Today marks the 69th anniversary of the battle with the French on 17th January 1941 near the island of Koh Chang. In dispute were some of the territories in Indochina that Thailand wanted to claim back. Although the Thais fought bravely, they lost two torpedo boats and the warship HTMS Thonburi was badly damaged. Thirty six Thai soldiers and sailors also lost their life in the battle. The HTMS Thonburi was later salvaged and repaired by the Japanese. It later saw life as a training ship. Today the bridge section and the front guns can be found at the Royal Thai Naval Academy where it was set up as a memorial for the brave soldiers and sailors that died defending Thai sovereignty.
On Sunday 17th January 2010, Navy Commander-in-Chief Admiral Kamthorn Pumhiran presided over the wreath-laying ceremony and the merit making ceremony in front of HTMS Thonburi at the Naval Academy in Samut Prakan. The event started with wreaths being laid by representatives of many Thai ships and organizations.
Then nine monks led the chanting in order to gain merit for the Thai servicemen that died during the battle. Attending the ceremony were some of the survivors of the battle and also families of those that lost their life.
Finally, the Admiral laid his own wreath which was followed by the call of a bugle and a minute’s silence for the dead. A similar service was held at Koh Chang Naval Battle Memorial in Amphoe Laem Ngop in Trat Province.
You can see many more of my pictures of this event at www.paknamphotos.com and also a video at www.paknam.com.