ABOVE RIGHT: Sandakan, October 24, 1945. North East Borneo Force. In an area of no. 1 compound of Sandakan Prisoner of War Camp, the bodies of 300 prisoners were discovered. They were believed to have been those left after two Death Marches to Ranau.
ABOVE RIGHT: Sandakan, October 24, 1945. North East Borneo Force. In an area of no. 1 compound of Sandakan Prisoner of War Camp, the bodies of 300 prisoners were discovered. They were believed to have been those left after two Death Marches to Ranau. AWM

Relatives of 47 local POWs sought for honour roll unveiling

PRISONERS of war from the Northern Rivers who were killed at Sandakan POW Camp and on the notorious Second World War Death March will have their names inscribed in a memorial Honour Roll plaque at St Andrew's Church in Lismore.

The Rotary Club of Lismore is hoping the families of all 47 local soldiers whose names will appear on the roll will be at the unveiling.

Rotary Club of Lismore secretary Brian Wheatley said 17 of the 47 names on the list were still missing current contact details for relatives.

He said organisers expect the unveiling to be an emotional event for families.

"It will be the first time they'll actually see those names and be able to touch them on the honour roll," he said.

"We have 47 names on the final roll, a very significant number when one reflects on the population of the Richmond Valley back in 1940."

The unveiling will be on the 70th anniversary of the murder of the last man (believed to be Captain John Oakeshott) on August 27.

Mr Wheatley said the honour roll was particularly emotive because many of the men were killed after the war and it took a long time for families to be notified.

"It was murder … because a lot of those men were killed after the declaration of the end of the war," he said.

In 2010, memorial plaques were placed in Lismore's Commemorative Park and, in 2012, the Rotary Club installed a Sandakan Memorial Window in the Warrior's Chapel of St Andrews.

The Honour Roll will be dedicated and unveiled by the Bishop of Grafton Dr Sarah Macneil at 10am.


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