Wartime journalists wrote that our diggers often feared the jungle of Papua and New Guinea more than they feared the enemy. It was a hell of place to die.There were times when the badly wounded were given morphine and a gun and left to the mercy of the enemy to cover their mates escape. ‘Goodbye cobber, may God Bless You’ was whispered as a farewell salute.
Others had to be left where they fell. When time and circumstances permitted they were given a burial service and the site was recorded on crude sketch maps for recovery at a later time. Many were never to be found.
‘I have seen the time when you dig a number of holes in the ground and bury your dead’ wrote Laurie Howson of the 39th Battalion. ‘Nothing would be said, but you think ‘maybe it will be my turn next.’
Seventy years on our veterans of the war in Papua and New Guinea are at rest in three beautifully manicured cemeteries in Port Moresby (Bomana), Rabaul (Bita Paka) and Lae. [Read more...]