Sunday, June 15, 2014

Lost Australian soldiers buried with full military honours after nearly 70 years

Remains of two men killed by Japanese near the end of second world war laid to rest in PNG cemetery

 Australian Associated Press
Bomana war cemetery png
The Bomana war cemetery in Port Moresby. Photograph: Alan Porritt/AAP
Two Australian soldiers killed by Japanese forces near the end of the second world war have been buried with full military honours.
Lance Corporal Spencer Walklate and Private Ronald Eagleton, both members of Z Special unit, were buried in a ceremony at the Bomana war cemetery, Port Moresby, on Thursday.
Their remains were recovered on Kairiru Island, off the north coast of Papua New Guinea, last year after a search by the army's unrecovered war casualties unit.
Both were members of an eight-man Z Special patrol in what was called “operation copper” to Muschu Island in April 1945 which aimed to investigate Japanese naval guns which could imperil the allied landing planned for Wewak.
The mission was a disaster. Japanese forces discovered the Australians and hunted them down. One, sapper Mick Dennis, managed to swim to the mainland, and survived.
It was thought Walklate and Eagleton drowned as they and others tried to escape. But it emerged they managed to reach Kairiru where they were captured, tortured and beheaded.
Dennis, 94, plus soldiers from the Special Air Service regiment and the 1st and 2nd Commando regiments provided the funeral party on Thursday.
Army chief lieutenant, General David Morrison, said the army was committed to honouring every Australian soldier lost in combat.
“We must never forget those who served before us, and whose legacy we live to today,” he said.
Brian Manns, manager of the unrecovered war casualties unit, said the funeral was the culmination of years of work.
“The investigation took several years and involved an immense effort,” he said.

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