Sketch by Jack Chalker

Back to Sandakan

This story is not Public Domain. Permission must be obtained before any part of this story is copied or used.

Peter Lai finally arrived at Sandakan Jetty in late 1945 and at the jetty Gabriela was waiting anxiously as he came down from the little plane wearing the military uniform.

Peter was reunited with his family again.

Initially, Peter was quite upset when little Bryan ran away, crying in fear as he tried to take Bryan into his arms, apparently Bryan couldn’t recognise his own father and it took a while before Bryan would accept him but eventually all was well.

Peter was reappointed back to his old job and served at one of the local clinics at Mile 8.

A short time later he was informed by the medical officer, that he was to be given the Kings Medal Award by the Australian and British Commonwealth of Nations.

Award Letter


Appreciation Letter

Award letter given to Peter by the Australian Government on behalf of the Allied Forces


Letter of appreciation from the Medical Service Department

Click on a letter above to zoom in

 The Governor of Borneo flew from Jesselton to Sandakan especially for the award ceremony. It was a poignant moment for Peter with the calendar showing the date to be 21st January 1947.

Receiving Award-tn

Peter receiving his award from the Governor of North Borneo in 1947

At the ceromony Peter’s thoughts went back to his fellow friends who were beheaded or executed and he prayed that their sacrifices would never be forgotten..

Kinabatangan Dispensary 1948Peter settled down at Wallace Bay. Sebatik Island, working for Bombay Burma Trading Cooperation as chief dresser in charge of the dispensary.


The war had changed Peter. Normally sociable, he preferred to keep to himself, he became quite suspicious of people around him, often wondering which of his so-called friends had betrayed the group.


Nevertheless, but he never regretted what he had done, he knew that it had been the right thing to do.







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