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WWII veterans leave for Borneo for 6oth Anniversary.

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Minister for Veterans' Affairs Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence

Sunday 5 June 2005 VA061


A group of 11 World War II veterans will depart for Borneo today to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Borneo campaigns in which more than 590 Australian lives were lost.

The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, De-Anne Kelly, who will lead the mission, said the Borneo campaigns were among the last of World War II before the ultimate Allied victory in August 1945.

“The mission party will visit the main landing places of the Borneo campaigns - Balikpapan, Tarakan, Labuan Island and Brunei Bay,” Mrs Kelly said.

“There will be a special service held at Labuan on Friday 10 June, 60 years to the day after the Australian landings there.

“This mission party includes veterans who were involved in the landings - from those who served on naval vessels, members of the forces that came ashore, those who flew overhead, those who supported the landings and a member of the medical support team.

“The mission participants represent all those who served in and supported the Borneo campaigns during 1945.

“Their stories bring to life the Borneo campaign and its important place in our wartime history.

“More than 75,000 Australians served in or supported the landings on Borneo,” she said.

The Minister said the Borneo campaigns included some of the largest amphibious landings undertaken by Australians and some of the most complex operations.

“The Borneo campaigns were being waged at the same time as prisoners of war at Sandakan were dying on the last of what would become known as the Sandakan death marches,” Mrs Kelly said.

“Almost 2000 Australians died as prisoners of war on Borneo during World War II. Only six men survived the Sandakan death marches in 1945. About 150 held at Kuching also returned home.”

“For many returning to Borneo this mission will be a time to remember lost mates and ensure the contribution of the men and women who served in the Borneo campaigns will not be forgotten.”

Media contact: Craig Clarke 0417 889 423

Editor’s note: List of veteran representatives follows.

Borneo 60th Anniversary Commemorative Mission 2005

Veteran representatives

Name Service State

Eric Dumesny Navy NSW

Douglas Hamilton Navy Vic

Edward Hartnett Navy Qld

Arthur Imison Navy Qld

George Ingledew Air Force Tas

Peter Kennedy Army WA

Ray Kennedy Air Force VIC

Rita Kneebone Army WA

Tom McLucas Army Qld

Kenneth Oliver Army NSW

Eric Sambell Army SA

Media contact (for veteran interviews): Angela Murphy (Department of Veterans’ Affairs in country) on 0417 982 395 Cindy West (Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia) on 0411 653 224