A special commemorative service this week remembered the Riverina men who died during the Fall of Singapore in World War II.
The eight-day battle resulted in the loss of 7500 Allied soldiers, including Australians, who died before the February 15 surrender in 1942.
Four days later Darwin was bombed.
But it was the 22,000 troops, who were captured at Singapore, that caused the greatest heartache for Australia.
Keynote speaker Peter McClean said nearly one in three, being about 8000 Australians, died in captivity.
He said these men were broken during their internment, both physically and mentally.
Among the men who died in the fighting were WA Folkard, RF Howard, GW Miller (all Wagga), KF Murphy (Marrar) and LA Tipping (Coolamon).
Those who died as prisoners of war were JJ Crandall (Adelong, in Japan), JE Hughes (Batlow, in Thailand) and HW Wilmot (Coolamon, in Burma).
Wagga RSL Sub-Branch vice-president Richard Salcole said the battle and aftermath resulted in “the greatest loss of life in a prisoner of war situation across WWII”.
Mr Salcole joined an intimate gathering of armed forces personnel, veterans and city residents at the Sandakan Memorial on Wednesday morning.