Sunday, August 21, 2011

Aussie trekker claims to have made a Borneo Death March track discovery


AN Australian trekker says he has uncovered two new sections of the infamous Sandakan Death March track in Borneo which would help with the preservation of one of the country's most tragic and heroic wartime histories.

More than 2400 Australian and British prisoners of war died on the mountainous track during World War II, where they were sent to build an airstrip for the Japanese and were beaten, tortured and executed.

Only six Australians escaped and survived.

The route was lost for 60 years but opened to the public in 2006.

But trekker Wayne Wetherall, whose company Kokoda Spirit trains Victorian hikers, says he has discovered two new sections of the route after intensive research and interviews with those who witnessed the attacks on Australian soldiers.

"The real answers for us have been actually walking through the jungle and talking to the local people aged in their 90s now who were the carriers," he said.

His research also included piecing together information from the Australian Office of War Graves recovery maps, Japanese death certificates and the Australian War Memorial archives.

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