Remains discovered in Papua New Guinea, 2008

Remains discovered in Papua New Guinea, 2008

In July 2008 Unrecovered War Casualties – Army travelled to Papua New Guinea to investigate the cases of several sets of unidentified human remains believed to be Australian soldiers.

The remains had been recovered from several locations across Papua New Guinea, and were held at the Australian High Commission in Port Moresby. 

A total of eight cases were investigated, four were identified as Australians, two by name, and the remainder were identified by DNA as members of the Imperial Japanese Army. 

Unrecovered War Casualties – Army researched official histories, war diaries, grave registration records and the recollections of veterans to identify the Australian remains and were successful in two cases. 

The two Australians identified were Lieutenant Talbot Tim Logan and Lance Sergeant James Garrard Wheeler. Following their deaths, both Lieutenant Logan and Lance Sergeant Wheeler were given immediate battlefield burials. Over the passage of time, their graves were lost and could not be located during the end of battle clearances by grave registration units. 

The two sets of unidentified remains were buried "Known only to God" alongside Lieutenant Logan and Lance Sergeant Wheeler on 1 December 2009.

On 8 December 2009, the four sets of remains identified as Japanese soldiers killed during World War Two, were presented to officials from the Japanese Embassy in Port Moresby.