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Burwood Sandakan Memorial

Burwood Sandakan Memorial
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Burwood Sandakan Memorial, front view
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Burwood Sandakan Memorial, back view
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Burwood Sandakan Memorial, dedication plaque
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Burwood Sandakan Memorial, sculpture explanation plaque
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Burwood Sandakan Memorial, history plaque
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Burwood Sandakan Memorial, honour roll plaque
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Burwood Sandakan Memorial, honour roll plaque
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Burwood Sandakan Memorial, honour roll plaque
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Burwood Sandakan Memorial, honour roll plaque
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Burwood Sandakan Memorial, honour roll plaque
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Burwood Sandakan Memorial, honour roll plaques
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Burwood Sandakan Memorial, honour roll plaques
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Description / Background

The Burwood Sandakan Memorial is a brick and stone cenotaph, established in honour of those who died during the Sandakan Death Marches in the Second World War. 

The base of the structure is a rectangular brick plinth. Attached across its four sides are 10 bronze plaques, including nine honour rolls. These contain the names of more than 500 veterans who enlisted from the Sydney region and died as Prisoners of War in British North Borneo. The tenth plaque gives a brief history of the death marches. 

Sitting on top of the brick plinth are two granite slabs and two more bronze plaques. The top slab is smaller than the bottom slab, which also projects out over the plinth to provide protection for the plaques below.

The centre piece of the memorial sits on the top slab. It is a topographical model of the Sandakan and Ranau areas of Borneo, made of bronze. It includes the route taken on the death marches. A plaque explaining the sculpture is attached to the south face of the top slab and the dedication plaque for the memorial is positioned on the west side of the top slab. 

The memorial is located in Burwood Park. It was dedicated on 1 August 1993. It was the first of six memorials, all of similar design, built in the following suburbs: Tamworth, Wagga Wagga, Maitland, Bendigo, and Brisbane. They were established by the Sandakan Memorial Foundation Ltd.

More information about Sandakan can be found on the Australian War Memorial's website

Note: Of the nine honour plaques, the two additional plaques attached to the front (east) side of the memorial only include names and service numbers. In 1993, available records did not include the unit names of these veterans. Since then, the Department of Veterans' Affairs World War II Nominal Roll has been updated with this information. Unit names can be found in the veterans table below. 

Inscription

Front (east) - top slab

Sandakan

Front (east) - brick plinth

Plaque

2/20 Infantry Bn.
[Names]
Army Pay Corps
[Names]
8 Div. Postal Unit
[Names]

Plaque

2/19 Infantry Bn.
[Names]
2/29 Infantry Bn.
[Names]
8 Div. Provost Coy.
[Names]
2/26 Infantry Bn.
[Names]
8 Div. R.A.E.
[Names]

Plaque

2/18 Infantry Bn.
[Names]
Ordnance
[Names]

Two additional plaques

[Names and service numbers only]

Back (west) - top slab

Dedication plaque

This memorial was dedicated by Father John Brendan Rodgers, O.F.M. Eighth Division A.I.F. Chaplain Sandakan and Kuching

This memorial was unveiled by the Prime Minister of Australia the Hon. Paul Keating M.P. 1 August 1993

Ian Raffin, Mayor of the Municipality of Burwood 1993

Back (west) - brick plinth

Plaque

In memory of 1800 Australians of the 8th Division A.I.F. and 750 British Troops. They fought gallantly in the defence of Malaya and Singapore during World War II. Following the Fall of Singapore, they became prisoners of the Japanese and were transported to Sandakan in British North Borneo, now Sabah, in 1942 to construct an airfield, where 900 died of ill-treatment.

By the end of 1944, when allied forces were within striking distance of Sandakan, the Japanese command ordered the removal of prisoners inland to Ranau 165 miles (265 kilometres) west. On 29 January 1945, 470 prisoners guarded by 500 Japanese marched towards Ranau. Those unable to carry on were killed.

The second march comprising 532 prisoners left Sandakan on 29 May 1945, 183 arrived at Ranau on 26 June 1945. Only eight survived from the first march.

Of the 288 prisoners left at Sandakan there were no survivors.

On 1 August 1945, the surviving 22 prisoners at Ranau were massacred. Six who escaped were rescued by special forces.

This memorial honours those men who enlisted from the Hunter Region of New South Wales.

We will remember them

Sandakan Memorial Foundation

Plaque

H.Q. 8 Division
[Names]
2/10 Fd. Amb. A.A.M.C.
[Names]
A.A.M.C.
[Names]
General Base Depot
[Names]
2/6 Fd. Park R.A.E.
[Names]

Plaque

2/3 Mot. Amb. Coy. A.A.S.C.
[Names]
3 Res. M.T. A.A.S.C.
[Names]
1 Coy. A.A.S.C.
[Names]
2 Coy. A.A.S.C.
[Names]
4 Res. M.T. A.A.S.C.
[Name]
H.Q. A.A.S.C.
[Names]
22 Bde. A.A.S.C.
[Names]
H.M.A.S. Perth
[Name]

Left (south) - top slab

Sculpture plaque

The sculptured terrain of Sabah illustrates the route of the death marches, shown by a bronze ribbon, between Sandakan and Ranau which was substantially swap and dense jungle in 1945

Left (south) - brick plinth

Plaque

2/15 Fd. Regt. R.A.A.
[Names]
2/10 Fd. Regt. R.A.A.
[Names]
4 A/TK Regt. R.A.A.
[Name]
8 Div. Signals
[Names]
H.Q. 22 Bde. Coy.
[Names]

Right (north) - brick plinth

Plaque

2/30 Infantry Bn.
[Names]
2/12 Fd. Coy. R.A.E.
[Names]
2/10 Fd. Coy. R.A.E.
[Names]
27 Bde. Coy. A.A.S.C.
[Names]
L.A.D.
[Names]

Veterans listed on this memorial

Last held rank Given name Family name Conflict/s Service No. Service Campaign Read more
Pte Eric Arthur Abbott World War 2 NX40023 ARMY Borneo view
Pte James Clive Adam World War 2 NX30008 AIF Borneo view
Pte Thomas Adams World War 2 NX35315 AIF Borneo view
Pte Alexander Mitchell Adams World War 2 NX39989 ARMY Borneo view
Pte Percy Romer Addison World War 2 NX31849 AIF Borneo view
Cpl James Maxwell Ellis Allen World War 2 NX33148 ARMY Borneo view
Pte Albert Anderson World War 2 NX59261 AASC Borneo view
L Cpl David Annand World War 2 NX50181 AIF Borneo view
Pte Leonard Jack Annear World War 2 NX49646 AIF Borneo view
L Cpl George Ronald Archibald World War 2 NX27554 AIF Borneo view

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Address
Burwood Park
2 Comer Street
Burwood NSW 2134
Local Government Area
Burwood, Municipality of
Setting
Garden/park
Location status
Original location
Memorial type
Cenotaph
Recorded by
Vera Karpowtcz. Peter Booth.
Year of construction
1993
Dedication date
01 August 1993
Conflict/s
Second World War, 1939–45
Materials
Brick
Bronze
Granite