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Commemorative journey begins for veterans of Milne Bay

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Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Minister for Home Affairs

Minister for Defence Science and Personnel Mi nist er for Justi ce

Minister for Indigenous Health Minister for Defence Materiel

Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on the Centenary of Anzac

Media Release The Hon Warren Snowdon MP The Hon Jason Clare MP

Wednesday, 22 August 2012 VA065


The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Warren Snowdon, has wished a group of Second World War veterans the best of luck as they embark on a special commemorative journey to Papua New Guinea tomorrow morning.

“Some of the veterans haven’t seen Papua New Guinea since they served there in 1942, now they are returning to mark the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Milne Bay. These men were among those who inflicted the first defeat of the Japanese on land during the war,” he said.

“This will be an emotional and memorable journey, visiting the sites of old battlefields and memorials commemorating those lost in Papua New Guinea during the war.”

Mr Snowdon said the veterans would participate in a range of commemorative activities hosted by the people of Milne Bay over the next week including a service at the Milne Bay War Memorial; a candlelight commemorative march and several other traditional activities with the local veteran community.

“They will also participate in Australian services at Turnbull Field, named after Squadron Leader Peter Turnbull, Commanding Officer of the RAAF 76 Squadron, who was killed in action in the Battle; and Port Moresby (Bomana) War Cemetery,” he said.

The Minister for Defence Materiel, Jason Clare, who will accompany the veterans on their journey, said it was an honour and a privilege to be able to share this important event with the eight veterans.

“The Battle of Milne Bay, 25 August to 7 September 1942, was a significant victory and morale booster for Allied forces serving in the Pacific and across the globe during the Second World War,” he said.

“The 9000 strong Allies, including Australian infantrymen and RAAF Kittyhawk fighters, repelled the enemy, helping to halt the Japanese advance in the Pacific.”

Of the 7500 Australians, who served in Milne Bay, 167 were killed and 373 were wounded. The Milne Bay Memorial is located at the site of the Battle and commemorates the Australians, Americans and Papua New Guineans who fought and died there.

“I encourage Australians to reflect on the service and sacrifice of those who served in the Pacific 70 years ago, defending our shores from a Japanese invasion,” Mr Clare said.

Editor’s note: A list of veterans travelling to PNG is attached. Follow them on Facebook at DVA Aus or on Twitter at @dvaaus. Images and biographies of veterans, historical factsheets and images from PNG are available at


Media inquiries: Minister Snowdon: Marcus Butler 02 6277 7820 / 0417 917 796 Minister Clare: Annie Williams 02 6277 7290 / 0428 040 522

Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: Emma Collien (in PNG) 0429 129 661 or

Australian veterans attending PNG commemorations

Name Unit Age Location

Mr Edwin Bousen (Army) 61st Battalion 92

Upper Mount Gravatt, QLD

Mr William Hansen (Army) Milne Force Signals 88

Mandurah, WA

Mr Edmond Jones (Army) 2/9th Battalion 90

Waramanga, ACT

Mr Murray Willing (Army) 2/10th Battalion 92 Ardrossan, SA

Mr Arthur Gould (RAAF) 75 Squadron 92

Killara, NSW

Mr Edgar McCulloch (RAAF) 75 Squadron 93 Warwick, Qld

Mr Joe McGrath (RAAF) 75 Squadron 88 Albury, NSW

Mr Gregor McGregor (RAAF) 76 Squadron 89

Blackburn South, VIC