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Correspondent’s View

The Golden Stairs up Imita Ridge. Engineers cut more than 2,000 steps into the mountain.

The Golden Stairs up Imita Ridge. Engineers cut more than 2,000 steps into the mountain.

October 1942, Australian journalist, George H. Johnston, recorded his graphic account of the rigors, of what he called, the toughest fighting in the world: 6451302 “The insect life, from scorpions to butterflies, is impressive, but only for a time though.  You eventually reach a stage when flora and fauna and even the Japs gradually lose interest.  Your mental processes allow you to be conscious of only one thing – ‘The Track’ – or more usually – ‘The Bloody Track.’

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“You listen to your legs creaking and stare at the ground and think of the next stretch of mud and you wonder if the hills will even end.  Up one almost perpendicular mountain face more than 2,000 steps have been cut out of the mud and built up with felled saplings inside which the packed earth has long since become black glue.  Each step is 2-foot high.  You slip on 1-in-3.  There are no resting places.  Climbing it is the supreme agony of mind and spirit.  The troops, with fine irony, have christened it ‘The Golden Staircase.”

Men & horses transport equipment down a stretch of Kokoda Track near Ower's Corner.

Men & horses transport equipment down a stretch of Kokoda Track near Ower’s Corner.

“Life changes as you push up the track.  Standards of living deteriorate, sometimes below normally accepted standards even of primitive existence.  Thoughts become somber, humour takes on a glum, almost macabre quality.  When men reach the nadir of mental and physical agony there are times when sickness or injury or even death seem like things to be welcomed. “Near Efogi, on a slimy section of the track that reeks with the stench of death, the remain of an enemy soldier lie on a crude stretcher, abandoned by the Japanese retreat.  The flesh has gone from his bones and a white bony claw sticks out of a ragged uniform sleeve stretching across the track.  Every Australian who passes, plodding up the muddy rise that leads to the pass, grasps the skeleton’s grisly hand, shakes it fervently and says, ‘Good on you, sport!’ before wearily moving on.” 11459675_112671632690 George H.Johnston (1912-1970) – best known for his book, “My Brother Jack,” he was a war correspondent during WWII for the Melbourne “Argus” newspaper. Click on images to enlarge. #################################################################################

Sad Sack’s Military Humor – 

Building the shower

Building the shower

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Farewell Salutes – 

Vernon Casanave – Palm Bch, FL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, SSgt.

Hiram Davidson – Little Rock, AR; US Army, Korea & Vietnam, Sgt. Major

Peter Dawson – brn : Yorkshire, UK & Horsey, AUS; Royal Navy, 10 yrs.,anzac

Thomas Gordon – Pueblo, CO; US Army Air Corps, WWII

St. Clair Knight Jr. – Greenville, SC; US Army, WWII, ETO, Capt., 102nd Infantry Div.

Albert Laubenstein – Saskatoon, CAN; RC Artillery & Infantry/Lincoln & Welland Reg., ETO, KIA 1/26/45

Erwin Murdock – Boynton Bch., FL; US Navy, WWII, PTO, gunner’s mate 2nd class

Melvin Raley – Gibson, GA; US Army, WWII, ETO, H Co/22 Inf.Reg/4th Inf.Div/3rd Army

Charles Stevenson – Timaru, NZ; RNZ Army # 821225, 27 MG Battalion

Marvin Underwood – Evansville, IN; US Army, WWII, PTO, 158th RCT, Purple Heart, Bronze Star #################################################################################

ANZAC Centenary

James Charles Martin (1901-1915), youngest Australian KIA at Gallipoli

James Charles Martin (1901-1915), youngest Australian KIA at Gallipoli

Anzac Centenary

Between 2014 and 2018 Australia and New Zealand will commemorate the Anzac Centenary, marking 100 years since their  involvement in the First World War.

Gallipoli today

Gallipoli today

The Anzac Centenary is a milestone of special significance to all Australians and New Zealanders.  The First World War helped define them as a people and as nations.

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During the Anzac Centenary they will remember not only the original ANZACs who served at Gallipoli and the Western Front, but commemorate more than a century of service by Australian and New Zealand servicemen and women. [And I hope other nations will as well.]

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The Anzac Centenary Program encompasses all wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations in which they have been involved.   And to honour all those who have worn the uniforms.  The programs involved with the Centenary urge all to reflect on their military history.

 

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Please take the time to visit my older ANZAC post to honor these men further –    https://pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com/2014/04/26/anzac-day/

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Humour – Keeping their spirits up back in the day – 

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Farewell Salutes –

James Cameron – Howick, NZ; RNZ Air Force # 412996, WWII

Remembrance

Remembrance

Peter Carter – Kilmore, AUS; RA Air Force (Ret.), WWII, Wing Commander

Thomas Davis – Thames, NZ; RNZ Air Force # 424644, WWII, Cpl.

Alexander Godwin – Sydney, AUS; RA Air Force, 7th Apprentice Intake

Henry Hubbert – Auckland, NZ; QSM # 197041, WWII

Alfred Hudson – NZ; Royal Navy # C/SSX 16068, WWII, ETO

Lawrence Layzell – Napier, NZ; RNZ Air Force # 41739, WWII

Eric Maxton – Albany, AUS; RA Air Force, 460 Squadron

Roger Murphy – Mitchell, AUS; RA Air Force (Ret.), 78th Fighter Wing

Neil Taylor – Hamilton, NZ; L/Cpl # 457137, WWII

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Comrades – Ken Moore

 

New Zealand troops fire a 25-pounder at Kapyong, Korea

New Zealand troops fire a 25-pounder at Kapyong, Korea

My own ANZAC Day post is scheduled for tomorrow, but once I read this…..

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On ANZAC day, I thought it was fitting to re-post this poem. It felt a little strange, almost uncommfortable to be removing the airmen from the Roll of Honour to present a purely RNZAF and RAAF list for my previous ANZAC day post, so perhaps to make amends and remind us that the boys flew and died together, irrespective of their nationalities I represent ‘Comrades‘, by Ken Moore.

New Zealand gave a Squadron of Planes
When Britain’s need was dire
Both countries sons made up the crews
And they flew through hell and fire.

To the Pommy lads the Kiwi’s made
A gesture that was grand
They gave them honorary citizenship
Of their own beloved land.

Under New Zealand’s flag, they proudly flew
Comrades of the air
They lived and died, as side by side
Fate’s lot they chose to share.

In Wellingtons, Stirlings, then Lancasters
To the…

View original post 91 more words

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