The picture of the last man to die

 

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Robert Capa (born Endre Friedmann;October 22, 1913 – May 25, 1954) was a Hungarian war photographer and photo journalist, arguably the greatest combat and adventure photographer in history. Capa was born into a Jewish family in Budapest, where his parents were tailors

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During his career he risked his life numerous times, most dramatically as the only photographer landing on Omaha Beach on D-Day. He documented the course of World War II in London, North Africa, Italy, and the liberation of Paris.

On April 18, 1945, Capa captured images of a fight to secure a bridge in Leipzig, Germany. These pictures included an image of Raymond J. Bowman’s death by sniper fire.

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This image became famous in a spread in Life magazine with the caption “The picture of the last man to die”

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Raymond_Bowman_robert_capa_3(Picture taken minutes before Raymond J. Bowman (on the right) was killed, the other soldier is Clarence Ridgeway (on the left)

Robert Capa climbed through a balcony window into the flat to photograph the dead man, who lay in the open door, a looted Luftwaffe sheepskin helmet on his head. The subsequent series of photographs show the rapid spread of the soldier’s blood across the parquet floor as other GIs attended to him and his fellow gunner took over his post at the machine gun.

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The Life magazine article did not identify the soldiers in the photographs by name, although Bowman’s family recognized him by the small pin (which bore his initials) that he always wore on his collar.

In the early 1950s, Capa traveled to Japan for an exhibition associated with Magnum Photos. While there, Life magazine asked him to go on assignment to Southeast Asia, where the French had been fighting for eight years in the First Indochina War,

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and was killed when he stepped on a land mine. He was 40 years old.

Bowman received many honors for his service, including the Bronze Star Medal, an Army Good Conduct Medal, and two Purple Hearts.

In July 2015, the city of Leipzig, Germany voted to name the street (previously called Jahnallee 61) in front of the apartment building where Bowman was killed “Bowmanstraße” after him. The renaming took place on April 17, 2016. The apartment building now contains a small memorial with Capa’s photographs and information about Bowman.

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Ida Siekmann & Günter Litfin-The first two victims of the Berlin Wall.

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There were numerous deaths at the Berlin Wall, which stood as a barrier between West Berlin and East Germany from 13 August 1961 until 9 November 1989. Before the rise of the Berlin Wall in 1961, 3.5 million East Germans circumvented Eastern Bloc emigration restrictions, many by crossing over the border from East Berlin into West Berlin, from where they could then travel to West Germany and other Western European countries. Between 1961 and 1989, the Wall prevented almost all such emigration.

Ida Siekmann (23 August 1902 – 22 August 1961) was the first person to die at the Berlin Wall, only 9 days after the beginning of its construction.

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Ida Siekmann was born in Gorken near Marienwerder (West Prussia) (now Górki, Kwidzyn County, Poland). She had moved to Berlin where she worked as a nurse, and lived at Bernauer Straße 48 in the center of Berlin.

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As of August 1961, she was already a widow; it is not known when she was actually widowed.

After World War II, Berlin was divided in four Allied sectors. While the street and the sidewalk of the Bernauer Straße lay in the French sector of West Berlin,

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the frontage of the buildings on the southern side lay in the Soviet sector of East Berlin. Until 13 August 1961, the day the Berlin Wall was built, Siekmann crossed the sector’s border just by leaving her house.Her sister’s apartment was also in the French sector of West Berlin.

Immediately after the border between East and West Berlin was closed on 13 August 1961, numerous families and individuals from 50 Bernauer Straße addresses fled to the West. On 18 August 1961, Walter Ulbricht ordered the East German border troops to brick up the entrances and windows on the ground floor of the houses on the southern side of the street.

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Members of the Combat Groups of the Working Class and police controlled every person who tried to enter the houses and the residents were subject to rigid controls, even in the hallways.

