Service for Sandakan in Tamworth

TAMWORTH holds a special place in its heart for the thousands of men who lost their lives in the Sandakan prisoner of war camps and death marches.

The city remembered these World War II atrocities at the annual commemoration service last  at Anzac Park.

Tamworth RSL Sub-branch publicity officer Sandra Lambkin was the keynote speaker at the service and read a letter from author Paul Ham to the Japanese Emperor requesting a national apology for the atrocities which caused the deaths of hundreds of men. Mr Ham wrote the book Sandakan: The Untold Story of the Sandarkan Death Marches.

The apology has not been forthcoming.

Mrs Lambkin said the nation deserved to know the truth of its history.

“Such things should never be forgotten, lest they be repeated,” she said.

“It’s right and proper to meet and commemorate our war dead.”

The service attracted many community members, war veterans and descendants of Sandakan’s victims.

Tamworth RSL Sub-branch president Barry Follington said it was fitting Tamworth had a Sandakan memorial because so many of the POWs, particularly from 8th Division, were from this region.

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