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Remembering


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The Isurava memorial was built within metres of Kingsbury's rock.
[Office of Australian War Graves,
Canberra]

Kokoda
Remembering Isurava
The dedication of the Isurava memorial,
14 August 2002.

On 14 August 2002, Prime Minister John Howard and the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, Sir Michael Somare, unveiled a memorial at Isurava to the Kokoda Track campaign of August-November 1942. The panels on the memorial commemorate Bruce Kingsbury VC and all the Australians who, together with their Papua New Guinean allies, endured enormous hardships and made tremendous sacrifices on the Kokoda Track.

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Bill Guest and Colin Blume at the dedication of the Isuarava memorial.
[Image courtesy of 1st Joint Public Affairs Unit]

Colin Blume and Bill Guest were part of the Department of Veterans' Affairs mission to Isurava for the dedication of the new memorial. Both Colin and Bill had fought in the battles for Kokoda during 1942.

Sergeant William (Bill) Guest, 'A' Company, 39th Infantry Battalion, sailed on the Aquitania to Papua New Guinea and landed at Port Moresby on 3 January 1942. The men in 'A' Company trekked over the Owen Stanley Range and Bill took over the role of platoon commander when his senior officer contracted malaria. 'A' Company reoccupied Kokoda on 8 August 1942 but, outnumbered by the enemy and with no hope of resupply, they were forced to pull out on 10 August. Although the main group retreated quickly to Deniki, Bill Guest was responsible for getting the wounded to safety. He and his party of 21 men spent 6 days trekking through the jungle with no food and finally rejoined their battalion at Isurava. The men were sick and weak but fought on when the Japanese launched a full-scale attack on 27 August 1942. The 39th was saved from annihilation by the arrival of the 2/14th Infantry Battalion who fought alongside them, eventually relieving them so they could return to Port Moresby.

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Image courtesy of
Bill Guest.

After Kokoda Bill Guest went with his platoon to Gona where he took part in the Beachheads battles. Bill contracted malaria and dengue fever and spent much of 1943 in hospital in Australia. In 1945 he served at Balikpapan in Borneo with the 2/10th Infantry Battalion.

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Image courtesy of
Colin Blume.

Colin Blume was a pastry cook from Castlemaine, Victoria when he enlisted in the AIF in July 1940. He was posted to the 2/14th Infantry Battalion, part of the 7th Division AIF, and sailed to Palestine in October 1940. His battalion fought against the Vichy French forces in Syria in 1941 and remained on garrison duties there before they returned to Australia in March 1942. In August 1942 Private Blume went to Kokoda with the 2/14th. They trekked to Myola high in the Owen Stanley Range and then took part in the hard, desperate fighting around Isurava and the fighting withdrawal along the Kokoda Track.

Colin was promoted to Sergeant and went with the 2/14th to fight at Gona during the Beachheads battles as well as the campaigns in the Markham and Ramu Valleys in Papua New Guinea in 1943-1944.

 

 

Australia at war 3 September 1939
Libya and the Siege of Tobruk 1941
Greece and Crete April-May 1941
Syria and Lebanon June 1941
Malaya December 1941 to Moresby May 1942
Australia under attack 1940-1945
Coral Sea, Kokoda, Milne Bay May-September 1942
El Alamein October-November 1942
The Home Front 1939-1945
The Coastwatchers 1941-1945
Australian prisoners of war 1940-1945
Little-known operations 1939-1945
Papua 1942-1943
The Japanese retreat March 1943-January 1944
War at sea 1939-1945
Air war Europe 1939-1945
Bougainville, Borneo, New Britain, New Guinea 1944-1945
8 May 1945/15 August 1945
Australia at war 3 September 1939
Libya and the Siege of Tobruk 1941
Greece and Crete April-May 1941
Syria and Lebanon June 1941
Malaya December 1941 to Moresby May 1942
Australia under attack 1940-1945
Coral Sea, Kokoda, Milne Bay May-September 1942
El Alamein October-November 1942
The Home Front 1939-1945
The Coastwatchers 1941-1945
Australian prisoners of war 1940-1945
Little-known operations 1939-1945
Papua 1942-1943
The Japanese retreat March 1943-January 1944
War at sea 1939-1945
Air war Europe 1939-1945
Bougainville, Borneo, New Britain, New Guinea 1944-1945
8 May 1945/15 August 1945