ANZAC Day In Malaysia.

I had not realised ANZAC DAY is observed in Malaysia. One site it will happen at is the Sandakan Memorial Park  where i attended the 2013 Memorial Day  event .. remembering the men who died on the death marches there – more deaths than any other such ‘march’.

More history I wasn’t aware of, perhaps as no New Zealanders were in involved, (unless they were in the British Army which was captured in Singapore and this is not known) was the Sandakan Death Marches – a series of forced marches in Borneo from Sandakan to Ranau.

I also learn in 1942 and 1943, Australian and British POWs, captured by Japan during the Battle of Singapore in 1942 were shipped to North Borneo to build a military airstrip and their own prisoner-of-war camps at Sandakan. As on the well-known Burma Death Railway, prisoners were forced to work, were often beaten and got very little food or medical attention. By the end of the war only five Australians, and one British soldiers survived, all of whom had escaped. It’s widely considered to be the single worst atrocity suffered by Australian servicemen during the Second World War and many Australians attend this emotional day and follow ‘in the footsteps of heroes.’

ANZAC DAY is commemorated with dawn services on 25th April annually. The initials mean  Australian and New Zealand Army Corps which was formed in Egypt and fought in Gallipoli. Nowadays the term has come to mean all New Zealanders & Australian defence personnel. There is a call in NZ to include the men and women who fought on both side in the 1800 NZ Land Wars.


Sandakan Memorial Service
Sandakan Memorial Service 15th August 2013

Author: Heather - the kiwi travel writer

Nomadic travel-writer, photographer, author & blogger. See more on and Amazon for my books (heather hapeta)