PNG – Culture, reciprocity & corruption
When reciprocity becomes a national disgrace

Wanted: Australian veterans of the NG war


Miyake_Noriko I AM A freelance media researcher and my task is to locate Australian war veterans who witnessed the PNG Aitape-Wewak campaign in 1944-1945.

I have spent hours and hours in front of my PC searching in vain until this evening.

I finally reached your site and saw people's names like Des Martin, Albert Speer and the father of Barbara Knowles. I believe these are the very people I have been looking for.

NHK has been making a World War II documentary film on the war in PNG toward its end, especially in Aitape-Wewak. As one of the Japanese generations born long after the war, I did not know much about what happened in PNG until five years ago.

My first task was to research the Cowra incident at the Japanese POW camp. We visited Australian witnesses in the NSW and Victorian countryside and interviewed them.

My work on PNG began last year and my main research objective has been to look into the records archived at the Australian War Memorial. At that time, I tried to find war veterans who served in PNG but I ran out of my time and gave up further search.

This year, we have resumed work on another film which is scheduled to be broadcast next year. My main task is to locate relevant witnesses and see if we can contact them to hear their stories.

I would very much appreciate it if you could pass my message to those people to see if I could get in touch with them.

I thank you for your time and look forward to hearing from you.

You can contact Noriko Miyake, who is based in Australia, at email [email protected] or fax 02 9984 8923.


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James Oglethorpe

Dear Noriko - I can recommend some online sources of text reminiscences about the Aitape/Wewak campaigns.

1) Australian War Memorial has transcripts of many tape interviews. Go to

Click "Advanced Search" and type the search term:"Aitape" and tick only the box for "Sound".

Many of the search items in the list have transcripts linked, if you click on each item. For example

2) Australians at War Film Archive

Then click the "Search" tab and enter the keyword "Aitape". You will then see short quotes from each transcript where your keyword is mentioned.

Also there are AJRP documents on

One more thing about this AJRP link. Once you have read that page, use the "Search" link at the middle-top of the page to search for more documents on Aitape.

Good luck with your project.

Noriko Miyake

Thank you so much for putting my message in PNG Attitude.

I have heard from Des Martin, Donald Hook and Doug Stewart today, which is a great progress for my initial objective in locating relevant people.

I am also glad that my current research work has lead to learn about your work including Montevideo Maru matter.

Anyway, this project is still in a provisional stage and I hope things go smoothly to accomplish its objective in the future.

Douglas Stewart

I am Douglas Stewart, father of the Barbara Knowles referred to in the article seeking information from Australians engaged in the war in New Guinea.

My unit (4 Bde Signals AIF) was engaged from Milne Bay to just north of Finschhafen over a period of about 20 months. The unit was withdrawn at Finschhafen for relief. We were therefore not engaged in the Aitape/Wewak operations.

Please contact me if you require further information.

Des Martin

I have sent an email to Noriko outlining my recollection of those far off days in the Aitape-Wewak campaign of 1944-45, and suggested that she can contact me if she wants further info.

When I was back at Wewak as a PO circa 1950-51 I was in the old so called Sepik Club (thatched roof and falling down and nothing like the pokie clubs we have today in Oz) when I was asked if I had been at Wewak before.

Had I ever. In 1945, only five or six years previously, my unit had been clearing Japs out of their bunkers on Wewak Point.

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