Murray Willing - Battle of Milne Bay

Running time
3 min
Date made
Department of Veterans' Affairs


Anyway we had to disperse in twos on either side of the road into the forest right to the edge of the sea, and that's where we settled down, you know, there was nothing doing and everything and we were sitting there then about midnight we hear some noises and everybody pricks up their ears and everything else, "What's happening?"

And we could see the lights of two tanks coming and these people were behind them and they were singing and carrying on because a couple of days before they'd been up and no worries, so they come up and didn't expect anything, so that was a bit of a shock anyway and we didn't have any anti-tank, we had sticky bombs but, of course, being up there a week or so they weren't worth anything so we were that close we couldn't shoot out the headlights on the tanks but that suited me because I was on the left side fortunately behind a palm, we were all behind palm trees, they didn't help you much but you couldn't dig in any holes or anything.

The sections that were either side of the road, about two or three sections, they were stuck right in the middle and it was all hand to hand fighting and the tanks kept coming on. A couple of chaps tried to throw a grenade but couldn't get into them. We had a few losses there but the rest of their troops come and kept going.

They were heading down and when it got hot, of course by that time we were told to withdraw and let them come. Well, of course, our brigade the 2/9th, the 2/10th, and the 2/12th, whether those three battalions. We went up there…Fortunately being on the top side it's pretty hard to see anything, in fact by the time they got word about it we'd started to disperse and the fighting had stopped at KB Mission that was the place, they'd stopped there and they'd gone right through with the tanks so done as much damage as they could and they couldn't do anymore so they let them in and they thought they were right then so they kept going and it wasn't very long after that, it wasn't far behind the strips, to the strips the 2/12th they were the Western Australian boys, they were the first to cop it because they were all sitting there on the hill. So they didn't get past that but it was on for a couple of days before they retreated.

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