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  • Wartawan Nabalu News

Anzac Day honours fallen heroes of WWII in Sandakan Memorial Park

26 April 2023

By Wartawan Nabalu News

SANDAKAN: Sandakan Memorial Park, a site that commemorates the thousands of Australian and British prisoners of war who died at the hands of the Japanese during World War II, hosted a ceremony to mark Anzac Day on April 25, 2023.

The ceremony was attended by Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Dr Joachim Gunsalam, who represented Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Haji Hajiji Haji Noor, and Australian High Commissioner to Malaysia, Dr Justin Lee, along with 61 Australian visitors.

Dr Joachim said the park, which is located in the Sibuga Forest Reserve, about 11 km outside of Sandakan, has become one of the most visited parks in Sabah, recording a total of 7,693 foreign visitors this year alone.

He said this also shows that the ultimate sacrifice, bravery and courage of the fallen heroes are always remembered, preserved and honoured at all times.

"No number of words can describe the ultimate sacrifice made by these young men and women. In those days, these young men and women may not have any choices because it was a required duty to serve. They came to the front line, leaving their families and beloved ones behind to serve a foreign land," he said.

He added that Anzac Day is a sacred event for all as they remember the heroes who served heroically, full of dedication and grit, and many had given up their lives in an unknown land in order to bring peace to the world.

The park witnessed the death of approximately 2,400 Australian and British prisoners of war held by the Japanese in the Sandakan POW camp, within the sight of Allied victory in the Pacific war.

The park also includes a small museum that serves as a memorial to the victims of the war. The memory of WWII is emphasised by the rusting remains of an excavator and a generator and a boiler which still lie in their original positions near the steps leading up to a small Commemorative Pavilion.

Special memorials – Anzac Day (25 April) and Sandakan Day Memorial (15 August) are commemorated annually in this park.

Anzac Day is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand that honours the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who fought at Gallipoli in Turkey during World War I.


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