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Radio Interview: Historyonics - The Battle for Bita Paka

Wireless Station at Bita PakaKokoda Historical's Dave Howell was interviewed on Radio National which was aired yesterday evening.

The topic of the conversation was the Battle of Bita Paka which is one of the lesser-known battles that Australia was involved in during the First World War.  

Click the following link to listen to the interview on the ABC website -


Shaggy Ridge Here We Come!

Shaggy RidgeWith only 2 weeks to go to our Shaggy Ridge tour one of our trekkers has had an article published in his local paper.

John Farley will go to this remote part of Papua New Guinea next month to visit a small outpost named after a local soldier who fought in World War II.

Don’s Post, named after Barrington dairy farmer Don McRae, is an isolated outpost in the Finisterre Range in north-eastern Papua New Guinea. 


Click the link below to read the full article -


Captain Brian Colden Antill Pockley

Captain Brian PockleyCaptain (Capt) Brian Colden Antill Pockley, Australian Army Medical Corps (AAMC), Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force (ANMEF) was was shot on Bita Paka Road near Kabakaul, 11 September 1914, removed to HMAS Berrima where he died of his wounds. He was the first Australian officer to be killed in the First World War.

After the expeditionary force encountered German soldiers on Bita Paka Road, Able Seaman William Williams was shot in the stomach and Pockley had given his red cross armband to another naval serviceman, Stoker Kember, to carry Williams to the rear. This was done to protect the transporting of the wounded Williams; Pockley was shot shortly after.

Pockley and Williams were taken back to HMAS Berrima, one of the ships that had carried the Australian force to Rabaul and they both died on board that afternoon. Six Australians were killed and four wounded in the battle of Bita Paka.

"Pockley's action in giving up his red cross badge, and thus protecting another man's life at the price of his own, was consonant with the best traditions of the Australian army, and afforded a noble foundation for those of Australian Army Medical Corps in the war,"

wrote author S. S. Mackenzie in the official history, The Australians at Rabaul.

Captain Brian Pockley was only 24 years old.

The 11th September 2014 will mark the centenary of Pockley's death and the first Australian officer to be killed in the first World War.

Join us to commemorate this significant but often overlooked military history milestone in Rabaul in September this year.

ANMEF Centenary Tour

Read more about the ANMEF here


Captain Brian Pockley

 Captain Brian Pockley front row, second from left

Vale VX120225, SGT Ted Stuart

Ted is on the far right.

It is with great sadness to report the loss of Ted Stuart. Ted was a member of the Victorian Scottish Regiment before he fought at Kokoda with the 39th Infantry Battalion, B Company.

Ted was one of the few that were there right from the start of the Kokoda campaign. He was probably one of the last to see Captain Sam Templeton alive and was among those members of the 39th that were saved by the Papuan, LCPL Sanopa who led them up to Deniki after being cut off by the advancing Japanese. Ted would later earn a Mention in Despatches (MID) at Isruava.

Lest We Forget