Saturday, August 15, 2015

Sandakan Memorial Day - Australia and Malaysia honour fallen men of WW2

SANDAKAN: The friendship between Australia and Malaysia has in part been shaped by the common and bitter experience of war.

Governor-General of Australia Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd) said in the last months of World War Two, almost 2,500 Australian and British prisoners-of-war were forced to march over 250 kilometres in Sabah.

“This was a war we can never forget, a war we will never forget because what happened here so long ago continues to matter.

“This is why we are here today. To remember, to honour, and to pay our respects to those who sacrificed it all,” he said at the Sandakan Memorial Service at the Sandakan Memorial Park here today.

This year’s memorial service marks the 70th year of what is now known as the “Death Marches,” through which prisoners-of-war were made to walk from Sandakan to Ranau towards the end of the war.

Peter said only six of the over 2,000 men survived the war.

“Following the marches, so many futures were cut off and dreams and aspirations left unfulfilled. And of course the lives of families left behind forever. Those were cruel times.