Remembering our fallen: The Kokoda Track & beyond
The significance of the challenge
It’s challenging deciding to walk the infamous 96 kilometres Kokoda Track, let alone, tour the northern beachheads of Buna, Sanananda and Gona in Papua New Guinea.
The overland trek that cuts through the rugged and pristine rainforest jungles of the Owen Stanley Range like a never-ending serpentine is no walk in the park. Equally formidable are the northern beachheads, adorned with asphalt-like coloured shorelines, with its hot climate, sweltering humidity and unforgiving monsoonal wet weather.
Regardless, the onerous trip has great significance and relevance for many of us. It’s also an emotional one since we travel to be reunited with relatives and family members who fought and died in PNG during the Second World War.
Doing it for a loved one
Only recently on 14th September 2017, we were accompanied by the family of NX130152 Sergeant J.P. Campbell of the 55/53rd Australian Infantry Battalion, who was killed on 7th December 1942 during the Battle of Sanananda. SGT Campbell’s battalion was part of the 30th Brigade whose task was to clear and capture Sanananda of heavily fortified Japanese positions.
With our help, SGT Campbell’s family got the opportunity to travel to Sanananda and see exactly where he was believed to have been shot by the Japanese. They also visited his grave at the Bomana War Cemetery on the outskirts of Port Moresby where they were able to pay tribute and pay their respects.
SGT Campbell died an honourable death at the age of 21 doing what he loved i.e., serving his country.
WW2 battle sites in PNG like the Kokoda Track is fast becoming the focal point for war commemorations for individuals and family groups on trips to remember and pay tribute to our servicemen and women. This is important because those who serve in our defence force dedicate their lives to ensuring Australia is a safe, secure and prosperous nation.
So at every commemoration when we pause in silence to remember them and pay tribute, we should be striving to help and serve others, as they did.
Planning a pilgrimage
Are you planning a pilgrimage Kokoda trek or Buna, Sanananda, Gona, Milne Bay or Rabaul tour? We can help you facilitate the trip like we’ve done for others.