Lelesi Auboti - Oral History interview recorded on 1 April 2017 at Rabe, Milne Bay Province, PNG


Leseli Auboti discusses his uncle Iauna Totoala, who was a soldier with the Papuan Infantry Battalion



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 at Rabe village with Lelesi Aubodi, taped on the first of April 2017. And Lelesi is going to talk us about Iauna Totoala who was a PIB soldier. And the interview is being conducted by Anne Dickson Waiko, Elizabeth Taulehebo, Keimelo Gima, and also with the assistance of Muiawa Basinaro. OK and he's talking about his uncle. Yes I mentioned that.
Tell us about your uncle, he was with PIB?
Yes, actually my uncle Iauna he told me the story about how the war begins in 1942. What he actually told us is about the landing of the Japanese up at Wahuhuba and how they advance and how they were trying to find where, where Giligili was and so they advance, advance then they advance down west Tawala and so they followed the bay down. That's from Ahioma right down to Mutuiwa and Rabe and the he told us, he told us that a war actually happens. It broke out between the Japanese and the Australians. And so the first things that they had was somebody have to come and do a quick awareness of the people going away because the war was already, the war was already going to start within that period of a time.
So everybody had to move out of Rabe, Mutuwa and even going down the west like Waema, Lavaian. Everybody had to go because the Japanese were heading for Giligili. They were heading for Giligili and that's where the war broke out and, it's started. So everybody have to move out into the mountains and for my uncle Iauna he was very keen that time that when everyone was running away he have to go back to Koabule, Koabule Mission Station and killed the chickens and get all the taros and come and cook at Kapitali. O true?
And after he was cooking at Kaipitoli there were some fire, some fires from the Japanese right up to Waulubo and then so he have to stand behind, behind the very big mango tree where Kapitoli corner is. You will see. He stood there and he cooked the chicken and he cooked the taro while there was exchange of fires with the Japanese and the Australians.
And that's where maybe he was interested and then he have to go up to Gigilabu and meet up with his mother. And tell them with his small brother Dodi that “I am going up to join the force. I am going to fight for my people.” So he decided that time to fight. But the mother didn't allow him and so everybody have to go West, West Gurney and that's from, from Balaga and they had to walk round to Kanakopi Point and all the way round carrying all the children and going down to Savaia.
So it was a long, long and tiring walk that they did but they had to make it because of the importance of their life. So they have to go and so my uncle Iauna he was still interested in joining up but then he went down to Giligili and enlisted, or what's the word? Enlisted - yes. So they told him that “where is your father and mother? So he said, “My father has just died, and my father just died and we buried him at Auna and we are all going to Savaia.” So they told him the instruction that, he got from the Australian army that “you have to go and ask your mother before you can join.” Enlist. So made all the way to Savaia following his mother and all the people from Mutuia, Rabe. He made all, he walked all the way round and met …
There's a there's a lady call Sinadou at Kuiaro. I don't know what Sinadou was doing at Kuiaro. But he met up with Sinadou and she asked him, “Are you Iauna?” “I am Iauna. Did you know that the war has broke out with Japanese and the Australians. And so we are running away and am looking for my mother to ask him and – sorry ask her then join the force”. So Sinadou said “Okay, I will let you go.” So he walked all the way to Savaia where all the people were there. And he asked his mother and the mother said, “You are going to, you are going to join the army because you are the only first born that I have and your brother is here, very small and your sister is there.” There's only three of them but he insisted to join the army. So he came back and then he joined. He joined the force and so that's where he started.
When he joined the force, it was not only him but in in Rabe, Iaune joined up and also Boligai joined up, joined Boligai, Aupuna Igi. Boligai join, Iauna join and so some few. Taipota people like Gerald, Gerald, Jaikap, Aren Adi and there's an old man from Morima. His name is Misi Maela. He died in 1985. All his time he spent here. After the war he stayed here at KB and that he died in 1985 and they have to take him to, take him to Morima. And Padou, Padou is also Mutuiwa. These are PIB. Those are PIBs and there are few that I cannot remember. I might miss out. But those are the ones that fought.
