Our "diggers"


This page is by no means complete, we welcome any additions or corrections.


In 2007 we participated in the ANZAC Day Dawn Service at Isurava Memorial, with Tori McGee reading the Epitaph and Andrea Wake and Mitchell Warner placing a wreath on behalf of Tumbarumba High School during the official wreath laying.  Michelle Harrison, Jaden Matto and carrier Tom Hango also placed a wreath on behalf of our group and our carriers.

In 2008 we again particiapted in the ANZAC Day Dawn Service at Isurava Memorial, with Dominic Lyons having the honour of raising the Australian Flag.  Gary MCClelland laid a wreath on behalf of the Tumbarumba scouting movement.

In 2007 & 2008 we sang 'Danny Boy' (and 'Waltzing Matilda') at the Bisset Family plaque for Butch at the request of Stan Bisset.

We also held a minute's silence at Brigade Hill for Walter Clark, Herb Warman, Claude Nye and all others who gave their lives in the conflict.

We visited all relevant gravesites (and many others) at Bomana Cemetery.


At the bottom of this page there are website links for further research.


Local Men who gave the ultimate sacrifice in PNG

Sergeant Dallyn Birrell VX20085 AIF 2/7 Bn, died aged 20 on 15/02/1943, buried Lae War Cemetery

Private Kevin E Morey NX176568 AIF 2/3 M.G. Bn, died age 20 on 28/06/1945, buried Lae War Cemetery

Private William C Morey VX70175 AIF 58/59 Bn, died age 26 on 12/08/1943, buried Lae War Cemetery

Corporal Joseph F Muggleton NX122777 AIF 2/12 Bn, died age 20 on 01/01/1943, buried Bomana War Cemetery

He died (one of 312) in the battle for Buna.  Family members still live in the Tumbarumba district.

Joe is pictured below on the bike and with an unknown mate (Joe is on the right).  Family members would love to know who the mate is and where the photograph was taken.


Our Relatives and Friends Relatives who also did not come back from PNG


Private Claude A Skimmings N165110 55/53 Bn, died aged 23 on 7/12/1942,  buried Bomana War Cemetery

He died (one of 430) in the Huggins' and James' Roadblocks in the battle for the Sanananda Track.  Related to Grant Harris through marriage. (Claude pictured right)




Private Walter A Clark VX41816 2/14 Bn, died aged 30 on 8/09/1942, buried Bomana War Cemetery

He died (one of 62) in the battle of Brigade Hill. Local Remedial Masseur Errol Clark is Walter's son. 

(Walter is pictured right.)


Sergeant Herbert P Warman VX17103 2/14 Bn, died aged 23 on 9/09/1942, memorial Bomana War Cemetery

Captain Claude C Nye VX14096 2/14 Bn, died aged 25 on 8/09/1942, buried Bomana War Cemetery

As for Walter (above) these two soldiers were killed in the Brigade Hill battle.  They both were from the Victorian town of Tatura.  Herb was a very good mate of Don Nicol - Don is the great-grandfather of Eric Barclay and the neighbour of Sophie Gairn.

Some additional information provided by Claude's sister Margaret Briggs.

Claude had been a cadet at Melbourne High School, then joined the Victorian Scottish Regiment after that.  When he was transferred to Tatura in the railways in 1937 he boarded with the Warmans and that is how he and Bert became such good friends.  He joined the Militia in the Goulburn Valley and was a Sergeant when WWII broke out on 3 September 1939.  He enlisted in the AIF that day.  His Commission as a Lieutenant came though in the November but it was not until May 1940 that he was called up to  the 2/14th - mainly formed from the Goulburn Valley.  I believe there is a memorial at the Church of England in Tatura to Bert and Claude.
Claude married his boyhood sweetheart, Charlotte, in August 1940 just before they sailed for the Middle East. The 2/14 fought in Syria and returned to Australia in April 1942.  They were headed for Malaya but that had fallen so they were sent straight home.  When he arrived here he was advised that he was now a Captain.  After 7 days leave they were sent to Queensland and then on to PNG.


Those who returned to Australia


Jack Mackay

Jack worked with Michelle Harrison's Great Grandfather Bert Harrison as a milk carter.

Private Kevin Esler V45302 39th Bn

Lived in the Maragle area.  Rumour has it that he appears in a well known photo from the Kokoda campaign.

Captain Burnham Fraser VX8349 2/2 Pioneers

From Tallangatta and has family in Tooma.  Won the Military Cross.

Lance Corporal Gordon Bell NX87577 2/2 Pioneers

Lives in Tooma.

Our relatives

Lance Corporal Noel (Mick) Wright SX10851 7 Corps of Signals, died 6/05/1990

The father of our trek leader Bruce Wright.

Noel is pictured right and from his diary - " the track went straight down until your knees trembled with the effort of holding your body up. At the bottom you crossed a fast rocky stream by a fallen log and began climbing. About the the time that you reckon you can't lift another foot up, you find that you have only just begun. ...  it rained everyday and most of the nights .....we tramped through mud up mountains down mountains, along razor back mountain ridges .... through kunai grass  ..... the humidity was high .... You'd have to experience it to really understand."

" a newsreel photographer (Damien Parer) came up and spent a few days with us making a film .... I saw it later and could vouch for its accuracy."

"often the mornings were beautiful. Butterflies of every hue everywhere and birds and insects I'd never seen before."


Private Noel Gairn VX83240

Private Donald Gairn VX83180

The great uncles (pictured right) of Sophie Gairn.


Signalman Darcy A Hollier NX122009 2/7 Fd Regt Sig Sect

The great uncle of  David Gilpin.

Signalman Leslie Wake VX16279 18 Australian Infantry Brigade Signals Section

The great uncle of Andrea Wake.


Friends of our Venture

Sergeant Tom Pryor VX15226 2/14Bn

His son Trevor (former Tumbarumba Public School Principal) organised for Ted Armstrong to visit and for Stan Bisset to be made aware of our trek.  Trevor also had a huge involvement in our participation in the ANZAC Day Dawn Service at Isurava - something for which we will always be indebted.  Trevor continues to be a major supporter of our project and we thank him for creating the association we have forged with the 2/14th Bn.

Captain Stan Bisset VX21199 2/14 Bn

Has continually been in touch since the inception of our project.  The 'Butch' Bisset plaque is a significant stopping point on our treks, although our renditions of 'Danny Boy' leave a lot to be desired.  Stan passed away on 5th October aged 98.  He will be sorely missed by the "Kokoda' fraternity at large.

Staff Sergeant Donald (Ted) Armstrong VX45448 2/14 Bn

Visited us with his wife Peg to speak of  his experiences and to spread the word of what happened along the Kokoda Track in 1942.  Ted passed away in 2008 and is missed by all his Tumbarumba friends.

Captain Bede Tongs MM NX126952 3rd Bn

Has visited Tumbarumba on a number of occasions with his son Gary to speak of his experiences.  A humble man who has impressed all with ability to recount the happenings on the track all those years ago.  Bede has written many poems on his experiences and a highlight of his visits are when Gary recites some of his poems.

An Interesting Fact

Field Marshall Sir Thomas Blamey as a young lad had been a pupil teacher in our district at the Rosewood and Elsiedale schools before undertaking his military career. 

Websites for Further Research

http://www.ozgenonline.com/aust_cemeteries/war/bomana.htm - Bomana Cemetery List

http://www.awm.gov.au - Australian War Memorial

http://www.ww2roll.gov.au - World War 2 Nominal Roll

http://www.cwgc.org - Commonwealth War Graves Commission

http://www.naa.gov.au - National Archives of Australia (select Service Records)