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Many residents of such tenements still fled to West Berlin: residents of the upper floors were often rescued by jumping-sheets of the West Berlin fire department. On 21 August, the entrance and windows of Bernauer Straße 48 were barred. In the early morning of 22 August, Siekmann, living on the fourth floor (by North American standards, third floor/dritter Stock/Obergeschoss by German standards), threw eiderdowns and some possessions down onto the street and jumped out of the window of her apartment before the firefighters were able to open the jumping-sheet.She fell on the pavement and was severely injured. Siekmann died shortly after on her way to the Lazarus Hospital, thus becoming the first casualty at the Berlin Wall.

Günter Litfin (19 January 1937 – 24 August 1961) was the second victim at the Berlin Wall, and the first to succumb to gunshots.

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A tailor from the borough of Weißensee, like his father, he was a member of the illegal local branch of the West German Christian Democrats. Litfin was already working in the West, near the Zoological Garden, and had already found a flat in the western part of the city. Even on 12 August, one day before the first barbed wire fences were built, he had driven to Charlottenburg with his brother, to furnish his new flat. His intention to escape East Germany was abruptly halted the next morning, as road blocks had already been built. Therefore, around 4pm on 24 August, he undertook the escape attempt that would prove fatal to him.

Starting from Humboldthafen, a small harbour in the River Spree, his plan was to swim through a small canal branching off from the river westwards. However, upon crossing the railway bridge that constituted the border, he was discovered by officers of the transportation police, and was ordered to swim back. He lifted his hands from the water and was then fired upon and mortally wounded.

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In memory of Günter Litfin as well as all other victims of the Wall, a memorial was installed in 1992. Additionally, a street in his home district of Weißensee was named after him. One of the crosses at the White Crosses memorial site next to the Reichstag building is devoted to him.

Ernst Cahn- the Koco affair.

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Ernst Cahn, a German-Jewish refugee,son of Salomon Cahn and Rosa Katzenstein. He married in 1914 and had two children who survived the war.

He lived with his family from 1924-1928 in Amsterdam. In 1936 he returned to the Netherlands, to Huizen, from Germany because of the persecution of the Jews.

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Ernst Cahn co-owned ice-cream parlour Koco in the Van Woustraat in Amsterdam with business partner Alfred Kohn.They  were well liked by both Jews and gentiles of Amsterdam. After the Germans occupied the city, several customers purchased weapons for the owners and installed a 20-inch ammonia flask to the parlor wall to ward off unwanted visitors. When a German police patrol was sprayed with ammonia, a riot ensued. The event became known as the Koco affair.

On Wednesday, 19 February 1941, a patrol of the Nazi Ordnungspolizei carried out a raid on the ice-cream parlour. Inside, a bunch of heavies were waiting for them, as they had expected an attack by pro-Nazi Dutchmen. Ammonia was squirted from the ice-cream parlour. Ernst Cahn and Alfred Kohn were arrested and condemned by a Nazi court after they endured serious physical abuse in Amsterdam and in the penal barrack in Scheveningen’s prison.

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Despite being tortured ,Ernst Cahn did not divulge the name of the technician who had designed and installed the ammonia flask. Ernst Cahn was condemned to death. He was executed on 3 March 1941. Ernst Cahn was the first person in the Netherlands to die in front of a firing squad.Alfred Kohn died in Auschwitz in April 1945.

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The “Koco Affair” in Amsterdam instigated the Nazis’ first roundup of Dutch Jews. German troops entered the Jonas Daniel Meyer Square in the Jewish Quarter of Amsterdam on February 22, 1941.

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They arrested and physically abused approximately 400 Jews, most of whom were then deported to the Buchenwald concentration camp.

 

Sometimes there was Honor

A RAF airman is buried with full military honors by occupying German soldiers, Channel Islands, 1943 (1)

Full military honors were granted by the Luftwaffe at the funerals of RAF sergeants Butlin and Holden who were shot down over Jersey, Channel Islands. It is thought this was to try to pacify the local population. The Luftwaffe behaved much differently than the SS or Wehrmacht. Much more chivalry.

A RAF airman is buried with full military honors by occupying German soldiers, Channel Islands, 1943 (3)

RAF Sergeants Butlin took off on an operation to Frankfurt at 23.15 hrs from RAF Burn in Yorkshire and ditched roughly 3 miles south-west of the Channel Island of Jersey after a call was made by Sgt. Odling for assistance. The body of observer Sgt. Holden was eventually washed up on St. Ouen’s Bay in Jersey on the 3rd June 1943. On the 5th June his and the body of a Sgt. Denis Charles Butlin lay in state in the Hospital Chapel with hundreds of islanders visiting the coffins to pay their last respects, prior to a service on the morning of 6th June. The coffins were then draped with the Union Jack before being taken to the cemetery. Hundreds of people lined the route but the Luftwaffe prevented them entering the gates of the cemetery.

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The Channel Islands were occupied by Nazi German forces for most of the Second World War, from 30 June 1940 until their liberation on 9 May 1945. The Bailiwick of Jersey and Bailiwick of Guernsey are two British Crown dependencies in the English Channel, near the coast of Normandy. The Channel Islands were the only part of Britain to be occupied by the German Army during the war.

A RAF airman is buried with full military honors by occupying German soldiers, Channel Islands, 1943 (4)

Anticipating a swift victory over Britain, the occupiers experimented using a very gentle approach which set the theme for the next five years, the island authorities adopted a similar attitude, giving rise to accusations of collaboration, however as time passed the situation got gradually worse ending in near starvation for both occupied and occupiers during the winter of 1944-45, liberation arrived peacefully on 9 May 1945.

The Inn keeper who told Hitler to take his business elsewhere.

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Hitler maintained three residences during the Third Reich: the Old Chancellery in Berlin, his Munich apartment, and Haus Wachenfeld (later the Berghof), his mountain home on the Obersalzberg.

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Hitler asked his neighbor Karl Schuster, the owner of the Türken Inn, to sell him a piece of his adjacent property. Schuster refused on the grounds of having six children to consider, but offered to let Hitler use the land for free. Despite having supported the National Socialist Party in its early years and been a member since 1930, as well as having known Hitler personally for a decade, Schuster soon learned that old loyalties meant little to the Führer when someone stood in his way.

A month after Schuster refused Hitler’s request, he found himself accused of having insulted the drunken SA and SS men who frequented his inn. The incident triggered a boycott by the Berchtesgaden chapter of the NSDAP, whose members blocked the hotel’s entrance and forced out guests and staff, leaving only the family within. When they tried to leave, they were hit by rocks and spat upon by the pilgrims waiting near Haus Wachenfeld. Ostensibly because of the threat to his safety, Karl Schuster was taken into “protective custody” and imprisoned for two weeks. Hitler, meanwhile, refused all contact with his neighbor, and as the hotel’s finances went into the red, Schuster sought out buyers. Offers evaporated, however, when local officials made clear that the hotel’s license would not be renewed.

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Finally, Angela Raubal, Hitler’s sister, who lived with him at Haus Wachenfeld—and who was wholly unsympathetic to her neighbor’s plight but aggrieved by how it inconvenienced her—notified Martin Bormann, Hitler’s private secretary and manager of his Obersalzberg properties.

Bormann compelled Schuster to sell him the inn and, after the family left in November 1933, transformed it into barracks for Hitler’s SS bodyguards.

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The Schuster family was forbidden to resettle anywhere near the Berchtesgaden region, and its adult members were compelled to sign an agreement not to speak about having been Hitler’s neighbor or about their expulsion. When Schuster did confess to his new neighbors, who were suspicious of a man who refused to talk about his past, he was again imprisoned.

Around Berchtesgaden, by contrast, talk about the family’s treatment was spreading, prompting the town’s NSDAP chapter in January 1934 to publish a notice in the local newspaper forbidding any further discussion of the Schuster case. Those who disobeyed were warned that they would be labeled enemies of the state and sent to the Dachau concentration camp,including Karl Schuster.

When the Gestapo arrested him,Schuster’s wife laid down in front of the vehicle in an attempt to stop them,but to no avail.

Karl Schuster, a broken man, blamed himself for his family’s ruin and died of a heart attack in 1934, at the age of 58.

