the 2nd Battalion, 131st Field Artillery, 36th Infantry Division of the U.S. Army. The men of the battalion, plus the survivors of the sunken Cruiser USS Houston, were captured by the Japanese on the island of Java in the Dutch East Indies in March 1942. It is called the lost battalion because the fate of the men was unknown to the United States until September 1944. They were prisoners of war for 42 months until the end of World War II. 534 soldiers from the battalion and 368 survivors of the Houston were taken prisoner. Most of the men were sent to Thailand to work on the Burma Railway, the building of which is portrayed in the film The Bridge on the River Kwai. Of the 902 soldiers and sailors taken captive, 163 died in captivity. Most of the prisoners of war were from western Texas.
The Thanbyuzayat War Cemetery is a prisoner of war cemetery for victims of Japanese imprisonment Who died building the Death Railway in Burma. It is at the Burmese end of the Second World War railway construction, in Thanbyuzayat, 65 kilometres south of Mawlamyine (Moulmein). Thanbyuzayat is considered the terminus of the Death Railway, and is where it connected with the Burmese main line.
Fergus Gordon Anckorn was a British soldier who, as starting as the conjurer Wizardus at age 18, was the longest-serving member of the Magic Circle.
Ernest Warwick was a British author, prisoner of war and survivor of the Burma to Siam death railway.
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