By Stanley Ove Jr – EMTV News, Port Moresby
Remains of 13 Australian Soldiers killed during World War 2 were exhumed last Friday in Vokau Village in Aitape, West Sepik Province. A war monument was also unveiled to mark the last Australian Military Cemetery in Aitape. The Military Cemetery was operational from November 1944 to October 1945 with over 118 soldiers buried.
Since the cemetery was decommissioned, 105 remains were moved to the Lae War Cemetery, while the last 13 were exhumed last week.
The soldiers buried died fighting in the battle of Matapau, the Battle of But West, and the Battle of Torricelli. Some died of injuries while others died of diseases. Out of the 118 soldiers buried, 5 remained unidentified.
Today there are over 2,240 Australian war casualties that are yet to be found across the country. The effort to find these soldiers remain a challenge as many were buried in unmarked graves in isolated areas.
For Aitape, the last 13 Australian diggers will now be repatriated home to a proper resting place after almost 73 years.