PNG kicks in 500,000 kina for NRL bid
First state visit as sun sets on Somare era

Holman investiture a first for Mido


Mido has stood at 144 Military Road, Neutral Bay, for 46 years – but had never witnessed a scene like this. The Chinese restaurant where Chappo is reputed to have flavoured up his sweet and sour pork with ketchup in 1963, the year its opened, staged its first investiture when Hal Holman [seen above with wife Jo] was invested into the Order of Logohu by Papua New Guinea High Commissioner, Charles Lepani.

Yesterday’s award ceremony was conducted before 25 friends and family and covered by PNG and Australian media. Making the award, Charles paid tribute to Hal’s association with PNG, which goes back for more than 65 years when he operated behind enemy lines in the Ramu Valley with his ‘Blue Devil’ commando unit and joined the US Marines for the landing that liberated Rabaul.

Charles said that Hal’s contribution to PNG through his design, sculpture and art extended to the present day. He offered a special accolade, and the gratitude of the people of PNG, for Hal’s design of the National Crest.

In response, Hal said “this is the greatest day of my life”. He said he had been honoured by his own country, but receiving one of PNG’s highest honours was even more special.


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Keith Jackson

I need to clarify my old mate Hal Holman's war record. Hal (who was with the Purple Devils commando unit) was attached by ANGAU to join the US Marines for their landings at Talasea and Cape Hoskins.

His role was to recruit local manpower to assist the Marines consolidate their positions in those locations.

As Des observes, the tunic Hal is wearing in the photo is of post WWII vintage, and Hal affirms that Australian Army stripes were worn only on the right sleeve. The tunic in the photo was purchased after the war.

"Forget the stripes," Hal says. "On West New Britain I had a dirty shirt, ragged shorts, gaiters and as many tick and mosquito bites as you could count."

Des Martin

I am unable to comment of Hal's service with the Blue Devil Commando Unit in the Ramu Valley. This geriatric ex Kiap was a twenty year old infantry Sergeant with 6 Division AIF during the Aitape-Wewak campaign 1944-45.

However I can say that Hal never joined the US Marines for the landing that liberated Rabaul. Rabaul was never liberated and was under Japanese control until the surrender in 1945.

I was one of the first who went there from Wewak in early September 1945 with the occupation force. There were no US Marine units in the SW Pacific at that time.

Incidentally WW2 NCO's like me only wore stripes on the right sleeve unlike the Brits who wore them on both sleeves. Stripes on both sleeves were only introduced when the CMF (Militia) was reconstituted after WW2.

Robin Mead

It was an honour to be present at Hal's investiture celebration. Well done and well-deserved, Hal. A great occasion, on many levels.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)