During the Second World War, Sandakan contained a POW-camp, where the prisoners were forced to build an airstrip.
From here, most prisoners were forced to three forced marches to Ranau, 240 kilometres west of Sandakan,between January and June 1945. On these marches approximately 500 prisoners died. The remainder died at Ranau or at the Sandakan camp. By the end of August 1945, all POW's were dead except for six Australian survivors who could escape during the death marches. No British survived. In total, 2,428 prisoners died.
On the location of the prisoner-of-war camp in Sandakan is now a memorial park.
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