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Army May 4, 2012
ANZAC DAY 3
As the dawn came up and birds started chirping ... I thought what
a happy place. – World War II veteran Cecil Driscoll
Cpl Nick Wiseman
VETERANS from the 39th
Battalion were cheered on by
a large crowd on their return to
Isurava in Papua New Guinea on
Hosted by CA Lt-Gen David
Morrison, the veterans included
Alan “Kanga” Moore, Cecil
Driscoll, Bill Bellairs and Jim
The group flew across Papua
New Guinea by helicopter to
a waiting crowd at the Isurava
Already waiting at the site and
experiencing the Kokoda Track for
themselves were CA scholarship
recipients Cpls Daniel Crosbie,
Robert Nelson and Muhammed
Cpl Nelson, of 5 Avn Regt, said
it was a once-in-a-lifetime oppor-
tunity to experience Kokoda during
its 70th anniversary on Anzac Day.
“The morning service was
excellent, especially the porters
who sang their national anthem,”
“They were fantastic and excel-
Anzac Day in Papua New
Guinea began with the dawn
ceremony at the Bomana War
Cemetery, where officials
from both countries, including
Defence Minister Stephen Smith
and Lt-Gen Morrison, paid their
respects to the diggers who fought
At the closing of the ceremony
the crowd were treated to a sur-
prise performance of True Blue
and Waltzing Matilda by singer-
songwriter John Williamson.
Lt-Gen Morrison spoke at both
ceremonies and said Anzac Day
was a time to reflect on the contri-
bution made by all past and present
service men and women.
“They display great courage,
discipline and self-sacrifice in
choosing a life of service to their
country,” he said.
“It’s also a time to acknowl-
edge the vital role of all those who
have served on the home front,
providing support and boosting
morale of their deployed loved
Serving as an intelligence offic-
er in Papua New Guinea in 1942,
Mr Moore, now 91, said the visit
had been a wonderful experience
to share with his daughters.
“It wasn’t something I talked
much with them before,” he said.
“The bugle calls from up on the
hill almost at dawn got at me, in
fact the whole thing got to me. It
was very emotional.”
Lt-Gen Morrison said being
in the company of the veterans
and seeing the recognition they
received on arrival at Isurava was
“just absolutely fabulous”.
“It was one of the best days in
my 34 years’ service,” he said.
Anzacs return to Kokoda
Veterans join CA to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the infamous World War II track
Cpl Nick Wiseman
“IT WAS the most touching thing I’ve ever been through
in my life,” said Kokoda veteran Cecil Driscoll after visit-
ing the Bomana War Cemetery for the Anzac Day dawn
service in Papua New Guinea.
“The eerie feeling out there, I thought it would be
gruesome but it was a pleasure.
“As the dawn came up and birds started chirping, the
light on the cenotaph and the white gravestones appearing
from the gloom, I thought ‘what a happy place’.
“I didn’t feel any remorse; I felt pleased [the fallen
diggers] were with such a good group. I could even see
them waiting for the rain to stop so they could go play a
game of two-up – that was my feeling.”
It wasn’t until the next morning, when Mr Driscoll sat
in his room in Port Moresby looking over the mountains
that he started feeling a little teary, something he laughed
off almost immediately saying “big boys don’t cry”.
“The dawn service was beautiful and looked so happy
and peaceful. I was so happy to be there.”
Mr Driscoll enlisted in the Army in September 1941
and after training, arrived in Papua New Guinea on
December 26 that year.
In early July 1942, he marched up Kokoda as part of B
Coy, 39th Battalion, contacting the Japanese near Awala,
north of Kokoda, on July 23.
After seeing action around Kokoda-Deniki, B Coy
eventually met up with 2/14th AIF at Isurava on August 8.
Mr Driscoll also fought at Wewak before returning to
Australia and completing his military career as an instruc-
tor and discharging in January 1946.
He was joined on Anzac Day by fellow Kokoda veter-
ans Alan ‘Kanga’ Moore, Bill Bellairs and Jim Stillman,
who all travelled from Australia to commemorate the
70th anniversary of the Kokoda campaign, hosted by CA
Lt-Gen David Morrison.
to the track
WO2 Dave Turner assists World
War II veteran Cecil Driscoll
to a helicopter after the Anzac
Day service at Isurava. Inset,
veterans approach the cenotaph
to pay their respects.
Photos by Cpl Nick Wiseman
lays a wreath
at the Isurava
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