Murray Willing - Strafed while being evacuated

Running time
3 min 1 sec
Date made
Department of Veterans' Affairs


The stretcher-bearers came out and got us that night and a couple of others close handy to me that got hit. And we got back to the clearing station just behind the…all laying there and I didn't realise at the time because I couldn't see any blood there in my arm there and I was on the stretcher all day, it'd probably dried up on this little hole right there and then there was six or seven natives come along with a made up stretcher and I was laying on that.

One was, he was holding a banana leaf in front of me and I was still on my back and still quiet and everything and they took me back to another section and then loaded me into a proper stretcher and back to another moving off point, one of the air strip parts. From there in a stretcher off the front of a jeep with walking wounded so we had to travel quite a way to get to the strip.

Anyway we got to the strip, got down to the bottom end of it, there was one plane had just flown off. I could see where it had gone off and everything, I think it went down into the sea about the same time and by the time we got to the end of the strip we could see the other plane still loading with stretchers underneath it. We got to the end and they turned, and as they turned, a plane came in strafing.

A plane, see they'd strafed the first one and they came in strafing us and they must have been just over the top of us, the walking wounded were running. It's funny now but it wasn't funny then and I was still there. I had a blanket so I just pulled that over my head. Oh well, I might be lucky and then he went on a second run and I thought well that's alright. Same thing, blanket up, missed everything but another plane got him. It was one of ours, a smaller one, a Wirraway or something, shouldn't have been doing that sort of thing. Anyway that was that and it held us up again because we had to wait for this plane to get away and everything. Anyway, finally I got loaded in one of the Douglas' the old…thing and I was strapped in by the window going back to Moresby.

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