2016 20c Coin 'Anzac to Afghanistan' - THAI-BURMA RAILWAY
The harsh climate and terrain - and the brutality of the Japanese - made labouring on the Thai-Burma Railway a tragic chapter in our history. Built in 1942 and 1943 to supply the Japanese forces in Burma, it was under appalling conditions that the Japanese forced more than 60,000 Allied prisoners of war into constructing the strategic route alongside 200,000 Asian labourers. By war's end, more than 8000 Australian prisoners had died.
More than 22,000 Australians became prisoners of war under the Japanese in South-East Asia. Most were captured in the fall of Singapore in February 1942. From Changi in Singapore, the Japanese dispatched working parties across all of South-East Asia, which included the 10,000 Australians who worked on the construction of the infamous Thai-Burma Railway. There they became victims of their captors' indifference and brutality, as well as endemic disease and malnutrition. One of the most important figures along the railway was Colonel Edward “Weary” Dunlop, an Australian doctor who spent his time in Japanese captivity maintaining the health and wellbeing of all prisoners. Amid immense hardship and deprivation, “Weary” showed self-sacrifice, courage and compassion in tending to the needs of the prisoners. In doing so, he became an iconic figure in Australian memories of the Thai-Burma Railway.
|Brand||Royal Australian Mint|
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