Eora Creek - Papua New Guinea
Eora Creek was the site of the largest battle on the Owen Stanley Ranges in the Australians advance to Kokoda.
The 16th Brigade commanded by Brigadier John Lloyd made up of the 2/1, 2/2, 2/3 Battalion. The Japanese entrenched themselves on the commanding high ground above Eora Village on the far side of Eora Creek, from here they were able to engage the Australians by mountain and machine guns at will. Lloyd was under pressure to advance as General Blamey and MacArthur were not satisfied with the progress of the troops and decided on a frontal assault across the creek which resulted in a high number of casualties. At 2.30 am on 23 October the attempt was made, the men crossed the first bridge only to have the cloud clear from the moon and expose them in the increase of light. At dawn the Australian’s were pinned down by the Japanese.
On 24 – 25th an outflanking movement was attempted, to compound the problem Eora Creek roared into flood washing away the log bridges. Chaplin C.W. Cunningham distinguished himself by helping bear the wounded through the dangerous waters, comforting the dying and burying the dead without rest or regard for his safety. On the 27th, the Japanese were under continuous pressure and moved their position back and tighter (it was positioned on the only water source found on the ridge). At first light on 28 October two companies made a direct assault from the left and managed to succeed from the higher ground. Corporal Lester Pett knocked out four machine gun posts singlehandedly. Seventy nine Australians fell in the attack on Eora Creek.
Did you know: This was the first battle that the Australians saw the Japanese run away, they dropped weapons and stumbled into the bush. Some of the dead Japanese were found wearing Australian wrist watches.
Source: Field Guide to the Kokoda Track, Bill James