Mildura Weekly : Friday January 10 2014 Vol 8 No 10
www.milduraweekly.com.au 14 Mildura Weekly – 10/01/14 Diary tells amazing survival tale • From Page 13 The 45-strong party was or- dered to take to “the low country” in a bid to avoid the enemy. Wal- ter and one of his mates, Syd Ray, were sent forward, in the dark, to blaze a trail. They pushed on by the light of the moon, negotiating some of the steepest hills in PNG, in the process coming across a few more Aussie wounded. The party, now numbering more than 50 and including sev- eral stretcher cases with many more wounded, travelled by night, resting under cover during the day to avoid the Japs. The heat and humidity during the day was op- pressive, there was torrential rain, and the drenched Diggers huddled together for warmth during the bitterly cold nights. They had to cross several rivers, some of them raging torrents, and at one stage were all set to make a crossing when Walter spotted a group of 20 Japs about 50 me- tres upstream. “How I itched to open up on them with the TSMG (Thompson sub-machine gun),” he wrote. “But I dared not, as we had our stretcher cases and walk- ing wounded to think of.” The party back-tracked and found a makeshift bridge to cross. They continued to struggle through the mountainous terrain, making their own track, and sev- eral times were lucky enough to come across food that had been dumped by fellow Aussie troops. They also added a variety of dis- carded weapons - Bren guns, rifles, hundreds of hand grenades - and plenty of ammunition, to their collection. Several times they raided native gardens for sweet potato, Walter shot a wild pig...it kept the group in food for three days, and on an- other occasion one of the group shot a huge domesticated pig - owned by a village chief. “He was very annoyed over it at first, but we paid him a Pound note, and he de- cided we weren’t bad blokes after all,” Walter wrote. “It was pretty cheap meat I can tell you.” Despite their scavenging for food, luck at finding abandoned tins and their good fortune with the pigs, food supplies for 50 per- sonnel continued to run low, and Cpl Scott and three fellow Diggers left the main group with a three- fold purpose...to find more food, locate friendly villagers or fel- low Diggers, and find a path that would lead them to safety. Cpl Scott’s later diary entry re- corded how he turned back after almost six hours, became lost in the jungle, finding shelter from the rain in a hollow tree “and shiver- ing all night.” He set off for the main camp at daylight, struggling through the jungle hour after hour until locating his men late in the day. At that stage he had been without food for 31 hours. He wrote how a third of a tin of bully beef had never tasted so good! After resting up, the group continued their trek, finding more abandoned equipment, along with Japanese maps that showed several planned Jap overland inva- sion routes to Port Moresby. After a few more days, seven of the group struck out on their own, again in search of help. They returned two days later, wet, tired and hungry. Many of the group were suffering from dysentery, and were becom- ing tired and weak. “The walking wounded were doing a marvellous job,” Cpl Scott wrote. “But the stretcher-bearers were getting so weak they were reduced to carrying only six yards at a time.” Finally, after several weeks of brutal slogging through the dense jungle under atrocious conditions, the Diggers came across a native village, Sangai, and decided it was best to leave the worst of the wounded, along with the stretcher cases, in the care of villagers. The group of seven included Cpl John- ny Metson, who despite severe ankle injuries had refused to be stretchered, choosing to crawl on hands and knees, swathed in pro- tective bandages but still bloodied and bruised, for three weeks. Tom Fletcher, who had been trained in first aid, stayed with the men. Cpl Scott and other members of his group later heard that Fletcher, Metson and the rest of the group had been betrayed by a villager, and executed by the Japs. The group was moving faster now, and came across several oth- er villages during their trek. They gradually gained strength on a diet of pig, potatoes and other native vegetables. Native carriers, the fa- mous Fuzzy-Wuzzy Angels, offered to help carry their equipment. It was October 1 when they came across a party of Australians, along with three American Marines. Cpl Scott wrote how the men enjoyed soup, stew and rice that night, washed down with mugs of steam- ing hot tea. • Continued Page 16 ankle injuries had refused to be stretchered, choosing to crawl on hands and knees, swathed in pro- tective bandages but still bloodied and bruised, for three weeks. Tom Fletcher, who had been trained in first aid, stayed with the men. Cpl Scott and other members of his group later heard that Fletcher, Metson and the rest of the group had been betrayed by a villager, and executed by the Japs. now, and came across several oth- er villages during their trek. They gradually gained strength on a diet of pig, potatoes and other native vegetables. Native carriers, the fa- mous Fuzzy-Wuzzy Angels, offered to help carry their equipment. It was October 1 when they came across a party of Australians, along with three American Marines. Cpl Scott wrote how the men enjoyed soup, stew and rice that night, • PROUD ANZAC: Walter ‘Wally’ Scott, centre, walks tall with fellow veterans in an Anzac Day parade in Melbourne, and RIGHT, Walter and his wife Alice outside their home. • M ildura • RedCliffs • M erbein • W ent w orth • Dareton • Robinvale Visit www.milduraweekly.com.au to view our new interactive paper 5 NIGHT HOUSEBOAT HOLIDAY WIN DIGITAL INTERACTIVE PAPER AVAILABLE WELL BEFORE PRINTED EDITION NEW Simply visit www.milduraweekly.com.au and follow the promts to subscribe to our FREE INTERACTIVE DIGITAL PAPER before 28th of February 2014, and you will automatically go in the draw to WIN A 5 NIGHT HOUSEBOAT HOLIDAY !* or Apple iPad as second prize!* 2nd Prize, Apple iPad The pages of the Mildura Weekly can be viewed online with all the local news, information and colour of the printed edition. 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XINGYOPENFROM9AM Distributed FREE every Friday Vol.8 No.8 www. mildu r aw eek ly. com. au Friday, December 20, 2013 Let there be lights Across Sunraysia, the traditional annual Christmas lights display heralds the coming of the festive season. One of those families to make a stunning effort are the Bloomfields from Merbein, including daughter, Belladonna, 5, who needed little prompting from our photographer DARREN SEILER to get into the Christmas spirit. The family’s ‘enlightening’ story is on Page 2. GO ONLINE TO VIEW OUR INTERACTIVE DIGITAL EDITION • View latest edition FREE Subscription! milduracentral.com .au CornerDeakinAve&FifteenthSt Fri 20 De Fri 20 De Deccc ...... ........ . ............. . ......... ... ..... Sat21-Sun Sat21-Sun Sat21-Sun22Dec 22c 22 Mon 23 De Mon 23 Decc........... ....... .. .. Tues 24 Dec Dec . ............ ....... ... Wed 25 Dec............. ............ ..... ...... LOOKING LL FOR A LAST AA MINUTE MINUTE GIFT? 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Friday January 3 2014 Vol 8 No 9
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