Wednesday, 20 January 2016
THE KINABALU GUERILLAS: Petagas War Memorial
Every year, on January 21, the people of North Borneo will commemorate the fallen heroes who fought against the Japanese during The Second World War. Following the fall of Southeast Asia to the Japanese Imperial Army, a patriotic youth name Albert Kwok organized an underground forces of more than 300 young men from various communities to fight against the Japanese. The uprising erupted on October 10, 1943. Sometime the Kinabalu Uprising is also known as the Double Ten. Among them was my grandfather, Charles Peter, at that time the Superintendent of Police since the British time. However, the ill-equipped guerillas were quickly defeated by the superior Japanese forces which was reinforced from Kuching, Sarawak. On January 21, 1944 a total of 176 men from the guerillas and their sympathizers were rounded up and transported by railway cargo wagon to Petagas.
The commemoration was organized by Jesselton (Kota Kinabalu) City Hall inviting government dignitaries as well as family members of those who were massacred by the Japanese at this site in Petagas, few miles from the City Center. City Hall organizer hope there would be more people, locals and tourists that can come and attend this yearly event.
At this commemoration, I happened to bump into an elderly English gentleman, who had stayed in Borneo for the past 30 years never failing to attend this ceremony yearly. He told me an interesting story. There was one young Chinese boy age 16 who help to distribute pamphlets to encourage the uprising which started on October 10, 1943. When the guerillas were defeated, that boy was also sent for execution. However, some of the Japanese soldiers, seeing him as only a boy, helped him to escape and advised him to stay away from urban areas. This boy grew up and died only a few years ago.
We pray for the souls of these brave warriors, THAT THESE MEN LAY DOWN THEIR LIFE FOR THEIR COUNTRY.
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