Kokoda Day, commemorates the day in 1942 that a small band of Australian soldiers re-took the township of Kokoda as part of a legendary campaign.
It is not an official holiday like ANZAC day that celebrates our great escape from Gallipoli or as some would say, our greatest war time loss. Not withstanding it is the battle that forged the greatest nation in the world, Australia.
Kokoda Day is about celebrating Australia’s greatest war time victory; The defence of the very nation itself.
Now there are a few who wish the date to be the 29th August in honour of Private Bruce Steel Kingsbury who earned the VC posthumously on this date.
In New Guinea, the Battalion to which Private Kingsbury belonged had been holding a position in the Isurava area for two days against continuous and fierce enemy attacks. On 29th August, 1942, the enemy attacked in such force that they succeeded in breaking through the Battalion’s right flank, creating serious threats both to the rest of the Battalion and to its Headquarters. To avoid the situation becoming more desperate it was essential to regain immediately lost ground on the right flank. Private Kingsbury, who was one of the few survivors of a Platoon which had been overrun and severely cut about by the enemy, immediately volunteered to join a different platoon which had been ordered to counter- attack. He rushed forward firing the Bren gun from his hip through terrific machine-gun fire and succeeded in clearing a path through the enemy. Continuing to sweep enemy positions with his fire and inflicting an extremely high number of casualties on them, Private Kingsbury was then seen to fall to the ground shot dead by the bullet from a sniper hiding in the wood. Private Kingsbury displayed a complete disregard for his own safety. His initiative and superb courage made possible the recapture of a position which undoubtedly saved Battalion Headquarters, as well as causing heavy casualties amongst the enemy. His coolness, determination and devotion to duty in the face of great odds was an inspiration to his comrades. 9th February 1943.
Or it could be on one of the days where Australian Forces took back control of the Kokoda track. At least this day will be on the correct day given our similar timezone with PNG, not a day early like we do with ANZAC day due to timezones.
It is said Gallipoli forged a nation (Ken Oath) and Kokoda saved a nation (Strewth).
Too Right I say.