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Monday, August 06, 2012
New book tells the story of the nameless warriors of PNG
By MALUM NALU
book, Nameless Warriors, launched on Remembrance
Day on July 23 by former PNG Defence Force Commander and now PNG Ambassador to
Indonesia, Peter Ilau, tells the story of the “nameless warriors” for fought
for PNG during World War 11.
Nameless Warriors, written by Lahui Ako, describes
the life of one of PNG’s last remaining WW11 veterans, Ben Moide.
Nameless Warriors: The
Ben Moide Story is selling for K80 at UPNG Bookshop.
it was launched on the 70th anniversary of the first engagement by
PNG and Australian forces against the invading Japanese in WWII.
the chaos and death that followed came the enduring heroism of the Kokoda
Trail, and the special relationship that has bound PNG and Australia ever
the bloodiest campaigns of the Second World War began 70 years ago, on July 23,
has forever sealed the relationship between Australia and Papua New Guinea.
on this day, in 1942, that Japanese troops landed on the northern coast of New
Guinea and unexpectedly began to march over the Owen Stanley Ranges with the
intent of capturing Port Moresby.
succeeded, the mainland of Australia would have come under dire threat.
- Remembrance Day - marks the 70th anniversary of the first engagement between
the opposing troops on July 23, 1942, and from that engagement, as the
Australian force was progressively outnumbered, began the long fighting
withdrawal over the Owen Stanley Range.
fought, but according to the bulk of the
taubadas (white men), we remained nameless, we were just the native scout
or the Papua guide to them,” Moide says in the book.
to the gallant few who addressed us by name, I owe them my undying gratitude
for treating us as mates.
fact remains, without the help of all those nameless warriors and carriers, who
braved the sickness, rain, mud, hunger and despair and enemy of the campaign,
all would have surely been lost.”
ran away from home to join the Papuan Infantry Battalion at the age of 16 in
1942, he was part of the PIB platoon that ambushed the Japanese at Awala.
The taubadas’s order to fire on the
advancing enemy, and the ensuing action, propelled these mostly nameless
warriors into the annuls of PNG history.
Awala, from Kokoda to Deniki, to the Opi and Warriors rivers, and the Scarlet
Beach landings, Ben Moide beat a busy track with his comrades before returning
home in 1944 to act as a PIB instructor and final demob in 1945.
after the war proved difficult as the PIB veterans struggled to find their feet
in a society that had passed them by.
Moide perserveres and starts a family and legacy that saw him drive
Administrator Murray for a while before he became Dr Gunther’s drives to the
Waigani Swamp to spy out land for a learning institute.
was a member of the Hanuabada rugby league build-up in the 1950s, was a member
of the mighty Magani outfit in 1961-1962, and was employed with San Miguel and
SP Brewery before retiring in 1991.
Nameless Warriors is one of the very few books
written by Papua New Guineans on PNG wartime history, and should be embraced by
everyone, especially this generation which continues to take their freedom for
Lahu Ako, hailed from the large Motuan village of Hanuabada, in the Naational
his third book.
first was Upstream: Through Endless
Sands of Blessing (2007), which was followed closely by A Logohu in China (2007).
The Ben Moide Story. By Lahui Ako. University of PNG
Press. Port Moresby, 2012. 246 pages. K80 from University of PNG Bookshop.