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  1. #1
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    ANZAC day in Borneo

    AUSTRALIANS IN BORNEO DURING WW II

    The ANZAC forces played a significant role in Borneo during the Second World War. Sandakan was the place where the many Australians spent time in a prisoner of war camp, and was the starting point for the infamous death marches to Ranau. After the fall of Singapore and Borneo to the Japanese, a prisoner of war camp was established just outside of Sandakan to house approximately 750 British and more than 1650 Australian prisoners who were sent to the camp during the period 1942-43. In 1945, when the Japanese started to realise that the war may have been lost, and the Allies were closing in, the emaciated prisoners were force marched, in three separate marches, to the village of Ranau in the jungle, 250 km away, under the shadows of Mount Kinabalu.

    On 28 January, 1945, 470 prisoners set off, with only 313 arriving in Ranau. On the second march, 570 started from Sandakan, but only 118 reached Ranau. The third march which comprised the last of the prisoners from the Sandakan camp contained 537 prisoners. Prisoners who were unable to walk were shot. The march route was through virgin jungle infested with crocodiles, snakes and wild pigs, and some of the prisoners had no boots. Rations were less than minimal. The march took nearly a year to complete.


    Once the surviving prisoners arrived in Ranau, they were put to work carrying 20 kg sacks of flour over very hilly terrain to Paginatan, over 40 km away. By the end of July, 1945, there were no prisoners left in Ranau.

    Only six Australians of the 2400 prisoners survived the "death march" - they survived because they were able to escape from the camp at Ranau, or escaped during the march from Sandakan. No British prisoners survived.

    This part of the war is considered by many to be the worst atrocity ever suffered by Australian soldiers, and compares to the atrocities of the Burma Railway, where fewer Australian POW's lost their lives.

    Those that survived the ordeal of the march, did so only because they escaped into the jungle where they were cared for by local natives.

    An Australian Memorial honouring the survivors, POW's, local civilians who help to clandestinely feed the prisoners, and soldiers who perished at Sandakan and during the death marches into the jungle, has been erected at what was the Prisoner of War Camp in Taman Rimba close to the city of Sandakan. There are just a couple of rusting bits of machinery around, and the place has an eerie air about it.

    The Sandakan Prisoner of war camp has now been transformed into a very beautiful park with a pavilion on site which houses the history of this very tragic period.

    The Jakarta Bintangs are headed there this week to play some footy against the Borneo Bears.


    Quote Originally Posted by jizzybloke
    No we didn't, more pics of women please!
    actually, funny you should mention that, I received a few more pics in my email today.







    Quote Originally Posted by ronrat
    The organiser of the Bears tells me they will have 6 bearettes for the next tournament
    In fact, I think that they have a whole lot more ... lookitthis!




    The Bears are organising an absolute cracker of a Aussie rules tournament for ANZAC day in balikpapan. perhaps a new thread should follow.... are you gonna be there this time Ronrat ??
    Last edited by kingwilly; 21-04-2009 at 09:16 PM.

  2. #2
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    oh well.

    they excited me...

  3. #3
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    [quote=kingwilly;994700]
    Quote Originally Posted by jizzybloke
    No we didn't, more pics of women please!
    actually, funny you should mention that, I received a few more pics in my email today.







    Quote Originally Posted by ronrat
    The organiser of the Bears tells me they will have 6 bearettes for the next tournament
    In fact, I think that they have a whole lot more ... lookitthis!




    The Bears are organising an absolute cracker of a Aussie rules tournament for ANZAC day in balikpapan. perhaps a new thread should follow.... are you gonna be there this time Ronrat ??[/quote

    No KW. Not this year. I will be at the MCG watching Collingwood. I will ask my brother if his knee has come good, But he should be there drinking at least. I assume Reardon has been on a scouting mission again and I will send a few emails . If you are going have a good time.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by ronrat
    No KW. Not this year. I will be at the MCG watching Collingwood.
    oh gods, another bladdy collywobble supporter!

    UP THE BOMBERS !

    Quote Originally Posted by ronrat
    If you are going have a good time.
    will do mate!

