Lancelot Dauma Jr - Oral History interview recorded on 20 May 2014 at Hanau, Northern Province, PNG
Mr Lancelot Dauma Jr tells story of his grandfather Alwin Darisupa Diambu who with his brother, Mapusa Dandusei, were recruited by ANGAU to work as labourers and carriers with the American allied forces during World War Two.
Interview number 10 at Hanau village on Tuesday the 20th May 2014. The interviewee's name is Lancelot Dauma Junior. He's going to tell story of his grandfather Alwin Darisupa Diambu.
OK, thank you very much. This brief history of my grandfather, Mr Darisupa Diambu of Hanau village during World War Two, from 1942 to 1945. Mr Darisupa Diambu from Hanau village with one of his younger brothers, Mr Mapusa Dandusei was recruited but ANGAU with position to work as labourers and carriers with the American allied forces. The recruitment was done at Oro Bay where the Americans forces were based. From there all those recruited men were divided into different sections to carry out their duties. The duties allocated to different groups were general labourers, carriers of food supplies and ammunition to the soldiers who were at the front line. Mr Darisupa and his younger bother Mapusa were both carriers who travelled with the Allied forces who fought the Japanese along the north coast from Buna towards the Morobe Province. It took them a year or two to end up at Salamaua. During their travel from Buna to Salamaua Mr Darisupa's younger brother, Mapusa, was very sick, between the thick jungle and the mountainous areas of the Kukukuku and Salamaua which he could not get assistance from anywhere.
Mr Darisupa asked the army commander if they could assist his sick brother in some ways if possible but the commander told Mr Darisupa it is a wartime and they don't have time for sick people or anybody who needs help. It was a time which everyone's life was in his own hands and even when you were very sick at the time at that type of place where your home is some thousand miles away, it's only your debt that you should work for. So it was during that period of time where Darisupa's brother Mapusa was very sick but Mr Darisupa was so concerned about his brother's life and did not want to leave him behind in the jungle particularly next to campsite. So before leaving his sick brother at the previous campsite he leave him some water, some food, and even made fire next to his sick brother and told him that he would come back for him and carry him to the next campsite. While everyone at the new campsite some miles away from the previous campsite were busy, Mr Darisupa had to sneak out
and walk back to the place where his sick brother, Mapusa, had been left and poor Mapusa had no hope but just lay in the night waiting for Darisupa. Darisupa then carried his sick brother Mapusa and walked back in the night crossing strong rivers and climbing steep mountains to the new campsite where everyone was fast asleep after the whole day's work with all the heavy loads of cargo. Mr Darisupa was in the same position shifting his sick brother from camp to camp in the night and it took him a month or so to do that and finally they reach Salamaua where they took his sick brother to the hospital hoping that this sick brother would recover from his sickness so they both could return home happily after the war. That night Darisupa stayed all night next to his sick brother at the hospital, taking care of him until morning. But knew that his sick brother would die so he dressed his sick brother with new clothes and traditional armbands which he carried around with him. Darisupa then left to do his normal duties, and he came back in the afternoon and he was told that his sick brother
has passed away and imagine how Darisupa felt at that moment. After the death of Mapusa, Darisupa continued with his duties and he was one of those lucky ones to witness the Japanese ladies with all their kids who were all the hidden under a big tunnel at Salamaua. The allied forces opened the tunnel and released the ladies and their kids out and put them back on the plane and flew them back to their respective countries. And this was the last thing he witnessed, knowing that the war has come to an end. Mr Darisupa with the other carriers from Oro were put on a bus from Salamaua back to Oro Bay with nothing good but only American-issued blankets after years' hard work. Mr Darisupa left his wife with one boy four years old and his wife expecting the second born and when the war ended he was very happy to be greeting by his elder son Walbe and second born daughter Ensade. And this story of late Mr Darisupa was told to two of his children by himself. And this ends the story of late Mr Darisupa and we all salute him. Thank you.
OK, I think the only account of a death from the man taken from this village to be war carriers, I think so far only one death has been recorded, this man Mapusa was the only casualty of the men who enlisted from here - Is this a correct statement? Anyone here can answer that.
Mapusa was the only casualty of the men who was taken from this village.
And his body was hurried at Salamaua. He died and they buried him at Salamaua.
Did your grandfather say anything about how the relatives back home received the news of the death of Mapusa?
He came back himself with a small axe for 'mafea', small axe to .. to the family that he as passed away. So that is what he brought.
They accepted the death?
They accept the death. It was a very sad thing, you just imagine it, it was a very sad thing. When two brothers go off to war the one is dead the other one comes back, is alive, it was a very sad thing, but the family cannot do much.
How old are you?
.. I was born in 1979.. I am roughly 32, 35.
On behalf of all the men of your age, can you say just exactly how the young people of your age and perhaps younger, treat the war stories of the men from Hanau.. What does it mean to them.. how do the young people of Hanau treat their war stories of their grandparents?
I don't know about anybody but I feel that this is a very big thing, and it's a very big issue to me, because the Australians and Americans they used my grandfathers as .. you see, so I feel that this is a big thing to us. I don't know about anybody but as for me, this is a big thing to me, because this fellow here was my grandfather, he walked all the way to Salamaua and came back without anything good for the family. But he brought only American-issued blankets. With that he returned.
Are you happy that you are recording this story?
Yeah, I'm happy.
Alright I think your story is pretty straightforward. Thank you very much for your time.