But in the fighting what my uncle told me about is that they've been also using, they've been using black power. “An dis pla ok ot tok olsem mama blo u istap u fait, i dai u nonap fait.” (This is the talk, if your mother is alive you can fight but she is dead you cannot fight). That's their expression of the Milne Bayans that – sapos mama blo em dai a u istap bai u fait. Sapos mama blo u ino stap u no nap fait. (If your mother is alive you can fight or go to war, but if your mother is not alive you can't fight or go to war.) So we do not actually know about that side of it but then they went to fight.
So what my uncle told me, Iauna, in their fight, is Gerald. He was the spy and also Pado was also a spy. So what they do is Gerald was holding two cartridges, only two cartridges he would put them in his gun and then he would shoot it out over the Japanese or where the enemy is. How many thousands of Japanese but when he shoot one bullet over them and that means all of them are, are sort of like a – he confuse them. He confuse them with one bullet, one bullet fired over them. And that's where they will be confused about themselves and they will be killing each other and they will go inside and they will finish – not one of them will run away. And also that's the game they played – they game they played.
And so they fought, they really fought a heavy battle and Jacob is also from Taupota. He was called a native bullet proof. He was called a native bullet proof. And this expression was from the Australians and the Japanese, both the Japanese and the Australians because when he march no bullet would go into his body and so he is just marching and firing his gun. And so they called him the native bullet proof. The black native bullet proof. That's how they addressed him. And so they sort of used some black power to protect themselves, protect themselves from the Japanese, from the Japanese. So that's Jacob, that's Jacob's story what my uncle was telling me about Jacob.
And so the war in Rabaul was very, very tough that no-one can go inside and also in Bougainville. So the Australians have to come back here and look for good guys who can go and help them, but because for how many battalions have been killed in Rabaul and they said, that a Rabaul is the second Tokyo. OK. Second Tokyo that's what they said. No, no ship or no plane would enter because how they line up their guns.
The Japanese?
The Japanese, The Japanese and they called it second Tokyo. And so that's where they sort of wipe all Americans and Australians. Maybe first, second battalion maybe went in. They could not go in so they had to come and recruit here.
In Milne Bay?
In Milne Bay. Milne Bay. OK so they have to go and fight. They were B company. Hm.
B company?
Hm Samarai B company. Samarai PIB B company. Yeah, PIB. PIB. And so they … and so they went. They came and recruited them and they went to Rabaul. They went to Rabaul and on their way to Rabaul they change. That – you guys should go to Bougainville, and other Battalion had to go into Japan so Rabaul, sorry, Rabaul. They have to go to Rabaul and the other, and the other Battalion had to go to Bougainville. So from then they change and my uncle Iauna and them, they have to go to Rabaul.
And that time also Bougainville was, was very, very … Bougainville, no one could also enter into Bougainville. And so they have to use Ismel from Elima – that Australians, they were sort of discouraged so they have use Ismel that he gave them the assurance that this warship will go into Bougainville. So they ask him how it will go in because you know how we can go inside because the Japanese they are watching us and we are going in and so they've been using, they've been using black power. Yes, black power. They've been using black power. And so they have to tell the Australians that it's possible that you take the ship inside. OK. OK. It's possible you can take the ship inside. And so the ship, the ship went inside and when, when it went inside it was about 6 o' clock in the morning that the ship went inside. But then the captain did not know that these guys were using, using some, some sort of powers that they have been using Milne Bay power.
That truly, the boat was going inside and Ismel have had to make the sound at the boat up in the air. So all the torches were focused in the air and the boat went inside. So the Japanese did not know how the boat went inside. Wow. They thought that the aeroplanes were – the aeroplanes were on top of them so all the torches, the torches were focusing, focusing up towards the air. So while they were looking, looking up in the air the boat had to go inside, went inside. The boat went inside.
