Monthly Archives: November 2020
|Onto the Kokoda Track from camp at Bootless Bay, 5 September 1942.|
What do you say to a Dying Man? p85
|Forward positions as retreating Australian Battalions pass through then retreat to Ioribaiwa then Imita.|
Stand-To in the Jungle. p22
|Japanese advance stopped and then they retreat. Australian’s in pursuit.|
Kokoda Track Prayer. p45
Field Burial. p41
Occupying Templeton’s Crossing
|The Japanese made a stand at Eora Creek with Templeton’s Crossing their forward positions.|
The Ultimate Leader. p34
Kokoda to Oivi
|Back to Myola, then forward to Alola, Kokoda and Oivi.|
Keep Smiling. p86
|Fighting at Oivi, then Gona. Relieved on|
4 December 1942.
Watch your Front. p30
|Targets. Statistics. Reflection.|
Absent Friends. p15
Return to the Kokoda Track. p47
Poetry written by Bede Tongs OAM MM. Page numbers refer to ‘Poems of an Infanteer in the Firing Line’ by Bede Tongs, published in 2011 by Nerrigundah Publishing.
“But it was so long ago…”
Should I only write about now, or tomorrow?
Looking back gives me the opportunity to reflect on circumstance, freedom to choose (or not), being directed, fearful, courageous, seeing friends hurt and die.
It is a valuable perspective, a window into our common future through the lens of war.
These thoughts are in the context of this blog, 3rdBattalion1942. It started as a diary but has lain dormant for a while. The immediate source, my father, has passed away, leaving me to store and curate his stories. He and my mother Joan collected many stories from men of the Battalion, over the years.
Through a collaboration with a good friend, the next step for this ‘diary’ is to publish a series of vignettes telling the story of the 3rd Battalion AMF on the Kokoda Track and beyond.
Stuart Boag narrates the stories of men who, through circumstance, had no choice once they were called up as Universal Trainees. They were trained in Australia, landed in Papua then sent forward to help stop the Japanese advance along the Kokoda Track. Earlier, Battalions in action around Kokoda and other villages fought hard and delayed the enemy advance, stretching their supply lines. Australian retreat became attack.
I hope that the stories and the selected poems of my father Bede Tongs, give some idea of what it was like for these Australian Soldiers from September to December in 1942.