P02494.021

Image copyright: Copyright expired - public domain
Public Domain Mark This image is in the Public Domain

ID number P02494.021
Collection Photograph
Object types
  • Black & white
  • Landscape
Date made October 1950
Physical description
  • Black & white
  • Landscape

Description

Jesselton, North Borneo. October 1950. Informal portrait of Halima binte Binting, widow of Matusup bin Gangau, holding their child. Matusup, who was part of a local assistance group, had been executed in Kuching, along with other civilians, for helping the prisoners of war in Sandakan Camp. Halima had also acted as a go-between for her husband and VX24597 Captain (Capt) Lionel Matthews, the camp-appointed intelligence officer. On one occasion Halima was caught talking with Capt Matthews and was interrogated and tortured by the Japanese but was later released. For her husband's assistance Halima was rewarded by the representatives of the Australian-British Reward Mission. In 1946 the Mission led by V18803 Major (Maj) H. W. S. (Harry) Jackson, Australian Government representative, was joined by Maj. R. K. Dyce, representing the British Army, and two journalists from the ABC, Colin Simpson and William McFarlane, travelled to North Borneo to investigate, report and reward the assistance provided to Australian and British prisoners of war (POWs) by local natives. In 1942, 1800 Australian and 600 British POWs were sent to Sandakan from Singapore and Java. Those prisoners still alive in the Sandakan POW Camp in January 1945 were forced to help evacuate the Japanese Imperial Army from Sandakan to Ranau in three brutal death marches where the men were forced to march the 150 miles to Ranau. Any POWs still alive after the last march, were killed. Only six prisoners, who had all escaped during the death marches, were still alive at the end of the war. POWs had made pledges to the local people who had assisted them and the Australian Government decided that these obligations should be investigated and rewarded. (Donor H. W. S. Jackson)