Lintang Officers Camp, Kuching - Sarawak
Lintang Officers Camp, Kuching – Sarawak
Batu Lintang camp (also known as Lintang Barracks and Kuching POW camp) at Kuching, Sarawak on the island of Borneo was a Japanese internment camp during the Second World War. It was unusual in that it housed both Allied prisoners of war (POWs) and civilian internees. The camp, which operated from March 1942 until the liberation of the camp in September 1945, was housed in buildings that were originally British Indian Army barracks. The original area was extended by the Japanese, until it covered about 50 acres (20 hectares). The camp population fluctuated, due to movement of prisoners between camps in Borneo, and as a result of the deaths of the prisoners. It had a maximum population of some 3,000 prisoners.
On the morning of 28th March 1943 ‘E’ Force departed Changi for Kuching, Sarawak on the de Klerk. The force consisted of 500 AIF and 500 British soldiers including 36 members of the 2/4th Machine Gun Battalion. On arrival E Force camped at Kuching for 8 days before later moving on to Borneo arriving at Sandakan 9th April 1943.
The Japanese in Borneo were fearful of a PW uprising, certainly this was part of the reason for the 1945 death marches to Ranau and the transfer of Australians from Sandakan in 1942 and 1943 was largely as the result of events at the latter camp.
Following two escape attempts within weeks of ‘B’ Force’s arrival at Sandakan, the Japanese started separating the officers from their men. On 27 October 1942 a party of seven senior officers including Lt John Morrison and Lt Brian Walton of the 2/4th and five others left Sandakan for Kuching, arriving on 3 November. Here they formed the basis of the Australian officers’ camp and were joined by the two senior AASC officers, who had been taken to Kuching by the kempai tai for interrogation about the Sandakan escape attempts.