AUSTRALIA’S minister for veterans affairs, Alan Griffin, will visit Papua New Guinea this week to attend the burial of four Australian soldiers killed during World War II.
The remains of the four soldiers were recovered from battlefields around Buna, Sanananda and Isurava and examined by an Australian Army History Unit investigation team.
Forensic and anthropological tests resulted in the identification of two of the soldiers but the remaining two have not been identified.
The two identified soldiers were Lt Talbot Timothy Logan of the 2/12 Australian Infantry Battalion, and L/ Sgt James Garrard Wheeler of the 2/1 Field Regiment, Royal Australian Artillery. Lt Logan was killed in action at Buna on Jan 1, 1943 and L/Sgt Wheeler was killed in action near Sanananda on Dec 1, 1942.
The two unidentified soldiers, both recovered from the area around Isurava, will be buried alongside Lt Logan and L/Sgt Wheeler with a headstone marked “Known Unto God”, in accordance with Commonwealth War Graves Commission protocol.
A reinterment ceremony will be held at Bomana War Cemetery starting at 9am tomorrow, Dec 1.
All four soldiers will be buried with full military honours alongside their fallen comrades.
Australia’s Federation Guard will perform the ceremonial duties and the burial service will be led by an Australian Defence Force chaplain.
Mr Griffin will be accompanied by the deputy chief of the Australian Army, Major Gen Paul Symon, and also the president of the Returned and Services League of Australia, Rear Admiral (rtd) Ken Doolan .
Family members of Lt Logan and L/ Sgt Wheeler will also be present to witness their loved ones being finally laid to rest.