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Veterans commemorate Australian WWII service in Borneo.

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Minister for Veterans' Affairs Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence

Friday 10 June 2005 VA062


The sacrifices of Australians in World War II have been recognised this week with a series of commemorative events marking the 60th anniversary of the Borneo campaigns.

The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, De-Anne Kelly, said she was proud to lead a commemorative mission party of 11 Australian veterans who attended the ceremonies in Borneo, representing Australians who served in the region and helped liberate the island during World War II.

“The Borneo campaigns included some of the largest amphibious landings undertaken by Australians and some of the most complex operations,” Mrs Kelly said.

“The liberation of Borneo was one of the last significant Australian operations of the war, and more than 75 000 Australian men and women served in or supported the landings, with more than 590 losing their lives in these operations. Almost 2000 Australians also died in Borneo as prisoners of war.

“During the past few days the mission party has attended commemorative ceremonies at two of the sites where Australians landed in 1945 - Balikpapan and Tarakan.

“Today, the mission party attended a reenactment of the landing at Labuan Island on

10 June 1945, and a sunset ceremony at Labuan War Cemetery in honour of those who lost their lives in the Borneo campaigns and as prisoners of war in Borneo.

“These ceremonies recognised the role of the Australian forces in helping to liberate Borneo during World War II and have paid tribute to the memory of the men and women who served in these campaigns.

“For the mission party members the journey has been a moving experience and has given them a chance to remember lost mates and reflect on the important role their service played in Australia’s wartime history,” Mrs Kelly said.

Editors/Chiefs of Staff, please note:

Vision and a shot list will be available. This vision from Borneo will be sent at 1pm (AEST) today and will be split for share use by Channel Nine, Sydney.

Media contacts: Craig Clarke (Minister’s office) 0417 889 423

Cindy West (DVA - Australia) (02) 6289 1162 or 0411 653 224 Courtney Murray (DVA- Australia) (02) 6289 4795 or 0413 994 704 Angela Murphy (DVA - Borneo) 0417 982 395