New Farm Sandakan War Memorial
Sandakan memorial plinth and sculpture, featuring a relief terrain bronze of Sabah, formerly British North Borneo. It was the site of a number of 'Death marches' during which Australian and other prisoners of war, were forced to march through swamp and dense jungle between Sandakan and Ranau in 1945. The route of the death marches is shown by a bronze ribbon on the surface of the relief. There are numerous plaques and Rolls of Honour panels on the sides. The memorial was unveiled by Hon Sir Walter Campbell and dedicated by Father John Brendan Rogers on 24 September 1995. The Sandakan Memorial Foundation has erected other similar memorials. The whole memorial is set into a memorial precinct within the park.
Dedication plaque reads: This memorial was unveiled by The Honourable Sir Walter Campbell, AC, QC, and was dedicated by Father John Brendan Rogers, OFM, Eighth Division AIF Chaplain, Sandakan and Kuching. 24th September 1995.
Sandakan memorial, terrain plaque reads: The sculptured terrain of Sabah illustrates the route of the death marches, shown by a bronze ribbon, between Sandakan and Ranau which was substantially swamp and dense jungle in 1945.
Sandakan history plaque reads:
In memory of 1800 Australians of the 8th Division AIF and 750 British troops. They fought gallantly in the defence of Malaya and Singapore during World War II. Following the fall of Singapore, they became prisoners of the Japanese and were transported to Sandakan in British North Borneo, now Sabah, in 1942 to construct an airfield, where 900 died of ill-treatment.
By the end of 1944, when Allied Forces were within striking distance of Sandakan, the Japanese Command ordered the removal of prisoners inland to Ranau 165 miles (265 kilometres) west. On 29 January 1945, 470 prisoners guarded by 500 Japanese marched towards Ranau. Those unable to carry on were killed.
The second march comprising 532 prisoners left Sandakan on 29 May 1945. 183 arrived at Ranau on 26 June 1945. Only eight survived from the first march.
Of the 288 prisoners left at Sandakan there were no survivors.
On 1 August 1945, the surviving 33 prisoners at Ranau were massacred. Six who escaped were rescued by Special Forces.
This memorial honours Queenslanders who died at Sandakan, on the death marches and at Ranau.
We will remember them. Sandakan Memorial Foundation.
- Conflicts commemorated
- Second World War, 1939–1945
- Memorial type
- Additional information
The Japanese conquered British and Dutch Borneo early in 1942. B and E Forces were sent by ship from Changi to Borneo . B Force (1,496-strong) included 145 officers and medical staff. Commanded by Lieutenant Colonel A. W. Walsh of the 2/10th Field Regiment, it left Singapore in the Ubi Maru on 8 July 1942 and after a nine-day journey in poor conditions disembarked at Sandakan . E Force embarked on the steamer de Klerk on 29 March 1943 . It contained 500 British prisoners, who disembarked at Kuching, and 500 Australian prisoners, who were sent to Berhala Island (North Borneo). In early June 1943, E Force was moved to Sandakan.
Prisoners in B and E Forces included troops from the 2/18th, 2/19th, 2/20th, 2/26th, 2/29th, 2/30th Battalions, 2/4th Machine Gun Battalion, and the 2/10th Field Ambulance. There were four main camps in Borneo : Sandakan , Kuching, Labuan and Jesselton. Of these, Sandakan contained the majority of Australians. Captain Hoshijima Susumi commanded Sandakan Camp. In January 1945 the first forced march to Ranau occurred, and the second in May 1945. Of the 2,500 Australian and British prisoners of war, only six Australians survived these death marches .
(Source: Australian War Memorial www.awm.gov.au)
- Recorded by
- Shirley and Trevor McIvor/Matt Smith, Qld War Memorial Register
- Date recorded
- 30 July 2009