This series of blog posts is part of the A to Z 2019 Blogging Challenge in which I will write snapshot memories of my early married life in the then Territory of Papua New Guinea.
No, I haven’t forgotten my alphabetical order, but today is Anzac Day in Australia so I’ve jumped over V to post W today.
Lest we forget
The meaning of war in the tropics
Comes home when you live there.
The pounding rain, the heavy clouds
The dense jungle obscuring villages.
No wonder some men were overtaken by fear
As the leaves closed in on them
(do read this link and the comments especially)
This poem by David Campbell captures it also –
An extract from Men in Green:
Their eyes were bright, their looks were dull
Their skin had turned to clay
Nature had met them in the night
And stalked them in the day.
And I think still of men in green
On the Soputa track
With fifteen spitting tommy-guns
To keep a jungle back.
Soon after my arrival in Milne Bay
Planes were searching through the clouds
For a crashed aircraft missing on a mountain of dense jungle
This sound on Anzac Day evoked a sense of war and danger
Bringing it home to me in a real way, not theoretical.
The Battle of Milne Bay should rank with Kokoka or Gallipoli
The first land defeat of the Japanese during the war
Needs to gain more prominence
A Victoria Cross won not far from our home
By Corporal John French from Crows Nest, Queensland.
The allied airfield at Gurney was adjacent to Gili Gili Plantation
Where my husband worked before our marriage
An old street sign found there is a proud heirloom
A reminder of some ANZAC
For whom it was a little bit of home.
French and so many other men who gave their lives
Are buried in Bomana Cemetery in Port Moresby
A site where we took our visitors.
Another historic location for us to visit was Owers’ Corner
Near Sogeri, on the Moresby side of the Kokoda Track.
Last week I talked about my husband’s early days in Popondetta
Less than a decade from the war
It had been near the northern end of Kokoda
So many men would have succumbed without their own courage
Or that of the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels who supported them.
My uncle was an Army cook in PNG and I inherited his photographs. They do say an Army marches on its stomach.
Lest we forget
I have written two posts about Anzac Day as part of previous A to Z challenges: