The Silent Men: Syria to Kokoda and on to Gona
Who are 'the silent men'? Peter Dornan tells of the incredible heroism of Bruce Kingsbury, Alan Avery, Harry Saunders, Teddy Bear, the Professor and others who make up the eleven-man section that became one of the most decorated in British and Australian military history.
This is their story, and the story of the Australian 2/14th Battalion in World War II, told through the eyes of Stan Bisset, international rugby player. These men fought a bitter and costly war against the Vichy French in Syria and were recalled to defend Australia against the Japanese in Papua New Guinea. At Isurava on the Kokoda Track they were part of the Australian force that held up the all-conquering Japanese in some of the most critical and vicious battles of the war. Their story finishes on the bloody beaches of Gona with Stan Bisset being one of the few men to walk out.
Among the battalion's record swag of decorations, Bruce Kingsbury was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross - the only one given during the gruelling six-month campaign, the first awarded in the Pacific area, and the first gained in territory administered by the Australian Commonwealth.
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12 Platoon 2/14th Battalion 21st Brigade 25th Brigade 9 Platoon ahead Alan and Bruce Alan's Alola Army artillery attack Australians bastards battle bayonet beach bloody bombs Bren gun Brigadier Potts Bruce and Alan Bruce Kingsbury Buckler bullets Butch camp campaign casualties climb Colonel Key commander Company continued Creek dark Efogi enemy Eora eyes fighting fire flank force French friends going Gona grenades Guinea Harry headquarters Hi-Ho Hill Horii Isurava Jack Gwillim Japanese Jarmbe Jezzine jungle killed kilometres Kokoda Track Kumusi Leila Lieutenant looked machine-gun Maroubra Force mate Melbourne metres Milne Bay Mission Mokka Treacy morning mountain moved Myola night O'Day officer Owen Stanley Ranges Owen Stanleys Phil Rhoden Port Moresby position Power House Professor Puckapunyal quickly realised reckon Ridge rifle sergeant Seven Section shot smiled sniper soldiers Stan Bisset Stan's stretcher suddenly Teddy Tommy gun troops Vichy Vichy French village walk weeks withdrawal wounded Yeah