Do you know the name of that boat, the ship?
That, I will not give the name of that ship. I'm sorry.
But what my uncle was telling me that they were also afraid but when their, one of their men told them that we still can go inside. So they went inside not knowing that, somehow, that the sound of the engine went up into the air so they've looking for that sound in the air and they were thinking that it was a plane. It was a plane and the boat went inside. Wow.
And so at that time Australians were controlling the, I mean, the battle in Bougainville. So it was under their orders that Jacob also and most of the PIBs came out of the boat. And when they went, when they went out Gerald also he did something on the cartridge and then he had to shoot out over them and that's where it give time for them. They were under cover.
Because of that. The soldiers were under cover because of that and they had to go out. And when they didn't shoot, when they couldn't, Jacob that's where they say, they say that this is, it's a bullet proof, a bullet proof black native. So that's how they address him. That's what my uncle was telling me that's the time they went into Bougainville.
And the result of that war in Bougainville is no Japanese would escape. No Japanese would escape and even the Bougainvilleans. Bougainvilleans, their, even, especially the ladies, their susus (breasts) were cut.They cut their susus and they cooked them and they were eating them because of hunger.
Did your uncle actually see them?
He saw them, he saw them, he saw them. Some of them, their susus were have cut and they cook them and they ate them.
How did your uncle feel?
He did, he feel that this is a cannibalism. He, that's what he told us. That cannibalism has, is finished already. In Papua. But when they came back to Bougainville, in Papua cannibalism is finished, finished. But when we came to this war we saw cannibalism again in Bougainville. Because the susus of the Bougainvillians were cut and they have been eaten up. It's is a same as in Rabaul too. That's the same story.
That Rabaul ladies also cut their susus and they cook them in Rabaul as well.
And your uncle saw them in Rabaul as well?
No he didn't go over to Rabaul. They were, they were in Bougainville and peace, peace came. They were in Rabaul in the, in Bougainville in the bush and the, the president, Kennedy I think. Macarthur, Macarthur. General Macarthur, not president but General Macarthur. He came on, on top of the plane then he threw, he threw all the papers and on that paper that wrote peace – P E A C E peace. That today war is over. And so that moment the Japanese and the Papua New Guineans and the Australians and the Americans – black and white have to hug each other like it was never before. They hugged each other even with their enemies and maybe that was one of the rule of the war that when peace comes you have to throw all the guns and you have to make peace by hugging each other and kissing each other saying that today war is over.
Did your uncle actually kill any Japanese?
He killed, he killed many Japanese. How many did he kill? I think he killed, I think he killed, over thousand. Hm. Because, because of the way he was using the bullet too. My, my, my uncle he like when, when in fighting he just go forward. And his, the other friends they advise him that please you have to take care, you have to be careful because we are, we are away from our parents and then we might, we might go back with a sad story, so Iauna, we like you to take care of yourself. Because when you are firing, please you have to fire, go down on the ground. Get up fire and but he went, but he went was just going forward.
Sometimes he, sometimes when he got the Japanese, when he kill the Japanese he sometimes licked their blood which is very, very hard and I told him that why do you lick their blood. And he said, I want to be brave enough to shoot more and more Japanese and that's why I licked their blood. So it make me strong, strong and so it keeps me going. And that's why I didn't die and I'm back here to tell you the story that I fought in 1942.
Did He win any medal?
Yes, he got a medal. His medals are up there in a at our place, at Abila. And so he was also recognized by the Australian government that he was, he was one of the soldiers who fought in 1942 and not only him. But there are others like Ginipana. But people who did not fight are Boligai and them. They were on standby too. But other people who didn't fight but they went as a, cooks, no cooks like old man Dosele. Uncle Oldman Dosela was, was a cook. And he was the – he was a very good cook. Also Doseia.
They were cooking for the soldiers?
