A number of WW2 soldiers in our extended Hicks McKenzie family networks had not survived the Papua New Guinea campaigns in 1942 – 1943. All are buried at Bomana War Cemetery in Port Moresby. We will be visiting their graves while we are in Papua New Guinea :
Joseph Montague “Monty” Dwyer – McKenzie Family
Monty was a great grandson of Alexander McKenzie (Jnr – my 3 x great grandfather) and his second wife Anne Hanks. He served with the 2/12th AIF Battalion who were tasked to Milne Bay from August 1942, Monty died on September 4 1942 and was initially buried at Milne Bay Cemetery – later laid to rest at Bomana. He would not see subsequent action with his mates on Goodenough Island, Buna nor Sanananda. AWM Roll of Honour Entry.
Herbert “Bert” Rogers – Hicks Family
Bert Rogers was a grandson of Hamilton Herbert Hicks, younger brother of my 2 x great grandfather Henry Thomas Hicks. The fighting on the Northern Beachheads was already underway, and Bert Rogers, (2nd/2nd Battalion -16th Brigade 6th Division), a grandson of Hamilton Hicks on Mum’s side of the family, had died on November 24 1942. Bert had served in the Middle East, and had subsequently developed pneumonia so he was not with his battalion on the Kokoda Track. However he rejoined them later and served on the Sanandra Track where he was killed. From late November 1942 the 2/2nd Battalion fought one of its toughest actions of the war around Sanananda, and suffered heavily from battle casualties and sickness. By the time it was withdrawn from the Sanananda Track in December the battalion’s strength was fewer than 100 men. Initially Bert Rogers was buried at Soputa, before being laid to rest permanently at Bomana CWG near Port Moresby. On the second anniversary of Bert’s death, his family chose the following words to remember his sacrifice: “He gave his life in freedom’s cause. He gave his life.” AWM Roll of Honour Entry.
Allan Vincent Charles Hurlock – a Hicks Family Connection
Allan is connected to the Hicks family by the marriage of his niece to one of Hamilton Hicks’ descendants, who we met at the Australian War Memorial Last Post Ceremonies for Lyle Hicks and Bert Rogers in Canberra in September 2014. He served with the 2/14th AIF Battalion and was initially reported missing and later declared to have been killed in action on November 22 1942 – the first in the extended Hicks Family & Connections to perish in Papua New Guinea. Though it is possible that he was killed about a week after this decared date of 22.11.1942. Initially he was buried at Gona and later laid to rest at Bomana. The 2/14th Battalion was in the 21st Brigade of the 7th Division, of which Dad’s 2/16th Battalion was also part. AWM Roll of Honour Entry.
Lyle Hicks – Hicks Family
And in fact another of Mum’s Hicks family network from the Hamilton Hicks branch, Lyle Hicks, ( 2/9th – 18th Brigade – 6th Division) – was killed on December 18 1942, presumably on the first day of the Cape Endaiadere – Sinemi Creek battle, one of the earliest involving tanks in the Papua campaign. In Melbourne newspapers such as the Argus, on December 22 1942, reported it as a grim fight, and provided a graphic description of the hand to hand battles with bayonets, as well as tommy guns and grenades. Lyle was raised as the youngest son of Hamilton Herbert Hicks, youngest brother of my 2 x great grandfather, Henry Thomas Hicks.
Initially he was buried at the War Cemetery at Cape Endaiadere – before being laid to rest at Bomana. Lyle had served in the Middle East, Milne Bay at Sanananda and Buna. It was recorded “At one point during the actions, a single shot range out and a corporal near Hicks said, “Did you see where that shot came from?” “No,” Hicks replied, “but is was damn close to me.” As he spoke another shot was fired and Hicks slumped forward dead, shot through the temple.” AWM Roll of Honour Entry.
- Bomana – Kokoda Trekkers article including listing of those buried there
- PNG Forum – The Battle of the Beachheads – article
- PNG Forum – Bomana article – listing including listing of those buried there
- Dr Karl James excellent Kokoda-Report on the Kokoda Track – including the various war cemeteries
- Memorials in PNG
- Map of Northern Beachheads – Buna Sanananda, Cape Endaiadere
- An American perspective