I give thanks to God that I was able in some small measure to assist my very good Australian friends.

Leading Aircraftsman J F Donegan, RAAF, owed his life to the bravery and care of Maiogura, a local mission nurse. Villagers rescued him after he had drifted, semi-conscious, for over 18 hours after the launch in which he was a crewman was sunk by Japanese gunfire. Donegan was rescued by Papuans, who risked their lives by taking him to their village, which by then was behind Japanese lines. Despite being in danger, Maiogura hid and nursed him. On one occasion when he was in danger of discovery, she even hid him beneath an upturned canoe. Donegan was eventually able to return safely to his unit.

Maiogura was later officially decorated, but first the RAAF personnel at Milne Bay thanked her in an unofficial ceremony. When asked to name any gift she wanted, she chose:

... a bicycle, a rain cape, a pair of sunglasses, seven yards of bright red material for ramis, (the customary Papuan skirt) and a carton of aspirins.

[RAAF Log, Canberra, 1943]

The Japanese killed and wounded many Papuans during the fighting at Milne Bay, and a number of them were tortured to death for refusing to assist the Japanese.

Last updated: 11 February 2019

Cite this page

DVA (Department of Veterans' Affairs) (2019), Maiogura, DVA Anzac Portal, accessed 29 September 2021,
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