Sandakan Memorial Day

issue1316-sandakan-memorialLest we forget

In the middle of Burwood Park, where the paths converge, there is a memorial.  The sculpture depicts the weathered, topographical landscape of Sandakan and Ranau in North Borneo, sweeping from the beach through to the mountains. It was in this place, after the fall of Singapore towards the end of the Second World War, that 2428 prisoners-of-war were interned in camps. During the first march from Sandakan and Ranau, 6 men escaped. At the end of the war, the few men who survived the brutal marches and horrific camp conditions were killed by their captors.

On Sunday August 7, over 100 members of the local community and families of the fallen gathered to pay tribute to the prisoners-of-war who lost their lives in Sandakan.  

After a warm welcome from Burwood’s Mayor Clr John Faker, St Pauls’ Lay Minister, Rosemary King, conducted the service. Colonel Michael Miller RFD delivered a heartfelt remembrance address, honouring the lives of the fallen men.   

With great sensitivity, our Year 6 students, Annabelle Adams and Talei Chang read the tragic, and in turn, uplifting accounts written by men who survived the Sandakan prisoner-of-war camp. Later in the service, Abby Cassen lead us in prayer, calling for understanding and reconciliation between all nations.

At the end of the service, Ms Jodi McKay MP acknowledged the need for our community to retell the stories of Sandakan, so that the lessons of human frailty and decency may never be forgotten and the sacrifice of these men and their families will not have been in vain.  

Lest We Forget

Ms Therese Bennetts

Image (from left): Mrs Melissa Watters, Annabelle, Talei and Abby.

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