The Borneo Graveyard – A Book by OCS Graduate John Tulloch (Dec 66)

Date Change

Please note that there has been a date change to the launch due to the Codiv-19 infection. The March launch has been postponed.

The book will now be launched with SABAH UBIQUE in August (see below for planned dates).

The Book
The Borneo Graveyard

John Tulloch is a December 1966 graduate of OCS who has served in the New Zealand and British artillery.

The launch of John’s book ‘The Borneo Graveyard’ will be at the Hyatt Regency Kinabalu, in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah on 12 March 2020.

John started his research for the book in in 2008, and his writing of the book began in 2015.  The book is now complete and is 492 pages, hard covered and is being published by a Kota Kinabalu publisher.

The back cover of ‘The Borneo Graveyard’ gives us an insight into what it is about:

Borneo, the land of the head hunters, was a World War II graveyard for POWs, internees, locals, Javanese and Japanese.

The narrative follows the raising of five Royal Artillery air defence regiments in 1939, their deployment in late 1942 to South East Asia, their short campaign in the Netherlands East Indies and eventual captivity as POWs in Java and North Borneo.

The account describes the invasion of Borneo and the subsequent four years of Japanese occupation.  It depicts the sadistic treatment of Australian, British, Dutch and Indian POWs in the various POW camps in North Borneo at Jesselton, Sandakan, Ranau, Labuan and Batu Lintang.  There were three Death Marches from Sandakan to Ranau.

The internee account covers the men, women and children from all over Borneo interned in Batu Lintang.  They experienced the unspeakable behaviour of the guards.  Several internees were killed or massacred trying to escape the Japanese regime or gratuitously executed before liberation.

The locals of Borneo suffered terribly.  Torture, executions and massacres occurred throughout. Malnutrition, starvation and death were endemic.  Tribes exacted their revenge and over 8,000 Japanese died during their withdrawals in Sabah.

The secretive Z Force gathered intelligence, trained local guerrilla fighters who harassed and exacted a heavy toll on the Japanese. The Australian military engaged in bitter fighting in the liberation of Borneo.

Finally, convalescence at Labuan followed by repatriation to the UK and the dreadful wall of silence experienced by so many of the returning FEPOWs and internees to the UK.

This disturbing history portrays the horror of the Japanese occupation of Borneo.

It is why the book is called ‘The Borneo Graveyard’.

John and the publishers have timed the release of ‘The Borneo Graveyard’ so it precedes VJ Day and ‘SABAH UBIQUE’, which is the Royal Artillery Act of Remembrance to be held in Sabah in mid to late August 2020.  John is also involved in the organising ‘Sabah Ubique’ and when he has the details he will send them to me for forwarding to you guys.

Planned Events

At this stage John has advised that SABAH UBIQUE will include:

  • 15 Aug (Sandakan Day). Held at Sandakan annually. The British and Australian High Commissioners attend. After the Service, the RA Marching Contingent (20-30), start their 164 mile walk along the DM route to Ranau arriving on the 25/26 Aug. That is the RA Act of Remembrance.
  • 27 Aug. The RA Service of Remembrance will be held in the English Garden, Kundasang War Memorial, near Ranau. Why this date? On 27 Aug 45, the last 15 Australian and UK POWs were executed. Attendance VVIPs, VIPs, locals, Australians and Brits.
  • Further activities being planned.

3 thoughts on “The Borneo Graveyard – A Book by OCS Graduate John Tulloch (Dec 66)”

  1. I look forward to reading John’s book about a sad and awful history of Japan’s part in WW2. It should be remembered by all.

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