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Gordon Cresswell Taylor – Sandakan Death Marches

April 24, 2019

The Sandakan death marches were a series of forced marches in Borneo, from Sandakan to Ranau. These marches resulted in the deaths of 2,345 allied prisoners of war, held captive by Japan, in the Sandakan Prisoner of War Camp,during the Pacific campaign of World War II.  By the end of the war, of all the prisoners who had been incarcerated at Sandakan and Ranau, only six Australians survived, all of whom had escaped. The Sandakan death marches are widely considered to be the single worst atrocity suffered by Australian servicemen during the Second World War.

My ancestor Gordon Cresswell Taylor VX50676 was one of the soldiers who died while marching in these death marches.  His cause of death was enteritis which is a disease of the intestine caused by eating food contaminated with bacteria.

“Gunner Gordon Cresswell Taylor, 4th Anti Tank Regiment, Royal Australian Artillery. He was one of over 2000 Allied prisoners of war (POW) held in the Sandakan POW camp in north Borneo, having been transferred there from Singapore as a part of B force. The 1494 POWs that made up B Force, were transported from Changi on 7 July 1942 on board the tramp ship Ubi Maru, arriving in Sandakan Harbour on 18 July 1942. Gunner Taylor, aged 29, died as a prisoner of the Japanese on 14 April 194” – war service documents

Gordon Taylor, born 25 July, 1915, was the son of Thomas and Catherine May Taylor of Brunswick, Victoria. 


Commemorated at Labuan Memorial, Malaysia.
Number of casualties: 2315
Cemetery Memorial Reference: Panel 1


Service Number VX50676
Died 14/04/1945
Aged 29
A.I.F. 4 A/Tk. Regt.
Royal Australian Artillery
Son of Thomas and Catherine May Taylor, of Brunswick, Victoria.

Labuan Memorial

The Labuan War Cemetery is on the small island of Labuan (Sabah, Malaysia) in Brunei Bay, off the coast of North West Borneo. The Memorial consists of a colonnade forming a forecourt immediately inside the wrought iron gates of the main entrance to the cemetery. 


This memorial stands on the former site of the Prisoner of War Camp.


From → Family stories

  1. Appalling. I never understand inhumanity 😦

  2. A very sad story. What a loss to his family.

  3. Hi Jen, I was talking to my cousin yesterday and she has a letter from a soldier who wrote to my Uncle in about 1915. My uncle was 12 and had knitted some socks to be sent to the soldiers. As she read the letter I felt like I was there. I was also thinking about you because you would have loved that.

    • I do love to hear this Sue. It’s very touching. You have reminded me that when I was 13 I wrote letters to a soldier in Vietnam. We were each given a person to write to who didn’t receive letters. I haven’t thought of that in years. Thanks for the memory prod

  4. What a sad history for your family to have Jennifer. Nicely compiled.

    • Thanks for your comment Deb. Sadly there are many families suffering from war. And sadder still is that it’s still happening

  5. Glynis Spencer (née Longridge) permalink

    Thanks Jennifer. Very sad indeed. My brother Gordon was named after him. We never got to meet him. My other brother Keith gave me the Sandakan book oxo

    • Great to hear from you Glynis. I did wonder if Gordon was named after him. I have the Sandaken book. It’s a very interesting but very sad read.

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