The railway Burma-Siam, built by Commonwealth, Dutch and American prisoners of war, was a Japanese project driven by the need for improved communications to support the large Japanese army in Burma.
During its construction, approximately 13,000 prisoners of war died and were buried along the railway.
An estimated 80,000 to 100,000 civilians also died in the course of the project, chiefly forced labour brought from Malaya and the Dutch East Indies, or conscripted in Siam (Thailand) and Burma.
Two labour forces, one based in Siam and the other in Burma worked from opposite ends of the line towards the centre.
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