  5. #5
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    The Borneo bears are all set to host the first ANZAC day footy comp in Balikpapan. The Prez assures me that there is plenty of free beer and the bearettes are finely tuned. They will swap sides for the correct amount of beerage transfer. And if you are playing KW go easy on my little brother. Scotty his name is.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ronrat
    They will swap sides for the correct amount of beerage transfer.
    With a cheer squad like that I am onto it!

    Quote Originally Posted by ronrat
    And if you are playing KW go easy on my little brother.
    I'm most certainly playing mate! I promise I will not go easy on your brother..... well actually, perhaps he better go easy on me....I mean 'younger brother' - makes him sound, young and fit and all...

  7. #7
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    I used to drive the "Death March" route about once every 6 weeks in the 90's and, knowing the history, it was always a disturbing/ deep thinking and sobering time.

    On the lighter side though - Kevin Bloody Wilson describing the Hooch that the Abos drink as something so bad that you wouldn't give it to a Jap on ANZAC day always raises a smile !

  8. #8
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    its shaping up to be a Ripper lads!


  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Happyman
    I used to drive the "Death March" route about once every 6 weeks in the 90's
    why's that?

  10. #10
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    ^
    I ran our companies branch office in Kota Kinabalu for best part of a year and we had an agent in Sandakan.
    Used to drive over on a Friday - sort out his claims- go fishing in the mangroves for barra on Saturday - get pissed on Saturday evening - drive back on Sunday !


  11. #11
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    just back in, the weekend was a cracker, the Bears did a great job of organising and hosting.

    Jakarta Bintangs won the ANZAC DAY cup
    a make team of AFL players (Bintangs, Bulldogs and Bears) beat the Borneo French Rugby team
    and the Essendon Bombers beat collingwobbles.

    A Trifecta

  12. #12
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    We had a police escort in the morning to the service. nice.







    quite a fair contingent of the Indonesian armed forces were there, including some veterans.



    laying of the wreaths by various dignitaries, representatives and schools.




  13. #13
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    afterwards breakfast, traditional gunfire coffee with this special ingredient....


  14. #14
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    Operation Oboe was part of the History of the Aussies taking back Balikpapan from the Japanese. Yoboe's .... well, us basically.



    Obviously being a footy tour a few drinks a quoffed the night before, i aint saying what happened or did not happen, but one or two fellas may not have heard their alarms in the morning.


  15. #15
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    some action shots,

    Borneo Bears warming up.



    Jakarta Bulldogs. A youth development team that we have been looking after.



    Borneo Bears playing the Jakarta Bulldogs... bladdy little pricks beat us in 10 goals to 2 goals. Teach us to take them lightly, might be teenagers, but they getting a bit fit!








  16. #16
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    I was on field so no photos of our win against the Bears, our loss to the Bulldogs, and the Rugby game. (I'll post some later when the Bears send on the offical pics.)

    but they also had an excellent Auskick programme at lunch.



    oh, that's right, I promised Bearettes.



    The Grand Final was a rematch - Bulldogs vs Bintangs, in this game we took them much more seriously, and I suspect the 36 degree heat and several games footy and rugby took their toll on their fitness, the Bulldogs one advantage over us



    Winning silverware is sweet, copious amounts of beer was consummed from it later that evening and I think it might have got lost in the swimming pool later in the evening/morning.


  17. #17
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    nice report willy. good to see an aussie sacred day being celebrated as we do, where ever we are, i would have loved to have been there cheering it on , it was sobering to see the dawn service here, more numbers than i have ever seen prior anywhere, it appears the younger generation are finding their roots, maybe there is hope afterall

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by nedwalk
    more numbers than i have ever seen prior anywhere, it appears the younger generation are finding their roots, maybe there is hope afterall
    I think so, however, Gallipoli is facing a problem because of it, I think more of these parallel battles and theatres need to be promoted better.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingwilly
    Jakarta Bintangs
    Nice to see the winner was sponsored by a beer...

  20. #20
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    i like beer

  21. #21
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    I perhaps forgot to mention my impressions of Balikpapan, it is largely an oil/gas industrial town, however, in this case the companies have all really put back into the town and it is one of the cleanest cities I've encountered in Indonesia, apparently it is also one of the wealthiest, no surprises there.