He was cooking for the soldiers – Americans and Australians. And the Americans were very good to, to the black people. How they treat them even the white Americans and the Black Americans, They are very, very good to the, to the people of, the natives. The natives. Not like the Australian---. Because they were very, very kind. In those times the Americans, they can come give you a smoke freely or money or candy, spray or yes candy. Yes all those things you name them. They are very, very kind to them and even they could tell them to drive vehicles and you know anything that belongs to the force, you can touch them.
But not the Australians. Australians they are very, very strict. They are very, very strict that even they can arrest you for breaching any law of the army. They just, they just want to start anything, they want to arrest you for no reason. And that's what they were doing so the people around here they get scared of the Australians but not the Americans, but they were so kind. So that's a short, brief history of my uncle.
But then none of them died. None of them died in the war except for Adema. He was jealous of over his brother Jacob. And then he made some poison in the cup, the tea, his cup of tea. He did some poison inside. Coming back from Bougainville and he poisoned him and he died.
His real brother?
His real brother. Same mother, same father. Same mother, same father.
What happened? Why? Why?
Why? That we do not know. They had family feud or something. They had their own family – maybe otherwise he might be jealous. Jealous of his brother. Jealous of his brother. Because after that they promote him to major, Jacob.
His elder brother?
His elder brother. The younger one killed him, killed him,poisoned the elder brother. So it's very, very brief.
But then after, after our uncle came from war and them my mother gave birth to us and then so he influenced the family, the Auboti family. You see? So our big brother, Wariupa, elder brother. After the war and his story about how he fought and so he influenced my big brother to join the cadets. Okay after my, after my big brother, my third born brother Tami Auboti, he joined the force at Popondetta at Martyrs' High School. He did not complete his grade 10 and when they came to recruit, the joined, he was – he joined, the he joined the army. So when he went to, when he went to Goldie River he was too small. He was too short so they told him to become a cook. So, you can become a cook and when you grow a little bit or reach that height or age, or age and then you can join the force. So he was there and then he grew up, and then he joined the force. OK. So he joined the force and then he became the captain. So he was Captain Auboti and also he was involve in Vanuautu in 1980. OK that time that time, that time Jimmy Stevens, Ted Stevens, he started a fight, a rebellion, rebellion. OK so my big brother Tami, third born brother he have to join…
And also when Tami came and told stories Brian has to join, Brian Auboti. The next brother. OK. The next brother. His brother is the third, is the third last in the family. I'm the last one. And he is the third last so he have to join and so all the time in 1989 he was in Bougainville. He was in A company. And he survived. Also, also I told Brian that you take courage because our uncle didn't die in Bougainville in 1942. And so today if you are fighting in Bougainville with Francis Ona and Sam Kaouna you're going to spoil the image of the Auboti. So you make it a little bit a hero. Can you make it a hero? Don't die. Don't die. Yeah. So because our uncle didn't die you have to make – protect, protect. You have to look after yourself and you become a hero. And so he stayed till the war finished. OK. OK in that war – also Sisa Auboti, that's our big brother who joined the – OK. Sisa Auboti joined. OK, Iauna, that's our sister's a - Iauna that's his name sake, Iauna Jeffry that's our big sister's son, he also joined. Lainolo, also Lopili he have to join. That's another sister and all of them were in Bougainville. So I think in our history we served the government for of the day today.
And you didn't join?
No I was trying to join but actually every time when my mother tell me to go to school I was always in the bush. But my aim is to join the force because I tell my mother I am going to join the force. But it, it turned out that I didn't school properly. Just grade, grade 5 and they had to put me off because of the cheeky way I have. And today I still regret that I didn't join the force but said thank you that all my brothers, they join the force. Or you can tell their stories. At least you can tell their stories. Tell their story.
So how many Aubotis joined the army? Altogether? Beside your father you talked about your your brothers and nephews.
