Forgotten WWII battle in PNG; search for relatives of fallen diggers

George Scott (L) and Pte Charles Scott killed in action Gorari PNG

One of the biggest battles of the New Guinea campaign in WWII took place at the northern end of the Kokoda Track in November 1942 when 133 Australian soldiers, including at least one from Ipswich, lost their lives.

The Battle for Gorari had been largely forgotten and unlike other battle sites in PNG there are no monuments or plaques to commemorate the fallen.

In November 2018 a group of Aussies led by John Tannock will be in PNG to unveil a monument with the blessing of the local villagers.

Mr Tannock, who is employed by Ipswich City Council, has dedicated his spare time to working with a small group of relatives of diggers who fought in the Battle for Gorari.

During his research over the past two years, it was discovered that one of the young diggers who lost their lives in the battle, was born in Ipswich.

“Private Charles Scott attended Ipswich North State School and Ipswich Grammar School,” Mr Tannock said.

“He and his brother George were in 2/31st Battalion and both fought at Gorari.

“George survived the battle but Charles was killed on November 10, 1942.”

Mr Tannock and a group of relatives of diggers who were killed or wounded at Gorari, will return to PNG on October 28 for the unveiling ceremony in Gorari on November 1.

“Before returning the group is keen to track down other relatives to let them know what we are doing.

“Any soldiers who were in the 2/1st, /2nd, 2/3rd, 2/25th, 2/31st and 2/33rd battalions and were in PNG in early November 1942, would most likely have fought at Gorari,” he said.

The plaques for the monument were flown to PNG last week with installation scheduled this week.

John Tannock can be contacted by email [email protected]


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