“The world was made better by the sacrifices made here”
70th Anniversary of the Battle of Milne Bay Dawn Service
Milne Bay, Papua New Guinea
Sunday 26 August 2012
In 1942 Prime Minister John Curtin told the Australian Parliament:
“Today as in 1915 men are dying so that the nation may live.
There will come a new dawn, bringing with it peace and freedom for the peoples of the world, but we can reach it only by striving bravely through the storm and the blood and the grief of war.”
Much of the blood and the grief of that war was felt here.
At Kokoda, at Buna, Gona, Sanananda – and here at Milne Bay.
Here, 70 years ago, more than 9,000 allied servicemen came together to defend this patch of ground.
This sodden, sacred ground.
167 Australians died defending it, 373 were wounded. 14 Americans died.
More than 1,400 Papua New Guineans were killed or wounded – many tortured to death for refusing to assist the Japanese.
They did not die in vain.
The world was made better by the sacrifices made here.
Tyranny was pushed back at Turnbull Field.
Eight of the men who helped do that are here today: Edwin (Ted) Bousen, Arthur (Nat) Gould, William (Bill) Eric Hansen, Edmund (Ed) Jones, Gregor McGregor, Murray Ridgeway Willing, Edgar McCulloch and Joseph (Joe) McGrath.
We all owe you a debt that can never be repaid.
But what we can do is live a life worthy of the sacrifices that were made here.
And we can thank you for what you did – and remember those who did it with you.
Those who, as Curtin said, strove bravely through the storm and blood and grief of war – and delivered us a new dawn.
Lest we ever forget.
– ENDS –