Lest We Forget
On the outskirts of a dusty and traffic ridden town is a small piece of tranquility. The Kundasang War Memorial is the fitting tribute to the Commonwealth soldiers who died as a result of the Death Marches. The high walls that surround the memorial cut out the bustling noise and they protect the silence that lies within.
The Contemplation Garden displays many dark granite slabs upon the walls with the names of all of the fallen and this area has a length of water upon which you can see the reflection of Mount Kinabalu. In addition there are individual Australian, Bornean and British gardens. The British garden contains roses, a tartan walkway, thistles, leeks and many other plants and flowers that represent ‘back home’; it is here that the memorial and dedication ceremony took place.
Many Malaysian officials and military figures from all nations arrived amongst over 100 guests to take part in the service to remember the fallen; the date of 27th August is particularly poignant as it is when the last POW was executed (12 days after Japan had surrendered). Two members of the team each played the bagpipes and bugle throughout the ceremony and the audience had many moments in order to reflect. The Royal Regiment of Artillery Memorial was duly unveiled which now provides the Royal Regiment with a dedicated tribute to the fallen.
The Sabah Salute team has completed what it set out to achieve. The retracing of the Death March provided the physical realisation of the atrocities and the ceremony allowed the team to reflect upon the horrific actions that had taken place during WWII, many of these happening on the soil that we had recently walked across. The team leaves Borneo with mixed emotions. There is jubilation that we succeeded in re-tracing the Death March and the hope that, as we return to Britain, there are many spirits who are returning home with us.
Follow the intrepid trekkers
Read more… Sabah Salute – Lest We Forget
Read more… Sabah Salute – The Journey Begins
Read more… Sabah Salute – Team Enters Brunei
Read more… Sabah Salute – Crocodile Dundee
Read more… Sabah Salute – Really Sweaty Work
Read more… Sabah Salute – Bus Journey!
Read more… Sabah Salute – Endangered Primate
Read more… Sabah Salute – City of Sandakan
Read more… Sabah Salute – Blazing Saddles!
Read more… Sabah Salute – A Gentle Trek
Read more… Sahab Salute – In the News
Read more… Sabah Salute – The Final March