Führer Directive No. 30

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Many people that the problems in the middle east are relatively new. Iraq has been a troublesome place which has been in conflict for many decades.

Führer Directive No. 30 (German: Weisung Nr. 30) was a directive issued by German dictator Adolf Hitler during World War II. It ordered German support for Iraq’s Arab nationalists, who were fighting the British.

Führer Directive No. 30 dealt with German intervention in support of Arab nationalists in the Kingdom of Iraq. During the 1930s, representatives of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy attempted to gain favor with various Iraqi nationalists and promised support against the British. On 1 April 1941, Rashid Ali and members of the pro-Axis “Golden Square” staged a coup d’etat against the pro-British government of Regent Amir Abdul Illah.

On 2 May, after tensions mounted on both sides, the British launched pre-emptive air strikes against Iraqi forces and the Anglo-Iraqi War began.

Rashid Ali immediately requested that the Germans make good on the earlier promises of assistance.

On 23 May 1941, Hitler issued Führer Directive No. 30 which said:

1. The Arab Freedom Movement is our natural ally against England in the Middle East. In this context the uprising in Iraq is of special importance. This strengthens the forces hostile to England in the Middle East beyond the Iraqi frontier, disrupts English communications, and ties up English troops and shipping at the expense of other theaters.
I have therefore decided to hasten developments in the Middle East by supporting Iraq. Whether and how it may be possible, in conjunction with an offensive against the Suez Canal,
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finally to break the British position between the Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf is a question that will be answered only after Barbarossa.
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2. In connection with my decision I order the following for the support of Iraq: (a) Support by the air force. (b) Dispatch of a military mission. (c) Arms deliveries.
3. The military mission (cover name – Special Staff F) will be under the command of General [Hellmuth] Felmy.
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Its tasks are: (a) To advise and support the Iraqi armed forces. (b) Where possible, to establish military contacts with forces hostile to England outside of Iraq. (c) To obtain experience and intelligence in this area for the German armed forces. The composition of this organization will be regulated, in accordance with these duties, by the Chief of the High Command in the Armed Forces. Chain of command will be as follows: (a) All armed forces personnel sent to Iraq, including liaison staff in Syria, will be under the command of the head of the military mission with the proviso that orders and guidelines for the aviation units will come exclusively from the High Command of the Air Force. (b) The head of the military mission will be subordinate to the Chief of the High Command in the Armed Forces, with the proviso that orders and guidelines for the aviation units will come exclusively from the High Command of the Air Force. (c) The members of the military mission are, for the time being, to be regarded as volunteers (in the manner of the Condor Legion).
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They will wear tropical uniforms with Iraqi badges. Also, Iraqi markings will be worn by German aircraft.
4. The Air Force: The employment of the air force in limited numbers is intended, apart from direct effects, to increase the self-confidence and fighting spirit of the Iraqi people and armed forces.
5. Arms Deliveries: The Chief of the High Command in the Armed Forces will issue the necessary orders in this respect. (Deliveries to be made from Syria, in accordance with the agreement reached with the French in this matter, and from Germany.)
6. The direction of propaganda in the Middle East is the responsibility of the Foreign Office, which will cooperate with the High Command in the Armed Forces, Operations Staff – Propaganda Section. The basic idea of our propaganda is: The victory of the Axis will free the countries of the Middle East from the English yoke, and will give them the right to self-determination. All who love freedom will therefore join the fight against England. No propaganda is to be carried out against the French in Syria.
7. Should members of the Italian Armed Forces be employed on duties in Iraq, German personnel will cooperate on the lines laid down in this directive. Efforts will be made to ensure that they come under the command of the Head of the German Military Mission.

The Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces
signed: Adolf Hitler
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Battle of Heiligerlee-1568

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The Battle of Heiligerlee (Heiligerlee, Groningen, 23 May 1568) was fought between Dutch rebels and the Spanish army of Friesland. This was the first Dutch victory during the Eighty Years’ War.

The Groningen province of the Spanish Netherlands was invaded by an army consisting of 3,900 infantry led by Louis of Nassau and 200 cavalry led by Adolf of Nassau.

