P02494.038

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

ID number P02494.038
Collection Photograph
Object types
  • Black & white
  • Landscape
Date made 1950
Physical description
  • Black & white
  • Landscape

Description

North Borneo. 1950. An informal portrait of Dick Majinal, who, as a member of the local underground group, had been smuggling food, medicines and news to European civilians interned in an old quarantine station at Berhala Island at the entrance to the harbour at Sandakan. Majinal was the first local to approach the prisoner of war camp's intelligence officer, VX24597 Captain Lionel Matthews and provided the link with the local underground movement. Majinal was imprisoned by the Japanese but survived to be rewarded for his assistance. In 1946 the Australian-British Reward Mission led by Major (Maj) H. W. S. (Harry) Jackson, the 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)