The Battle of Milne Bay remembered in stained glass

Having just returned from a week in Papua New Guinea, most of it in the Milne Bay Province where we once lived, my Remembrance Day thoughts were focused on all those who served there during World War II and especially during the Battle of Milne Bay.

A week ago we visited the Catholic Church in Alotau and saw these beautiful stained glass features which remember those who lost their lives in the district: the battle raged across this area on the north coast of Milne Bay. I thought these simple images were very evocative.

The official memorial on the Bay is featured on my other blog today.

Honour Roll of Units.
In honour of the men of 2/9th Battalion.
Remembering the fallen of 2/10 Battalion.
In memory of the men of 2/12th Battalion.
The open-air Catholic church (built c1971-72) at Alotau with its beautiful stained glass memorials. Peaceful in a setting which was once the scene of fierce fighting.

Lest we forget

Wikipedia image

All photographs, except poppies, copyright Pauleen Cass 2012

11 thoughts on “The Battle of Milne Bay remembered in stained glass

  1. Thank you for your wonderful record. My father Joseph Craggs who was a Medic in the 61st Battalion is now 91 and residing in a nursing home in Sydney but he has never forgotten his time in New Guinea in particular Milne Bay where he spent his 21st birthday during the Battle of Milne Bay. I look forward to reading more on your blog. Kathie Comb (née Craggs)

    1. Hi Kathie, How wonderful to hear from you. I was thrilled to have the connection made to someone who’d fought in Milne Bay. How amazing that your Dad had his 21st during the Battle -the horrific sights he must have seen as a medic…hardly the party celebration we expect for a 21st is it? Pauleen

      1. Hi Pauleen, Thank you for your reply. I took Dad up to an Anzac Day reunion of his unit in Brisbane a few years ago and he reconnected with many old mates, however his health has deteriorated and he has never been able to make the trip north again. His was a Brisbane unit but there were militia recruits from Sydney – Dad lived in St Leonards, Sydney when he was conscripted. He wanted to join the RAAF but couldn’t because of his eyesight. The militia were called ‘chockos’ or ‘chocolate soldiers’ as because they were conscripts it was assumed that they would melt in the heat of battle, but as Milne Bay proved, that was not the case. My Dad lost many mates and remembers vividly his time during the WW2. So much so, that is is often difficult for him to talk about – even after all this time. I wanted to be present for the 70 year anniversary commemorations both in Brisbane and New Guinea, but even tho I contacted the relevant people, they forgot to inform me, so I missed out on being there for my Dad. I was so dissappointed both for Dad and myself, as I am so proud of him and it was one thing of great significance that I could have done before this goes to ‘His Father’s House’ as he calls it! Thanks again for you site and your kind answer to me. Kathie

      2. What a shame that your Dad can no longer attend the reunions though I suppose it’s natural that their numbers are dwindling. Yes the chockos had a bad preview press but they proved their worth as they gained battle experience, a sad but necessary part of being a soldier at war. Also a shame that they didn’t keep you in the loop re the 70th reunions. I think you’d really enjoy being there where he fought to see how peaceful it is now…one day. If you ever decide to go you will find my email on the front right column of the blog and I’d be happy to help out with information. I love his expression of “his Father’s house”. Either this week or next I think I’ll do a Trove Tuesday post on my other blog on the men at Milne Bay around the time of the Battle. All the best to you and your Dad. Pauleen

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