Our uncle – their uncle or their uncle. Wariupa Auboti, he joined the cadets. OK, Tami Auboti, he joined the army, he became the captain of the army. Brian Auboti. Brian Auboti. OK and our son, Sisia Auboti that's our big brother's son, son. Sisia Auboti our sister, second born sister's son Iauna Jeffery. Now he is still in the force. He is still in Wewak, still in the force.
Five of them, five of them. So Lainolo Lopili our other others sister's son, son, son, Lainolo Lopili. That's army, but the other brother, our fourth brother Elijah Auboti he joined police force and our big sister, the other second born son, Wariupa Jeffry also he joined the force. He's still in the force today. Police force. OK, OK. Six plus two in the police force. Yes, two in the police force. Eight altogether in the armed forces.
I just want to ask you about walking from here all the way around Kanokope down to Sawaia. How long, how many days did they have to walk?
Uncle Iauna walked? Hm, his and his family when they walked, particularly his family, the mother? The family, the family went first.
How long did it take, you know? How many days?
Actually he walked three days. That's what he told us. But it's a long way. Yeah, I know it's a very long way. It's a very, very long way but he told us he, he went to some short cuts getting advice from the people that you can go over this mountain and then go down there. You can go over this mountain and the he walked three days, three days. OK, wow, and then, then the mother, wow? The mother and the family. And the same time he did not only walk but he was also running. Yeah, he was eager. The mother and he was, he was eager, really eager to walk but the mother went over to a (uncle, what's the name of this mountain? Wadiwadi). No. Duabo, a Duago. Everybody walked to Duabo. They went down to Sagarai and they have to go down to Siasiada and from Siasiada and short cut. Yeah and go down to Tawali. Leleapa to Savaiva.
But your uncle, your uncle was by himself or?
By himself and he met up the old lady Sinadou. My aunt, aunt, mum's sister. I do not know. No there was people there.
What people were there at Kuiaro?
At Kuiaro? There was another base. I don't know how what, what Sinadou was doing at Kuiaro but that the stories I met. I met Kedu Sinadou. But there was another base. That's old lady Sinadou. She was there at Kuiaro and I met her and she ask me, “Iauna – Where are going?” He said, “I am going, I am going to Savaia. War broke out so I am going to ask my mother and join the force”. But there was another base up there at Kuiaro, Kuiaro.
After the war, what did your uncle think of the war?
After the war my uncle, my uncle said that this war was one of the bloodiest war that I never, never, never experienced because you step on the blood and try to shoot somebody. And blood was all over our body because you stood and the bloodiest war was at KB and Iwatata, here, that's where you stand on the Japanese and the Australians and try to shoot somebody. And that's was the bloodiest war - Kuiabulu and Iwalata, KB Mission. KB Mission, Koiabule that remain this big bush there.
And so my uncle also told me that the Japanese were also using one native and whose name was Daiboio, Daiboio. At KB Daiboio.
He's from, he's from KB?
He's from Mutuia, Mutuia. OK. And the Japanese got him to defend themselves by using him and killing the Australians. So they put him as a shield in front, in front of them and when the Australians tried to shoot, yes because that time they didn't see the guns. They use bayonet, bayonet – hand to hand bayonet. And so the Japanese they have to get Daiboio in front of them as a shield and they were killing all the Australians. So Australians have to stab him to death. And they start killing the Japanese. Those are very short informations.
He was the only one they used? Was there any other native that they used as shields? He was the only one?
He was the only one they used him as a shield. And they killed him. They stabbed him here. The guy who shot him was an Australian. He shot him here just on the abdomen. And so he killed him instantly. Sad.
And so why the Japanese also lost to the Americans and the Australians is that first when they came. They went to KB Church and everybody have to run away and left all the bibles. And so the Japanese came in, they got the bibles, they tore them and they have to wipe their arse. Hm. And so that's, that's the story that most Japanese lost why is because they had to tear the bibles and they use them as toilet papers. So that where they, uncle? They lost. So that's a, that's a just very brief story.
Did your uncle tell you how old he was when he joined?
