Keep the Death Railway Museum Alive

Hello Everyone! My name is Sandra Norman and I am raising money for the Thailand-Burma Death Railway Centre in Thailand which is a renowned Museum and Research Facility dedicated to Far East Prisoners of War captured by the Japanese during World War II. My mission is to Keep the Death Railway Museum Alive


I am the only child of the late Arthur Cole, a Lance Corporal in the Cambridgeshire Regiment, who was captured in Singapore on 15th February 1942 when his Battalion was ordered to surrender to the Japanese. He was one of tens of thousands of prisoners of war who were forced to build a railway between Burma and Siam (now known as Thailand). All prisoners of the Japanese were subjected to brutal and inhumane treatment throughout the period of their captivity. Thankfully my Dad survived and returned home to Cambridge in October 1945. He passed away in 2014, a few weeks short of his 94th Birthday.

Those soldiers who returned home were told to 'never speak of' the horrors they had witnessed and endured. I believe the legacy of that has been a 'hidden wound' within the families of those affected, including my own. The subject was unspoken within my family until the latter part of my Dad's life when, on occasion, he revealed snippets of information.

It came as a huge surprise when my Dad asked my family and I to visit Thailand in 2008. During that trip we spent our first afternoon in the Museum. It was a truly memorable experience for us all. We subsequently returned to the Museum, at my Dad's request, in 2013 for 2 weeks. Prior to our arrival, the Museum gave me a lot of information, extracted from their research database, which listed the jungle camps in which my Dad had been kept prisoner. We were taken to the site of many of those prison camps. Standing on the ground is a deeply moving experience where the past rushes up to meet the present. We have since returned to visit the Museum in 2017 and 2019. The Museum itself and all those associated with it have become an integral part of my life.


Prior to the start of the pandemic, the Museum welcomed large numbers of visitors from around the world as it is a renowned education and research facility. Those who run the Museum have, for many years, dedicated themselves to the task of compiling a hugely detailed extensive research database. This provides an accurate and comprehensive account of the fate of individual prisoners. Their work has continued during lockdown.

This vital part of their work has provided relatives of all Far East Prisoners of War with the opportunity to really find out about what happened to their loved ones during their captivity. All information is provided, upon request, completely free of charge. In addition the Museum also normally provides 'Personalised Pilgrimage Tours' to both individuals and large and small groups.


The Museum is entirely privately funded and relies upon revenue generated from both local and international visitors together with private donations. At the start of the pandemic, the Thai government immediately refused entry to international travellers. As a result, the Museum suffered a sudden massive reduction in it's income.

The monthly running costs, during lockdown, remain substantial despite all efforts to keep outgoings to a minimum.

For well over a year now, the Museum has stayed afloat by drawing upon its own financial reserves together with a small income generated from local visitors. Due to an increase in numbers of COVID cases in Kanchanaburi during the last few months those visitor numbers have basically 'dried up'.

Currently there is no sign that a significant number of international visitors will be allowed to return any time soon. The Museum has international bookings planned to go ahead as soon as the 'travel corridor' opens. In the meantime, the Museum needs to continue to support itself, financially, may be for another year or more.

This Museum is unique and it represents the huge dedication, passion and ongoing work of three men, Rod Beattie, Terry Manttan and Andrew Snow. As an institution it continues to offer support, comfort and information to so many people from all parts of the world. It has given a 'voice', on the ground, to those Far East Prisoners of War who were silenced for so long. We simply cannot let this Museum die because of a virus, please help me keep it alive.

I would like to thank you all from the bottom of my heart. Every single donation is of value. If we all join forces, I sincerely believe we can keep the Death Railway Museum Alive!

    • £50 
    • 10 d
  • Anne Powles 
    • £20 
    • 1 mo
  • Mike Clarke 
    • £30 
    • 2 mos
  • Greta Palmer 
    • £50 
    • 2 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • £40 
    • 2 mos
See all


Sandra Norman 
Croydon, UK
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