Both were brothers of William I of Orange.

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The intention was to begin an armed uprising against the Spanish rulers of the Netherlands.

The Stewart of Friesland and also Duke of Aremberg, Johan de Ligne, had an army of 3,200 infantry and 20 cavalry.Aremberg initially avoided confrontation, awaiting reinforcements from the Count of Meghem. However, on 23 May, Adolf’s cavalry lured him to an ambush at the monastery of Heiligerlee. Louis’ infantry, making up the bulk of the army, defeated the Spanish force which lost 1,500–2,000 men, while the invading force lost 50, including Adolf. The rebels captured seven cannon.

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The invading force however, did not capture any cities and was soon defeated at the Battle of Jemmingen.

The death of Adolf of Nassau is mentioned in the Dutch national anthem (4th verse):

Lijf en goed al te samen
heb ik u niet verschoond,
mijn broeders hoog van namen
hebben ‘t u ook vertoond:
Graaf Adolf is gebleven
in Friesland in de slag,
zijn ziel in ‘t eeuwig leven
verwacht de jongste dag

“Count Adolf stayed behind, in Friesland, in the battle

Anguish, defiance, stoicism, acceptance and fear.

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Bloody Sunday was a series of killings of members of the German minority that took place at the beginning of World War II. On September 3, 1939, two days after the beginning of the German invasion of Poland, highly controversial killings occurred in and around Bydgoszcz (German: Bromberg), a Polish city with a sizable German minority. The number of casualties and other details of the incident are disputed among historians.

The sequence started with an attack of German Selbstschutz snipers on retreating Polish troops and then was followed by a Polish reaction and then the final retaliatory execution of Polish hostages by the Wehrmacht and Selbstschutz, after the fall of the city. All these events resulted in the deaths of both German and Polish civilians. The Polish Institute of National Remembrance found and confirmed 254 Lutheran victims, assumed to be German victims, and 86 Catholic victims, assumed to be Polish civilians, as well as 20 Polish soldiers. Approximately 600–800 Polish hostages were shot in a mass execution in the aftermath of the fall of the city.

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The Nazis exploited the deaths as grounds for a massacre of Polish inhabitants after the Wehrmacht captured the town. In an act of retaliation for the killings on Bloody Sunday, a number of Polish civilians were executed by German military units of the Einsatzgruppen, Waffen SS, and Wehrmacht.

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According to German historian Christian Raitz von Frentz, 876 Poles were tried by German tribunal for involvement in the events of Bloody Sunday before the end of 1939. 87 men and 13 women were sentenced without the right to appeal. Polish historian Czesław Madajczyk notes 120 executions in relation to Bloody Sunday, and the execution of 20 hostages after a German soldier was allegedly attacked by a Polish sniper.

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One picture of the executions gives the whole range of attitudes and emotions that went through the minds of those facing the firing squad. It’s interesting to see the range of emotions displayed by these men. Anguish, defiance, stoicism, acceptance and fear, the third one from the left is even smiling.

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The music that shaped my life-part 2

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Music plays an important role in my life, it always have and it always will. It is not only listening to music, playing it also often played a therapeutic role, especially during my teenage years.

My weapon of choice,Guitar. Below a picture of my very 1st guitar. Many more were to follow.

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It was my neighbor and friend who got me first interested in playing guitar. He had started playing it and it sounded cool, so I thought give it a go.After a while we both got the hang of it and we would often duel, sitting on our windowsills.Me on the 1st floor of our apartment block and he on the 2nd floor.Credit goes to all other neighbors,no one ever complained.

However there were two guitarists that really ignited the spark of my inner guitarists, They were from the other scales of the jazz/blues/rock spectrum.

First Jim Croce, the combination of his lyrics and the acoustic(easy sounding but not that easy to copy) way of playing guitar touched my soul. I only discovered his music years after he died. This is my favourite Jim Croce track.

