& Copyright © Martin Edwards 2019
Photographs Copyright © Martin Edwards 2019
site commemorates a tragedy and atrocity which struck Sandakan between
January and August 1945."
The Sandakan Memorial Park is a memorial site built in the former grounds
of the former Sandakan camp in the Malaysian state of Sabah. The site
is dedicated as a memory for all prisoners in the camp who died during
the Sandakan Death Marches, and to those who died during the march to
Ranau. Of the 1793 Australian and 641 British troops originally imprisoned
here, the only survivors by July 1945 were six Australian escapees. It
is also recognises the suffering and sacrifice of the native population.
The memorial park is the first stop on the "POW Route" during
the three death marches. The route begins in Sandakan and ends at the
"Last POW Camp" at Ranau. Every stations on the route is marked
with a sign.
the Japanese expanded its Empire into the Southwest Pacific Ocean during
the early stage of World War II, a large numbers of Allied soldiers
prisoners were detained in a various camp in the pacific. In July 1942,
already 1,500 Australian prisoners of war were transferred from Singapore
to Sandakan as a forced labour to build a military airfield. The number
getting increase in 1943, with about 2,500 prisoners had been housed
in the camp site.
the end of the war, all of the human remains of the prisoners of war,
who were found during investigation at the site, were transferred to
a military cemetery in Labuan. Those who can be identified were buried
in a grave and marked with a name, while those who cannot be identified
were listed on a corresponding plaques in Labuan and also in Singapore.
all those who had been alive in January 1945, by the end of August only
six - all Australians - survived. Two of the six escaped into the jungle
during the second march in June 1945. Assisted by local people, they
were eventually picked up by Allied units. Anorther four escaped from
Ranau in July and again, with the help of local people, were fed and
fed and hidden from the Japanese until the end of the war.
1995, an agreement between the state government of Sabah, the government
of Australia, the veterans association Returned & Services League
of Australia (RSL) and the Sandakan Municipal Council resulted in the
creation of this memorial site. The Australian government built the
pavilion with an obelisk was erected on the memory site and restored
the remains of the technical equipment of the facility with a digger,
steam generator and other generator. The opening ceremony of the memorial
site was held on 18 March 1999. The memorial park is located about 1.5
kilometres southwest of present-day Sandakan Airport, which occupies
part of the former camp of the Australian B Force.
POW's whose bodies were recovered are buried in the Commonwealth War
Graves Commission war cemetery at Labuan. Those who could not be identified,
or who have no known grave, are commemorated on Memorials tp the missing
The memorial is divided into six stations that are connected by a circular
built Ruston-Bucyrus excavator was used for the construction of an airport
for the Japanese. During repairs, it was sabotaged by Australian prisoners
of war rendering it inoperable and so it never worked again.
and other generator became the main power source for the camp. The wood-fired
steam engine powered generator, was used for the lighting of the camp
and its enclosure.
Tree (The Big Tree) is a huge specimen of a Mengarisbaumes (Koompassia
excelsa) originally stood where the memorial obelisk is placed today.
It was the dominant structure of the POW camp by its size. Shortly after
the war, the tree was destroyed by a fire. A new Mengarisbaum was planted
near the entrance on 25 April 2008 for the park.
depot, storage area and kitchen
also operated a food depot and kitchen for the Japanese with a water
tank that has been preserved in its original concrete form.
entrance and access road
entrance was on the east side of the memorial park before the storage
area. The road leading to the airport and to the left and right was
the Mile 8 Road street from Sandakan to Ranau. It was from here, all
three marches to Ranau.
Commemorative Pavilion was opened on 18 March 1999 by the Veterans Affairs
Minister Bruce Scott of Australia. It contains a permanent exhibition
about the POW camp and the death marches in both English and Malay language.
that an app is available that can be downloaded to be used as a guided
tour of the memorial - details are available at the memorial reception;
i9t is recommended that headphones be used when using the app around
the memorial park. The app is available for both Apple and Android phones,
simply go to Apple APP Store or Google Play™ App Store and search
for Sandakan Memorial Park
the free encyclopedia - Sandakan Memorial Park;
Sabah Tourism - Sandakan Memorial Park]
side of the memorial
w ater containers
Commemorative Pavilion (above
Commemorative Pavilion Plaque
glass window inside Sandakan
of the camp layout
equipment (above and below)
surrounding the camp (above and below)