My uncle. Maybe he was eighteen years old. He was very, very young. He did not shave his beard and he joined the force.
What do you think of your uncle?
I think my uncle was one of the smartest soldiers and he was tough too. He was, he was very tough. And well built, well built. He was well built and one of the handsome young fellow.
Like you?
No. No. I think my nose is not very, very straight like my uncle. Like my two uncles like Iauna. Dodi. Iauna, Iauna and Dodi. Very handsome. They are very, very handsome even that Dodi his small brother, they call him, I mean when they see him they should think he was one of the Pacific Islanders.
Because of his hair. And he's also built so my uncle, my uncle Iauna I think he is very, very, very tough.
You got a photo?
Yes, I got a photo up there when he was a PIB and he dressed like, like a sulu, pocket but it was very, very short that time from here and you have to tie it around here. And so that photo was with me but my big brother Brian Auboti said that I have to get this photo and then I'll take it and do some… then yeah, develop. But it's there and I have to go and look for him. I think he should also give you some good information about the war. But he won't tell you about 1942. He might tell you about Bougainville (in the late 1980s). But you are not – Yeah, but you are not after Bougainville, you are not after Bougainville but our history says that we serve Papua New Guinea. Hm, that's true. From our uncle, yeah, down to us. We, we.
So he was wearing a laplap type?
Yes, it's , ye laplap type. Himself and …
How did he feel like wearing like you know – fighting?
No, that's after, that's after fighting. They came back and they put, they dressed up and they snapped them. … But yes, he's very, very handsome. And, and one of his stories is you know and the lady what he told us that, that my uncles – “where I go many lady, many, many ladies, you know they, they fell in love with me because my handsomeness. My build and …”
Did he ever entice any white Australian nurses or?
No. No. He didn't, he didn't even make any friends with the Australians, Australians because they are very, very strict. They were very, very strict that no black, no black native would come and make friends with any, any Australians. White, white Australians. Except, except for Americans.
No, not the Americans, the Australians they made friends with some, some of our ladies, girls, ladies around here.
O true? So you heard stories about them?
Yeah, about them and some of them they make friends with them. And the …
From around Rabe area or from where?
Yeah, some of them around Rabe area. Hm. That was the story from the other uncle, Auna's brother. And the wife, they told us that the other Australian was also making friends with one old lady. Her name is Dalai. Dalai? Dalai. And so the Australian was trying to – the soldier boy was trying to get her to Australia. OK. Dalai up at Mutuia and the Government didn't allow. Yeah, allow any soldier to get married. The Australian government didn't allow any to take her to Australia – to take her to Australia. So they have to, the Australian soldier really cried, he really cried and he had to break her bagi (traditional necklace) from her. He had to break it from her neck. Like that bagi you are wearing there … Judy and their mother.
She's still alive?
No, she's gone. She gave .. She died already, told her story.
Judy and who? Who is the eldest? Judy or Ann?
I think Ann. Ann is down at Kainako living with Meki. OK.
Any other story that your uncle, your uncle tell?
Yes, our uncle told us that's a the Australian, the Australian ship. Australian ship was also came in in. That's between he Gilagilana and Gilagilana, the Iwoli, island. Iwoli, these two islands. The ship came inside but it was so huge. So it was trying to turn back towards Kanokopi and go out. But it's trying to turn the it was just close to the island and it was very, very slow because there are many reefs there, there so it's trying to avoid it but the Japanese airplane came over from Suau just from these mountains. It came and it shot it down. Today it is still there and we always go there and fish there. The boat? It's a cargo, cargo boat. It's not a warship, it's a cargo boat. Came to off load some food for the Japanese – no, the Australians or the Australians.
And so, and all the spies on that mountain on top there, Bilobilon. No, it's Walidono, Walidono. Yeah, Waliwalindi, all the Australians, they used the horses to pick up the artillery, the machine gun there to get them up there – on the hill. On top of that mountain there and they have to shoot right up to Kanakopi Point and stop any Japanese ship coming inside. Wow. And truly they defend that point, that point that not any other ship would enter inside. They really protected. And the Australian soldiers they, they protected place that no Japanese boat enter. They made sure. They did a very good job. Ha, yeah.
