The following press release is going out on Friday 3 March 2006
(with an embargo till Sunday 12 March 2006) to all Australia media.
We have Garry Linnell to thank for this wonderful distribution.

Cheers, Lynette


The scene of Australia's worst tragedy in World War II has been rediscovered. Lost behind impenetrable jungle in Borneo for the past 60 years, the infamous Sandakan death march track, where more than 1000 Australian and British prisoners of war died amid unimaginable cruel conditions, has been identified.

Its route will be retraced in March by a visiting party of Australian Defence Force Personnel and the woman responsible for rediscovering the path, historian and investigative writer, Lynette Silver.

Silver has spent the past 14 years researching the Sandakan POW camp and the resulting death marches. Almost 2000 Australians lost their lives at Sandakan and in the resulting three death marches in 1945 across Borneo's rugged interior, where Japanese captors forced ailing Australian and British soldiers to walk a 250km trail.

Silver said: “My hope is that the Sandakan track will become as much a part of the nation's ethos as the Kokoda Trail and Gallipoli.

“The atrocities suffered by Australians and their allies at Sandakan should never be forgotten. Their heroism, sustained over a three-year period, was extraordinary and certainly equals that exhibited on any battelfield'. ”

Silver has combined forces with Tham Yau Kong, Sabah's leading trekking expert, to  locate and re-open the original death march track.  Silver rediscovered the track's route using a highly detailed hand-drawn map - the only known and complete map in existence given to her by a member of the 1945 body recovery team - and by plotting the location of every POW body recovered along the entire track.

The first section of the route, from Sandakan to Bauto, can also be followed, but  now passes entirely through oil palm plantations. The project to re-open the track has the full backing of the Malaysian and Sabah Governments and the Managing Director of Sabah Tourism, Datuk Irene Charuruks.

On 15 March,  Silver and Tham Yau Kong will accompany a small group of Australians, including a relative of one of the original prisoners of war and nine members of the Australian Defence Forces, on a six-day trek from Bauto across the mountains to Ranau, a distance of about 150 kilometres.  They will be the first people to walk in the footsteps of the  POWs since Australian Army recovery teams searched for bodies in 1946. Silver will be the first woman to follow the path.

The original route, cut by local people and  purposely made as difficult as possible in the belief that it would be used solely by Japanese troops, passed almost entirely though uninhabited areas. Once the war was over and bodies retrieved, the jungle  obliterated all trace of it. An attempt was made by local trekkers in the 1950s to locate the route, without success. 


Lynette Silver is available for interview on 02 9489 3949 until her departure for Sabah on 9 March.  For more information see  and