Sandakan Memorial Park

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I discovered that I was very ignorant of much of the history of Sabah, so visiting this Memorial Park was very informative. This park is on the site of the Sandakan prisoner of war camp, which had housed 2700 Australian and British POWs, mostly shipped there from Singapore after its capture by the Japanese in February 1942. By the end of the war, the Japanese decided to move the POWs inland to Ranau on what became known as the three Death Marches. Only six Australian POWs survived, and they did so by escaping, aided by locals in the jungle. Without these six survivers, there would have been no evidence of the atrocities committed here by the Japanese.

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The Sanadakan Memorial Park has an excellent museum space which is well worth a visit.

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The POWs were made to build an airfield, so they instigated a go-slow campaign; they sabotaged the large mechanical equipment which was needed to turn the jungle into an airstrip.

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© Helen Gray 2019