    It still has a feel of the wild west about it from the various company complexes with the portable housing estates including wooden pubs and houses. Quite friendly, and for those that partake plenty of girls available.

  22. #22
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    AUSTRALIA’S WORLD WAR TWO EXPERIENCE IN BORNEO
    Borneo, a vast jungle covered island, was the scene of some of Australia’s most successful military operations in World War Two, and the site of one of our greatest tragedies.

    The Sandakan Death March
    Australia’s wartime experience in Borneo began in January 1942 when some 2000 Australian prisoners of war were transported by the Japanese from Singapore to a prisoner of war camp at Sandakan. These prisoners were to be used as forced labourers to build an airstrip. Food and medical attention was scarce, while their treatment by their Japanese captors was harsh. By 1944 conditions in the camp had deteriorated. The Japanese, after the discovery of a clandestine radio, several escape attempts and a failed local uprising, decided to move the prisoners further inland – to be known as the ‘Sandakan Death March’. In early January 1945, 455 of the ‘fittest men started the 260 kilometre forced march to Ranau. Another group of 536 men followed in May, while the remaining prisoners at the Sandakan Camp died of starvation, mistreatment or murder. Of the 991 prisoners who started the march, only some 200 reached the new camp at Ranau in June. By late July only 32, and in August as few as 15. These last few men were reportedly shot. Only six Australians were to survive the Sandakan Death March.

    Battle of Tarakan (Operation Oboe One)
    Tarakan was a small island located in the north-eastern corner of Borneo. The town and its oil fields were primary objectives when the Japanese invaded in 1942, and again was deemed important when it came for the Allies to invade Borneo. Operation Oboe One was to provide key airfields that the Allies could use to aid the upcoming campaign against Borneo, and provide the additional oil production capability.
    The operation opened when Allied air forces attacked Japanese positions from 11 to 29 April. Naval minesweepers cleared paths for the amphibious assault from 27 to 30 Apr. On 30 April, Australian commandos and engineers landed to clear beach obstacles. On 1 May, the Australian 26 Infantry Brigade, 9th Division landed west of Tarakan and secured the beachhead, suffering light casualties, for follow-on forces to land. The Brigade encountered fierce resistance from the Japanese Tarakan airfield defences, not capturing it until 5 May. The town of Tarakan fell the next day.
    By 15 May, Tarakan was declared secure, but Japanese resistance continued to harass Australian troops until 14 June when the remaining Japanese forces withdrew to Borneo. Those who remained on the island made a last organized counteroffensive on 19 Jun, which resulted in failure. Australia lost 250 soldiers during this operation.

    Battle of Brunei and Northern Borneo (Operation Oboe Six)
    The Australian 20th and 24th Infantry Brigades, 9th Division augmented with American troops landed in Brunei, seizing Labuan Island and the Sultanate of Brunei on 10 June. The Japanese, who had expecting a landing further down the coast, were taken by surprise, however, offered stiff resistance until overrun on 16 Jun. This was to be the most complex amphibious operation Australian forces were to conduct, with landings on four beaches simultaneously. Australia lost 115 soldiers during this operation.

    Battle of Balikpapan (Operation Oboe Two)
    On 1 July 1945, the Australian 7th Division made an amphibious landing a few miles north of Balikpapan after heavy air and naval bombardment, to seize the strategic town and its oil refinery. The Japanese defenders offered only sporadic resistance around Balikpapan; however, resistance was increasingly met as the Australian forces advanced toward Samerinda long the Milford Highway and around the airstrip at Manggar. By 21 July Japanese resistance was considered defeated, though small groups of Japanese continued to harass Australian troops for the next couple of weeks. Australia lost 230 soldiers during this operation.

    -Fred Dangar
    Last edited by kingwilly; 27-04-2009 at 09:58 AM.

  23. #23
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    I spent 3 hpurs looking for that monument. In the day time it is in a traffic island, but I did work it out later. I am sure more photos will be coming from the bears. Glad you had fun, except for the Essendon bit. Cheating maggot umpire.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by ronrat
    Cheating maggot umpire.
    poor loser

    *snigger*

  25. #25
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    I was there. Did we meet at the bar on the beach Friday arvo?

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