World War II tunnel found in Kanchaburi

World War II tunnel found in Kanchaburi

World War II tunnel found in Kanchaburi
Researcher Srawut Saisungsiripong stands inside a tunnel built during WW II which he and his colleague discovered in Kanchanaburi’s Sangkhla Buri district earlier this week. (Photo: Piyarach Chongcharoen)

KANCHANABURI: A 35 metre-long man-made escape tunnel built during the Second World War has been discovered in Sangkhla Buri district of this western province.

The tunnel was discovered about 100 metres from Highway 323 (Sangkhla Buri – Three Pagoda Pass) earlier this week by Marnchai Wattanakaran and Srawut Saisungsiripong, local researchers of the infamous Death Railway route in the Sangkhla Buri area.

Mr Srawut said the tunnel, which is 2 metres wide and about 1.8-1.9 metres high, was carved through a hill for a distance of about 35 metres. The tunnel’s mouth on the other end reveals fertile forest.    

“It was built by prisoners of war during WW II as we found traces of pickaxes, crowbars and hoes used as digging tools,” Mr Srawut said. “The tunnel’s interiors are still in relatively good condition. Only soil at the tunnel’s mouths collapsed.”

He believes the tunnel was used as a refuge from airstrikes when Japanese troops were building a railway track from Bann Songaria to the Three Pagodas Pass border crossing into Myanmar. The black smoke from lanterns left stains that are still visible on the tunnel’s walls.

“The tunnel is still strong because it was designed with pole-like structures every two metres and the subsoil in the area is compact and firm,” Mr Srawut explained.

Mr Srawut and Mr Marnchai called on concerned agencies to further explore the tunnel and develop it into a conservational, educational and tourism venue.

Meanwhile, local MP Panom Pokaew said he will visit the tunnel next month and discuss ways to develop the area for tourism and educational purposes with other agencies.