Anzac Day 2018
Spare a minute today to think of all the ‘Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels’ of yesterday. Also to think of all the men who continue today, walking and carrying backpacks for the many Kokoda Trekkers who walk the Kokoda Track each year. We salute them.
It reminds me of an incident that happened to me a few years back. I took one of our guides to the North Face race in the Blue Mountains. When heading back to the Gold Coast I could have turned right but instead I turned left and headed off to Canberra to take him to the War Memorial.
His name is Ramsey Idau from Kokoda. It was a public holiday and thousands of people attended that day. Inside we stopped at an area on Aitape, Wewak in PNG. I was telling Ramsey that my mother lost her brother to a sniper’s bullet at Aitape and that he was buried in Lae War Cemetery. Seconds later a woman a few years older than myself approached us. She asked if we minded if she joined us as she could not help but hear what I was telling Ramsey. She said her father had passed away a few years before and that she came up to Canberra to do some more research about his time in PNG. She asked Ramsey, are you from PNG, to which he replied yes. She then said I am going to give you a big hug from me coz without the likes of your ancestors helping our diggers, perhaps I might never have been born. Then she said, I am going to give you another hug on behalf of my father and others who did not make it back. She then turned to me and opened her briefcase. Would you believe she produced a piece of paper which showed both her father and my uncle Robert McMillan listed on a manifest…same day….same flight into Wau. From memory her father was Number 8 and my Uncle 15 on the manifest. She went on to say they were both part of the Kanga Force. I have often thought about our meeting. What are the odds that a lady up from Melbourne and Ramsey and I down from PNG, that we would meet in amongst thousands of people walking around that day at the War Memorial. We all had tears in our eyes.
Later Ramsey thanked me for taking him there. He said to me, I felt the warmth of that lady and I am pretty sure I will now be a better guide for the experience of knowing how much it means to some of our trekkers to walk the track. Ramsey just finished walking the track this week in PNG as part of the team with my cousins. He is just one of the PNG porters still doing their very best to ensure Australian’s are safe.
Well done to all the fuzzy wuzzy angels of WWII and to our modern day guides and porters.