They did a very good job that and so today you can go up and see the hiding place. The hiding places, they dig the holes and that's where they put the guns and they were shooting all the way to the …
How long will it take to climb up? Only two hours? No, one hour?
One hour. For the slow people, for slow people they can walk one and half but the young people like us, we can walk one hour, half an hour, one hour we can half one, one, yeah. But you can go snap the what place.
Is the, the road going up?
There's a road yes, road went up. It goes up … to the waterfall. You should take the what up – the tourists. Yeah, that's an idea. Yes. That's the … place.
And so the Japanese, they couldn't, they couldn't walk this, walk this road so they have to go on top. But most of them, they met them. The Australians also in the bush, they met them in the bush and they shot them down. And so they didn't follow that path again. OK.
They really set what, stood by. That could be really - they really protected the place. They really protected the place and set them up very well, Australians. The Japanese were not many, the Allies, they were … more people. Well, I don't know. Lot of them died; many, many Japanese died.
You know from their stories?
Yeah. Lots of Japanese died. The Allies were very, very well prepared. Yeah, they were very well prepared. The Allies that came first they really set up well. The infrastructure. Hm, the airstrips, the roads, stood their guns in strategic areas.
And most of them came, most of them came they also don't know how to speak English. Hm.
Which ones?
The Japanese. So there's an old man from Ahioma, after they ask him to show them the way to Giligili. This one's uncle … Eli, Eli. OK. OK. Eli Dickson. Any way tell the story. Tell you story. I think he, after they, they ask him that Giligili, Giligili. They didn't even say anything but they ask him Giligili, Giligili. So that like told them that he was using also his hands, that this way, this way down and after he was walking – he was walking on the road. He followed another track and he got a crowbar and then he went and he speared him with the crowbar and he killed him to death.
The Japanese?
The Japanese. The Japanese. Oh. That old man went back to the house. He got the crowbar and he went and spear him with crowbar and he killed him to death.
Thinking that this fellow might come back and shoot me. OK. Hm. Wow. So he speared him.
Himself? That himself by himself?
Oh no, no – not uncle Eli but another, the other …
OK. There's also another bloodiest, bloodiest fighting area, fighting zone where the two Australians also put the artillery machine gun. Two brothers, two brothers.
These Cameron brothers here or that one?
Yes, that story. OK. That, that's so they stopped them from a advancing because they, they said that when the Japanese came, it was just, it's like little ants. Hm. They cannot give gap. They cannot even give gap when they were walking down. Hm. Close to each other. Close to each other – were walking like ants. That's what they were telling us. Hm. So that means there were plenty of them. And so the two brothers… That means there were plenty of them, if they say they are like ants. Hm. They outnumber the Australians and so they put the machine gun after they were firing, firing, firing, firing and the barrel of the machine gun melted and so they have to leave the gun and run for their lives and the Japanese came in.
Any more stories?
Uncle might have stories. And like how he said, my uncle Allan Sene went fighting at the Rabaul and Bougainville. Uncle Iabuti – they went fighting there with Iauiau, cousin brother, Iauiau, Jacob, Gerald hm, Billi. They went because no any Japanese, no any Australians could go through there because they dug a very, very big tunnel that where they put its, their machine guns and any warship will come, they'll blast it off and no one should go through. No Americans and no, no Australians. That time my uncle Sene was a medical, in the force. A … Allan Sene …. O Fred Geruaga. Fred Geruaga. Hm. He's going to talk and then talk about his father. The what, the alcohol maker – Vivian.

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“Lelesi Auboti - Oral History interview recorded on 1 April 2017 at Rabe, Milne Bay Province, PNG,” Voices from the War, accessed May 22, 2024, https://pngvoices.deakin.edu.au/items/show/421.