Welcome to Roy-Mark.Com
Home Contact Info About Chiang Mai About Thailand News Photo Album Memoriam Nobles Bridge on the River Kwai Mark Family History This Mo./Mark History Virtual Cemetery Indonesia Who's On First Fly to Mars Ice-Boy Archives Sitemap

Virtual Cemetery


Music:  Colonel Bogie March
was written in 1914 by Royal Marine Lt. F. J. Ricketts (1881 - 1945) under the pseudonym Kenneth Alford.
Colonel Bogie March became the theme song for the 1957 film


 Return to Photo Album                     Return to Roy-Mark.com




Bridge on the River Kwai
View Photo
The real bridge near Kanchanaburi, Thailand was built over several months in1942 by civilian slave labor and POWs as part of the Death Railway.  The bridge was not made of bamboo, but rather steel and concrete.

Bridge on the River Kwai after 1945 Bombing
View Photo

The Japanese used the bridge for two years during World War II before it was destroyed.  The bridge was not blown to smithereens as Hollywood imagined, but rather was bombed by allied warplanes in late June 1945.   B-24 Liberator Bombers dropped four 1,000 pound bombs from treetop level, destroying the two center spans.

Roy Mark at the Bridge on the River Kwai
View Photo

The Japanese rebuilt the two center spans after the war as reparations to the Kingdom of Thailand.  The  new spans were built by Yokogawa Bridge Works of Tokyo; they are not arched as are the originals.

Bridge on the River Kwai
View Photo

An estimated 13,000 POWs and 80,000 Asian laborers died of disease, sickness, and starvation at the hands of the Japanese Army.  The number of POWs forced to work on the railway included 30,000 British; 18,000 Dutch; 13,000 Australian; and 700 Americans.  The death toll included 6,540 British; 2,830 Dutch; 2,710 Australian; 220 Malay; 33 Indian; 5 New Zealand; and 356 Americans.  I first visited the bridge in 1987.  I next visited the bridge in September of '03, August of '04, March of '05 and April of '07.

Roy Mark at the Bridge on the River Kwai
Read the Inscription

Inscribed on a wall near the east bank of the Bridge over the River Kwai.

Click Here or on the Picture to Read the Inscription

There are several factual errors contained in this inscription and numerous grammatical and punctuation errors as well.  The most glaring factual error is that the inscription makes no mention of American P.O.W.'s working or dying during the construction of the Railroad.

VFW Memorial at the Bridge on the River Kwai
View Photo

A memorial at the bridge site erected by VFW of America, dedicated to the Americans who worked on the railway and to those who died.  The Plaque reads:


The approximately seven hundred servicemen of
The United States Of America, who as prisoners
of war of the Japanese during World War II, were
moved to Thailand and Burma, interned in prison
camps and forced to work on the construction
of the Thailand - Burma Railway Project.

In special memory of the three hundred and
fifty-six of these who perished from disease,
 malnutrition, overwork and physical abuse.

Remembered by the members of District V (Thailand),
members of the Department of Pacific Area and the
membership of all the Veterans of Foreign Wars of The
United States of America

Roy Mark at the Bridge on the River Kwai in 1987
View Photo


The Japanese converted this truck  to a railway engine.   This picture was taken in February 1987.

Roy Mark at the Bridge on the River Kwai in 2005
View Photo

Eighteen years later and the old truck is holding up just fine other than the wood doors having withered away.   I am holding up just fine also, other than most of my hair having withered away.

USS Houston (CA-30) in Darwin Harbor, 1942
USS Houston in Darwin Harbor
View Photo

USS Houston (CA-30) at sea, 1939
USS Houston at Sea  in 1939
View Photo


Among the many allied POWs that suffered the hell of the railway were survivors from HMAS PERTH and USS HOUSTON (CA 30). 


The PERTH and HOUSTON, under the command of Captain Albert Rooks, fought a large Japanese force in Sunda Strait on 28 February 1942.  The two cruisers, low on fuel and ammunition, had attacked the Java invasion fleets and sunk several transports, including the one carrying the Commanding General; but had in turn been overwhelmed by twelve Imperial Navy warships.  After 85 torpedoes being fired at them, both were sunk.  Of the crew of 1011 men, 386 survived and swam to the Java coast, only to be captured by the Japanese.  That battle became known as the 'Battle Of Sunda Strait' (between Java and Sumatra).

Houston's fate was not known by the world for almost nine months, and the full story of her courageous fight was not fully told until after the war when the survivors were liberated from prison camps.  Captain Rooks received posthumously the Medal of Honor for this extraordinary heroism.

Read Captain Rooks' Medal of Honor Citation

Lost Battalion Association
The Lost Battalion Association is composed of the men of the 2nd Battalion, 131st Field Artillery and those men who swam ashore from the Cruiser USS Houston (CA-30) when it was sunk, and who survived 42 months of "hell" as prisoners of the Japanese during World War-II

Special Thanks to Lori Buzzo of The Lost Battalion Association for  information about the heroes of the 2nd Battalion, 131 F.A. and the USS Houston.


Another group of allied POWs forced to endure the horrors of the Death Railroad were from 2nd Battalion, 131st Field Artillery.  That unit of the 36th Division (Texas National Guard) had sailed from Pear Harbor just days before the Japanese surprise attack.   They were bound for the Philippines, but were diverted to Australia, then to Java to help in the defense of that Dutch East Indies Island of Java.  When the Dutch surrendered to the Japanese in early 1942, the 534 survivors of the 2nd Battalion became POWs.

The 2nd Battalion and the survivors of the U.S.S. Houston were not heard from again until the end of the war.  The fate of many from the Lost Battalion, was to suffer the Hell of Japan's Death Railroad.

Read a short History of the Lost Battalion

Poster, from the 1957 film, "The Bridge on the River Kwai"


The 1957 Film “The Bridge on the River Kwai” was  based on the true story of POWs in WW II forced to build the Bangkok-Rangoon railway bridge over the Kwai River.  Filmed in Ceylon (Sri Lanka), the movie bridge was built in 8 months by 500 workers and 35 elephants; compared to the real bridge which was built in just 6 months.  The bamboo bridge was  50 feet (15.25m) above the water and 425 feet (129.5m) long.

Poster, from the 1957 film, "The Bridge on the River Kwai"
View Poster

THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI was the number one box-office success of 1957.  It  won critical acclaim and seven Academy Awards including Best Picture.

   Return to Photo Album                     Return to Roy-Mark.com