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Army November 22, 2012
vice for the graves of two
Australian soldiers and
their Indonesian interpreter
killed during WWII was held at Port
Moresby (Bomana) War cemetery on
Family members, Special
Maj-Gen Gus Gilmore, Parliamentary
Secretary for Pacific Island and
Foreign Affairs Richard Marles and
a member of the patrol in which the
three men died, Henry Fawkes, attend-
ed the service.
Lt Scobell McFerran-Rogers, Pte
John Whitworth and Bapak Roestan
were killed while serving with the
Z Special Unit Commandos in the
Celebes in 1945. They were sent to
determine the fate of a US plane which
had been shot down as part of Op
Twenty four hours after being
inserted, and while waiting to be
extracted, the group encountered a
Japanese patrol. Lt McFerran-Rogers
and Mr Roestan were killed in the
initial fire fight, with Lt McFerran-
Rogers dying in the arms of Mr
Fawkes. Pte Whitworth was believed
to have been wounded during the with-
drawal and was captured, and later
executed, by the Japanese.
Their bodies were located after the
war and they were buried in the Port
Moresby (Bomana) War Cemetery as
"known unto God".
After exhaustive work by the
Unrecovered War Casualties -- Army
group, the three men have been iden-
tified, and their headstones in Port
Moresby (Bomana) War Cemetery
rededicated during the November 6
Maj-Gen Gilmore said the
men of Z and M Special units, and
Independent Commando Company,
were the forefathers of today's Special
"I am convinced that the character
of the men who served in comman-
do units during WWII and those who
serve in today's special forces commu-
nity is the same," he said.
"Now, at last, their graves have
been identified and today we honour
them. They were young men who
risked and gave everything.
"For this, for their sacrifice and
for their courage, they deserve to be
remembered at this special place."
Mr Fawkes said the service had
"This gives me closure because I
have been worried about them for the
past 70 years," he said.
"It's a very special occasion to be
here today and I thank all of those who
were responsible for it. Today's service
has brought back so many memories,
but most of them I don't want to talk
about because they are too painful."
Carly Olander, whose grandmother
was Pte Whitworth's cousin, said the
identification of the soldiers had great
meaning for her family.
"After 67 years of not knowing
where John rested, it is a real honour
for my family and in particular my
grandmother," she said.
"It's a very emotional time for
the family, but a happy one as well
because we get to respectfully honour
and pay tribute to John, who has forev-
er been in our family and will always
WWII diggers laid to rest
After 67 years, two Australian soldiers' graves can finally be marked with their names, Lt Adrian Miller reports.
Rededication: Pte Michael Griffin stands sentry over the graves of Lt Scobell McFerran-Rogers and Pte John Whitworth. Inset, surviving member of Z Special Unit Henry Fawkes pays
tribute to his fallen comrades while Sgt Scott Ihle and WO1 Ken Bullman watch on.
Photos by Cpl Raymond Vance
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