Saturday, April 23, 2011

Need to upgrade and promote Beaufort's Startevich memorial to tourists

BEAUFORT: Beaufort member of parliament Datuk Seri Lajim Ukin wants the Startevich Memorial here to be upgraded and promoted as a tourism product to attract visitors, especially Australians.

Lajim also called on the Sabah Tourism Promotion Board (STPB) to develop a special package for tourists which will include a guided tour to the memorial site, in addition to other places of interest in Beaufort.

“STPB should come up with a package which allows tourists to stay here and visit the site so that they can learn about the history of this area,” he said to reporters yesterday when met after a service at the memorial site.

Startevich Memorial was erected to remember the gallantry of Australian soldier Private Leslie Thomas “Tom” Starcevich, who in the World War II single-handedly destroyed four enemy machine gun posts near to where the site is now.

Beaufort together with Weston played important roles during the Borneo campaign of 1945.

After the Australian Ninth Division re-captured Brunei and Labuan from the enemies, they turned their attention to mainland Sabah as part of the final phase of their campaign, with the re-capture of Weston and Beaufort amongst the main objectives of their advance.

During the capture of Beaufort, the leading section of Starcevich’s unit came under fire from Japanese machine-gun posts and had suffered casualties.

Starcevich, a Bren-gunner, moved forward and assaulted each post in turn, killing five enemies in the process and causing the rest to retreat.

When the section was held up again, Starcevich adopted a similar tactic and single-handedly captured two more posts disposing off seven enemies.

For his bravery, Starcevich who grew up and later lived at Grass Patch, north of Esperance, Western Australia, served as a private in the 2/43rd Battalion of the Australian Army and was awarded with the Victoria Cross (VC).

The ‘VC’ is the highest decoration for gallantry “in the face of the enemy” awarded to members of the British and Commonwealth armed forces.

Continue reading at: Need to upgrade and promote Beaufort's Startevich memorial to tourists

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