The Sandakan Death March

My uncle, Walter Hogg, Uncle Wattie, joined the war effort as Australia was sending troops in a last ditch attempt to save Singapore. This was in 1942. Singapore fell soon after he arrived, he was shipped off to Sandakan in eastern Borneo ( which was a British Crown Colony , I think). He was Corporal  in the Postal Corps. I have no idea what they did as there were only 2 postcard that ever came out of Sandakan from him, tick boxes with Japanese inscriptions. He made it through till March 1945 when he succumbed to malaria and starvation before the death march. From 2500 initial troops, about 500 or more were marched from Sandakan to Ranau. The only ones who survived were 6 who escaped. Looking from here out through the hills it must have been savage as the hills are big and were covered in jungle.

The  memorial at Kundasang (near Ranau)  , which was apparently set up by the people of Sabah ( not the Commonwealth War Graves Commission who funded Labuan and the Thai Burma Railway cemetries) fell into disrepair and was revived with he financial assistance of a KK businessman. There are 3 gardens surrounded by stonewalls, Australian , British and Bornean. Again, Uncle Wattie is memorialised in a plaque.


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