The second guitarist is in my opinion the best guitarist that ever roamed the planet. The second you hear him you know it’s him. I am referring to Stevie Ray Vaughan. 27 August 1990, a piece of me died too.Tin Pan Alley is 9 minutes and 9 seconds of musical heaven.

I was lucky when I grew up music channels still played music,which opened up a whole array of music from bands I wouldn’t have heard of before. Fondly I remember a show called “Monsters of Rock” it was either on Sky(which basically started of as a music channel) . The opening theme of the show introduced me to another great Guitarist, the legendary Joe Satriani, I never heard anyone play guitar like that it was mesmerizing.

Me and my best friend would watch Monster of Rock religiously and we would rate the bands who were on it and would even write reports on the best performances and the best( I know it’s sad) Below a clip of the show(And no neither me or my friend wrote in)

This concludes ‘ The music that shaped my life-part 2’ in part 3 I will be talking about a song that confirmed to  me that the  changes I made  to my life were the right ones.I know I said this concludes part 2, but I couldn’t leave out one particular SRV song, that I played a lot on the day he died 27-Aug-1990, it is from his last album.

 

https://dirkdeklein.net/2017/03/02/the-music-that-shaped-my-life-part-1/

 

The Fuzzy Wuzzy angels-Forgotten Heroes.

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During the war in Papua New Guinea, the local population who were sympathetic to the Australian troops would assist where they could. Notably they would help in transporting stores and equipment over the rough terrain. Teams carried seriously wounded and sick Australian soldiers all the way back to their bases. Their compassion and care of the casualties earned them admiration and respect from the Australians, who dubbed these men their fuzzy wuzzy angels. The Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels were named for both their frizzy curly hair and helpful role.

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In 1942, during the Pacific invasion, the Japanese had built up a force of 13,500 in the Gona region of Papua with the intention of invading Port Moresby. The key to the offensive was an overland trail across the Owen Stanley Ranges. The trail ranged from the small village of Buna on the north coast of Papua and went up the slopes through Gorari and Oivi to Kokoda. The trail was approximately 100 miles (160 km) long, folded into a series of ridges, rising higher and to 7,000 feet (2,100 m) and then declining again to 3,000 feet (910 m). It was covered in thick jungle, short trees and tall trees tangled with vines.

On 29 August 1942, the Japanese task force broke through the Australian line forcing the Australians to retreat further back to Templeton’s Crossing. Eventually, the Australians were forced to retreat to Myola.

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650 Australian lives were lost in the campaign. It is speculated that this number would have been much larger had it not been for the help of the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels. As one Australian digger has noted:

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“They carried stretchers over seemingly impassable barriers, with the patient reasonably comfortable. The care they give to the patient is magnificent. If night finds the stretcher still on the track, they will find a level spot and build a shelter over the patient. They will make him as comfortable as possible fetch him water and feed him if food is available, regardless of their own needs. They sleep four each side of the stretcher and if the patient moves or requires any attention during the night, this is given instantly. These were the deeds of the ‘Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels’ – for us!”

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No known injured soldier that was still alive was ever abandoned by the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels, even during heavy combat.

An Australian soldier, George “Dick” Whittington, is aided by Papuan orderly Raphael Oimbari, at the Battle of Buna-Gona. Whittington died in February 1943 from the effects of bush typhus, this little-known killer of many Allied and Japanese soldiers in the Pacific.

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In July 2007, grandsons of Australian World War II soldiers and grandsons of the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels took part in the “Kokoda Challenge”

The last known Fuzzy Wuzzy Angel, Havala Laula, 91.

In June 2008, Australian senator Guy Barnett called for his country’s Parliament to give official recognition to Papua New Guineans’ courage and contributions to the war effort: “I was stunned to learn that Australia has not officially recognized these wonderful PNG nationals who saved the lives of Australian servicemen. They carried stretchers, stores and sometimes wounded diggers directly on their shoulders over some of the toughest terrain in the world. Without them I think the Kokoda campaign would have been far more difficult than it was”. The government agreed to consider the motion. Recognition may entail a medal, a small ex gratia payment, and additional Australian aid to improve people’s education and health in villages near the Kokoda trail.

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