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Honouring Mt Lamington's dead

Vienna, Tuesday: In Papua New Guinea, Newman Ewada is trying to establish the identities of those Europeans (non-Papua New Guineans) who were killed in the Mount Lamington eruption of 1953.


 “Apart from the well known DC, Mr Cecil Cowley,” Newman writes, “the other names - I believe there were 34 - are not known. We have been planning for a monument as a memorial to those who died in the eruption, so would like to know of the details of all who died.”


If you can assist Newman with any names, or desirably the full list, call him on (675) 320 2409 or send an email to


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Peter Cass

I know this item was posted almost three and a half years ago, but Lamington erupted on 21 January 1951, not in 1953. In 1953 kiap David Hook and teacher Les Cass (my father) led what I have always understood to be the first Government patrol to the crater after the eruption. They went back again a year later.

Pip Earl

My uncle, Athol Earl, 26, Cadet Patrol Officer, was killed in the eruption. He was from New Zealand.

Pamela Cowley Virtue

Uou may contact me, as my mother and I were there at the time of the eruption. My brother Erl was actually 16 when he was killed in the eruption.

Nancy Johnston

Earl Cowley, Cecil Cowley's twelve year old son, died in the blast with his father. Cec's daughter,Pamela Virtue,might be able to provide more information. Her address is shown in the PNGAA membership list.

The file on the blast, held in the District Office at Popondetta when I was the District Clerk there 1963-70, containing all details, seems to have disappeared. Mr. Bert Speer tried to locate it but was unsuccessful.

There are (or were) rows of graves of some of the European victims whose bodies were located, ear where the District Office stood in the 1960-70s -each gave bearing a plaque.

Oliver Oakes

You may want to contact Albert Speer MBE ( as he knows very much about the events.

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