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Minister for Veterans' Affairs
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Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on the Centenary of Anzac.
AUSTRALIAN PRISONERS OF WAR REMEMBERED 70 YEARS ON
The day that 15,000 Australian diggers and nurses were taken prisoner by the Japanese, following one of the most costly campaigns of the Second World War, is being remembered today on the 70th anniversary of the fall of Singapore.
In Singapore, the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Warren Snowdon, will join six veterans of the Malayan Campaign and the fall, at a memorial service at Kranji War Cemetery.
“We must never forget the courage of these men and women who were captured in Singapore and all across the Pacific region during the Second World War.
“They faced starvation, malnutrition, beatings and conditions beyond anything we could imagine. 8000 never made it home,” Mr Snowdon said.
The Malayan Campaign, which ended with the fall of Singapore, lasted just 68 days from 8 December 1941 to 15 February 1942.
On 15 February 1942, Allied forces laid down their arms and Singapore fell silent. In the aftermath more than 15,000 Australian soldiers were taken as prisoners of war.
Six Australian Second World War veterans travelled back to Singapore and Malaysia on a commemorative mission to recognise the service and sacrifice of Australians 70 years ago.
“Many of these men were prisoners following the fall, some working on the notorious Thai-Burma Railway, and I am honoured to be here with them to share in this emotional experience.
“Australian troops were renowned for their great fortitude, resilience and humour as prisoners of the Japanese and they helped each other get through, displaying the great Aussie quality of mateship.
“It is vital we continue to honour the memory of those who fought, and those who were subjected to horrendous conditions in prisoner of war camps not only in Singapore, but all around the Pacific,” Mr Snowdon said.
Editors’ notes: Follow the mission on Facebook at DVA Aus or on Twitter at @dvaaus.
Images and full biographies of veteran representatives and historical factsheets on the Malayan Campaign and the Fall of Singapore are available on the DVA Media Centre at www.dva.gov.au/media. For images of the day’s events please go to www.flickr.com/ dvaaus or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Historical images are available through the Australian War Memorial at email@example.com
Minister Snowdon: Lidija Ivanovski 02 6277 7820 or 0407108 935
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203 or 0428 805 578