Australian War Memorial’s Photos of Heavily Bombed Jesselton During World War II
If you stand right in the heart of Kota Kinabalu or Jesselton today you won’t be able to imagine the destruction the city had experienced during World War II.
As part of a campaign to liberate Borneo from the hands of Japanese, a few bombing missions were launched. One of them is by No. 31 Squadron RAAF using Beaufighter Aircraft. They operated from an airstrip on Sanga Sanga Island in the Southern Philippines.
If you’re curious on how Jesselton looked like before World War II, this page has very good collection of old street photos of Jesselton.
All photos below were acquired from Australian War Memorial and they were taken by photographer Sgt F. A. C. Burke.
Bomb damaged railway carriages at Jesselton station. The Atkinson clock tower is in the distance.
1945-10-06. Some of the bomb damage at Jesselton, British North Borneo.
1945-10-08. Bomb damaged houses in a waterfront street.
1945-10-06. A bomb damaged residential area of Jesselton. The railway station and clock tower are in the middle distance.
A total destruction of Jesselton as a result of heavy bombardment.
Men of the 2/32nd Battalion marching through the ruins of Jesselton seen from an archway at the entrance to the Jesselton railway station.
Just last month, I had the opportunity to walk near the Atkinson Clock Tower and this is how it looked today. It’s the only remaining structure from old Jesselton that’s still standing.