Z Special Unit soldiers laid to rest in Papua New Guinea
13 June 2014
The final two Z Special Unit soldiers killed on Kairiru Island during World War II have been laid to rest at the Port Moresby (Bomana) War Cemetery in Papua New Guinea.
Lance Corporal Spencer Walklate and Private Ronald Eagleton were yesterday buried with military honours in the presence of their families. Also attending was the sole surviving member of their last patrol, Sapper Edgar “Mick” Dennis MM. Soldiers from the Special Air Service Regiment and the 1st and 2nd Commando Regiments provided the funeral party.
Lance Corporal Walklate and Private Eagleton were captured and killed by Japanese soldiers during an eight man Z Special Unit patrol during World War Two. They were thought to be lost at sea, before evidence discovered by the Australian Army’s Unrecovered War Casualties unit lead to the discovery of their remains on Kairiru Island.
The Chief of Army, Lieutenant General David Morrison AO, said the Army was committed to honouring the memory of every Australian soldier lost in combat.
“We must never forget those who served before us, and whose legacy we live to today,” Lieutenant General Morrison said.
“Today we pay tribute to two soldiers who died in the service of our nation.”
“The Army is dedicated to honouring Australians who fought in all conflicts throughout our military history. Today’s ceremony reflects this commitment to our fallen men and women and the families they left behind,” he said.
Mr Brian Manns, Manager of the Army’s Unrecovered War Casualties unit, said the funeral was the culmination of years of work.
“The investigation took several years and involved an immense effort from the investigative officer and everyone in Army’s Unrecovered War Casualties team,” Mr Manns said.
“We are pleased that we have been able to provide a positive outcome and closure for both families.”
Army’s Unrecovered War Casualties unit investigates all notifications of the discovery of human remains, as well as information that may lead to the retrieval of unrecovered Australian servicemen. The unit is investigating more than 70 active cases in Papua New Guinea, France, East Timor and Malaysia.
Further information on the work of the Unrecovered War Casualties Unit is available on the Army website at: http://army.gov.au/Our-work/Unrecovered-War-Casualties-Army.
Imagery is available at: http://images.defence.gov.au/S20141642.
Vision has been fed to all TV networks at Parliament House, Canberra.
Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999