Carson Hanana - Oral History interview recorded on 20 May 2014 at Hanau, Northern Province, PNG
Mr Carson Hanana tells the story of his grandfather Omota Tarawo who worked as a carrier during the battle of Buna-Sanananda in 1942. His grandfather also worked with the American and Australian engineering units to construct roads, bridges, and airstrips.
This is interview number 9. The interviewee is Carson Hanana from Hanau village.
Thank you. I will just give a brief history regarding my grandfather, Mr Omota Tarawo, who took part as a fuzzy wuzzy angel during World War Two during the campaign of Buna, Sanananda and Duropa plantation battles. In 1942 during the World War, most of our people, especially the village people, fell into the bushes, because they were scared for their lives and the haven't seen that type of happening here, and most of our young people especially my grandfather, Omota Tarawo, were recruited by, as said before, by Constable Sebastian Goro, on the behalf of the American and Australian forces to provide labour for those two Allied forces.
Our grandfathers were recruited on the behalf of the engineering - American engineering and Australian engineering units to construct roads, and bridges, and also airstrips that serve the aircraft during the World War Two. The battle, the bloody battle took place at Duropa, Buna, Sanananda and Gona. During the time, my grandfather, with other young people were carrying the wounded and sick, evacuating the sick and the wounded
soldiers to the nearest medical centre at Dobuduru. And it was at Duropa that the Americans and the Australian infantrymen launched a fierce battle against Japanese forces there. Where my grandfather Tarawo Omota, laid side by side with his fellow black angels as it was known by the Americans and the Australian Allied forces, side by side, supplying, carrying the ammunitions to supply the Allied forces to fight the fierce battle.
This is the content I'm given, it was not told to me by my grandfather but it was told to me by my father and his closest cousin-brother, who was Mr Champion Hepa. During that time, after the war as it was said earlier, they all, the fuzzy wuzzy angels, went to Oro Bay to celebrate the victory that has been won, with their white brothers, standing side by side, and fighting side by side as one, so this is the short account of what my grandfather did during World War Two.
As I heard said earlier, it was not told to me by my grandfather but it was told to me by my father, and his closest cousin, Champion Hepa during what my grandfather did during the campaigns of World War Two in Northern Province. Thank you very much.
Just before you go Carson, when your grandfather returned with the other young men from this village and the other villages, did they settle them well after the war back in the village? Was there any trauma they experienced?
Yes, as I said earlier, it was the account that I'm telling was not told to me by my grandfather but was told to me by my father, and his closest cousin, Mr Champion Hepa. What I was told after investigating all the stories they have told me, that after returning from the war, most of them have, still have recalled the memories of the war during that time, the pain and the burden that was shared during the war with their white brothers, especially the Allied forces, the Americans and the Australians.
Did they wake up suddenly in the middle of the night with a nightmare or something?
That I was not told about.
OK. Thank you, thank you for your time.