Recommended Reading

Blood Brothers

A story from way back in Sabah's history, to the events of 1942 to 1945, and beyond.
Lynette Ramsay Silver also wrote "Sandakan- A Conspiracy of Silence" published in1998. She acknowledged that this work only told one side of the story, and her new work places on record, the selfless contributions made by Sabahans during this most difficult period.

Blood Brothers is a fitting tribute to all those who died and suffered in the cause of freedom.

A story of great courage & sacrifice >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> ___________________________________

SANDAKAN A Conspiracy of Silence

  One of the best books one could ever read about the horror of WW2 Sandakan is :
SANDAKAN - A Conspiracy of Silence, by Lynette Ramsay Silver.
Lynettes' Dedication in the book reads :
"For the 6 that came home, and the 2,428 who did not"

She has published widely, mainly investigative histories, and also, a number of childrens' books. Lynette's book on Sandakan Prisoners of War during 1942-45 is a book difficult to put down; it is by far, the best account I have ever seen relating details of the horror of the Camp, the Death Marches and the brutal treatment of POWs regularly meted out by the Japanese, Formosan and Korean guards. The story also explains the plans hatched in Australia to save the POWs, and how those plans were botched, and finally cancelled. And why  details of those plans magically disappeared after the War.
Lynette masterfully re-creates  Australian  concerns regarding the Sandakan POWs in the aftermath of WW2, and how the families at home were starved of any worthwhile information.
Its a powerful that had to be written, and definitely one that should never be forgotten.

If you are buying - try to get the 2007 Edition


Hell On Earth – a tale of cruelty, bravery amid the Death Marches

by Winnie Kasmir. Posted to a Borneo newspaper on August 16, 2013, Friday

‘Hell On Earth’ book

SANDAKAN: The book ‘Hell On Earth’, written by Michele Cunningham, was launched during the Sandakan Day welcoming dinner hosted by the Sabah Tourism Board at Sandakan Municipal Council president Datuk Ir. James Wong’s residence here Wednesday night.

The book tells the heart rending story of Australians who suffered brutal imprisonment in a Japanese POW (prisoner of war) camp in Sandakan, the very name of which has come to symbolise cruelty and ill-treatment.

In the middle of 1942, after the fall of Singapore, almost 3,000 Allied prisoners of war were sent from Changi to Sandakan and Kuching - and out of all them, 2,500 men had lost their lives.

Some of these unfortunate pows lost their lives in Sandakan on the infamous death marches (and also at Kuching) . Fearing that the war was being lost in early 1945, the Japanese decided to move the prisoners inland from Sandakan to Ranau; the forced marches are known as the Sandakan Death Marches. Whether from sickness, starvation, torture, appalling violence, or at the hands of their guards, all the while as they were forced to keep moving along a seemingly never-ending track.

Only six Australian POWs survived the death marches, out of nearly two and a half thousand who were incarcerated there.  Michele Cunningham’s father, was one of the Australian Officers removed from Sandakan in October 1943 and sent to Kuching. The Japanese considered the Officers' influence on the POWs was impeding progress on the airfield construction at Sandakan.

Through the mateship and common bond of the survivors of both Sandakan & Kuching, Michelle gained access to their stories and gives an account of their courage: men who refused to break no matter how harsh they were treated. It is a story of the depths to which the Japanese had sank. ‘Hell on Earth’ is a remarkable story of bravery, brutality, camaraderie and survival.

The ceremony was attended by Special Tasks Minister Datuk Teo Chee Kang, who represented the Chief Minister of Sabah, Australian High Commissioner Miles Kupa, British Deputy High Commissioner Ray Kyles, Tourism, Culture and Environment Assistant Minister Datuk Pang Yuk Ming, Sabah Tourism Board chairman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai, Burwood Council deputy mayor Ernest Wong, Boyup Brook Council, Western Australia Shire President Micheal Giles, Sandakan Municipal Council president Datuk Ir. James Wong, local leaders and family members of the POWs.

Also by the same author: Defying the Odds (2006)

  Fighting Monsters by  Richard Wallace Braithwaite

Richard is the son of Dick Braithwaite,- one of the six who escaped the POW camp during the Sandakan Death Marches in 1945, and lived to tell the tale. Dick died in 1986, still wanting the story to be properly told.
This led to a project that has lasted for the best part of 30 years of the author's life, culminating in this book.

It's an unusual and extreme Sandakan POW story   ; it's in  4 stages: active resistance in 1942-3, stubborn resistance in 1943-4,the collapse of civilized existence in 1945, and finally, the postwar decades of torment for the six damaged survivors, the gradual assimilation of the story, the healing of the damage and the commemoration of the tragedy by the families and communities involved.
Students of the Sandakan Tradgedy will find this work very satisfying.

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Latest comments

16.04 | 16:35

I will use them if you send them to me.

16.04 | 16:01

I served in the RAF in FEAF Changi 1952-53 as Command Public Relation Photographer and have a large collection of B&W photographs taken during this period

16.04 | 15:32

Please send me an email:

16.04 | 15:24

Served with royal greenjacketes 62 to 65 in Malaya and Borneo

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