Priscilla Eddie - Oral History interview recorded on 11 April 2017 at Wiole, Milne Bay Province


Mrs Priscilla Eddie tells the story about her father who was recruited by the Australians and the American to work as a cook during the war.


Warning: This site contains stories of war. Some of these interviews may include detailed and graphic descriptions of events and experiences that may be disturbing for some individuals.

This is an interview conducted on the 11 of April 2017 with Priscilla Eddie and she's from Salakadidi village from West Fergusson Island. But this interview is being held at Wiole at Ahioma in Alotau. Priscilla Eddie is talking through her . and her story is being translated by her daughter also named Priscilla Eddie.
She can't remember how old her father was when the war came. He was already married to a Bwagaio woman and they had two children, when he was in his early twenties.
My grandfather joined the Americans' and Australians' side and they were based up at Wahuhuba and the Japanese were at Giligili. So he was involved with the Australians and Americans. He was at Samarai and moved down here during the war. He was working at Samarai for one of the officers for the harbours board. And he was recruited by the Americans. He was recruited to help as a cook in the war. During the war they were cooking for the soldiers, American soldiers. The mess was at Wahuhuba, that's where the Americans were based. He did not tell her the full story.
Sikana is a Japanese guy I think, so this great grandfather, the Americans were based at Wahuhuba and the Japanese were at Giligili so when they fought and were coming the Japanese came up from Giligili and the Americans with great grandfather moved down. When they came and met here at Goilanai, the Americans were strong enough to shoot Sikana so that's where the war ended. They stopped and had to retreat, the Japanese moved back and the Americans went back. Sikana is from Fiji. He was a Fiji man. Grandfather have seen Sikana once. Sikana was a very huge guy. He was a huge, tall and tough guy. No, he didn't talk to or with him but he saw him. Sikana was on the Japanese side. So when they fought and the Japanese came up this way and the Americans came down this way, the Americans were too powerful and they shot Sikana and that's when the war ended. The Australians and Americans combined and they shot him. That's when the war ended here. Sikana's graveyard or monument is at Kainako. They buried him there. His graveyard is just at the road at Kainako.
He did not tell her any other stories about the war, only this when they were at home whenever she's sitting in the house with the father and he told her bits and pieces during the times he was in the war and what he did.
During the war the Japanese captured some women and cut their breasts and fried and ate them. Tell them the story. The Australians came up and they helped these Milne Bay people and the Americans. The Japanese have been mistreating our women around here, cutting them, they used to cut them with axe and kill them and cut their breasts.
[Another informant]
This happened where the Sanderson Bay area. There, they made a big war (battle) and how many thousands died there. They used to cut old women's necks and susus. My grandfather told me that story that's the one they are telling his story. I'm related to her. My grandfather also. My grandfather saw them with his own eyes, the Japanese cutting the women's breast. They just killing them and susu, they used to cut them and eat.
There were plenty warships full up here. Yeah they are cooking them (referring to the cut breasts) and they are eating.
When he was with the Americans, how they lived and what they eat was well with them. they had plenty of food, the Americans were good to them. they were eating white man's food like rice, meat and other foods. It is a war so yeah .. They only fear because they were in the war and the fear the Japanese. He feared.
They used to make contact when they give them shot gun they say pssst.
So mainly because at that time these bubus they don't know how to speak English so they only do actions like basics gun or like this the Americans tell them, okay they show them, and say bring this and they just go ahead and do what they are told. He was using only action (gestures) to communicate with the soldiers when he was working in the mess.
It went went and they started Motu, the . of Motu. It was actions, hands. Motu and then they came up came up Motu finished and then English and handover.
There were a lot of our local men helping the men in the war, men from Fergusson, from the village. Fergusson they came and they maintain this war. They came and join this war, all of them they run away they went in the bush. All Fergusson recruited all the Fergussons join this war and it went and they finished the war. And from that Agaun one one, and Goodenough one one they got them.
At Goodenough Island there's a place called Vivigani some people camped out there during the war. It was a base for them.
He was scared of the war. Great grandfather feared, he was really scared during the war so when the enemies were approaching, all them they all run away into the bushes or they go and camp uh make a new bas and camp. They don't stay in the same place, village. They move from one location to another.
Thank you very much.

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“Priscilla Eddie - Oral History interview recorded on 11 April 2017 at Wiole, Milne Bay Province,” Voices from the War, accessed June 22, 2024,