A senior officer from the Army's Forces Command, will be the keynote speaker at this year’s Battle for Australia commemoration at the Cenotaph on Wednesday, September 6.
It will be marked with a distinctive RAAF Flyover during the service; the presence of representatives of the Fuzzy Wuzzy heroes, who cared for wounded Australian Diggers on the Kokoda Track and many school children. Commander Jeffcoat, Commander of HMAS Kuttabul, has seen active service with the Royal Australian Navy in the Gulf.
From the fall of Singapore to Japanese forces in February 1942 to the bombing of Darwin and further south, Australia felt vulnerable. The threat to Australia increased when the Japanese landed on the North coast of Papua New Guinea. The Battle of the Coral Sea prevented an invasion of Port Moresby. Japanese submarines penetrated Sydney Harbour in May, shelled Newcastle in June and this was followed by the turning point in the war in the Pacific, the Battle of Midway.
The Japanese then attempted to reach Port Moresby across the Kokoda Track and were defeated on land for the first time at Milne Bay. It was on Kokoda that Australia troops were sustained by the Fuzzy Wuzzy Heroes. Japanese forces were turned back in view of Port Moresby. Up and down the coast the RAN hunted the Japanese submarines that caused such destruction to Australia’s merchant marine. The Merchant Navy as all other Australian defence resources, doctors and nurses, coast watchers and those in the Australia and New Guinea Administrative Unit (ANGAU) were involved in the Battle for Australia.
Steadily the Japanese threat receded with fierce fighting in New Guinea and then on to North Borneo. The years until the Japanese finally surrendered on August 15,1945 saw increases in the Australian casualty list of sailors, soldiers, airmen, merchant mariners and on occasion, service women.
The service at the Cenotaph commemorates these and losses in the Battle for Australia. All are invited to attend and for further information contact Group Captain Doug Roser RAAF (Ret’d) on 02 4384 1196 or email .