Beriberi, the deadly disease among Allied POWs during WWII

Do you know that a severe chronic form of thiamine (vitamin B1) is known as beriberi? The term ‘beriberi’ is believed to come from a Sinhalese phrase for ‘weak, weak’ or ‘I cannot, I cannot’. There are two main types in adults; wet beriberi and dry beriberi. Wet beriberi affects the cardiovascular

What you should know about the Battle of Beaufort

The Borneo campaign of 1945 was the last major Allied campaign in the South West Pacific Area during World War II (WWII) to liberate Japanese-held Borneo. One of the combats that took place during the campaign was Battle of Beaufort in 1945.   Located about 90 kilometers south of Kota Kinabalu, the

5 things you need to know about Operation Opossum during WWII

In 1945, the Australian Z Special Unit organised a dangerous mission to rescue the Sultan of Ternate, Muhammad Jabir Syah right under the Japanese nose. They called the mission Operation Opossum. Also known as the Kingdom of Gapi, the Sultanate of Ternate is one of the oldest Muslim kingdoms in Indonesia. It

Rowan Waddy and his experience as a Semut Operative in Sarawak

Operation Semut was a series of reconnaissance operations that took place in Sarawak. It was carried out by Australia’s Z Special Unit in 1945 during the final days of World War II (WWII). Altogether, there were four operations were undertaken under Operation Semut. Their main objectives? To gather intelligence and to train the

The forgotten Malayan labourers of Burma Railway during WWII

The Burma Railway is infamously known as the Death Railway. It is because thousands of people died building it during World War II (WWII). The Empire of Japan built it from 1940-1944 to supply troops and weapons in the Burma campaign. The railway is 415-kilometres long connecting Ban Pong, Thailand and Thanbuzayat,

Pigs reared in Batu Lintang Camp had better food than the POWs

When Batu Lintang camp was liberated on Sept 11, 1945 by the Australian 9th Division, the camp population was 2,024. Overall, there were 1,392 prisoners of wars (POWs), 395 were male civilian internees and 237 were civilian women and children. There were two death orders found among the official Japanese papers at

The forgotten All Saints Chapel of Sandakan POW Camp

The ruins of huts in the prisoner of war camp, Sandakan, North Borneo, October 1945. Those who were too ill for the march were eventually murdered here. Credits: Public Domain (Copyright expired) Courtesy Australian War Memorial: 120457 Do you know there was an Anglican chapel at Sandakan prisoners of war