Vale Ben by bobfoto

Vale Ben

At around 4pm on the 23rd of July, 1943 Ben Moide was a young 19 year old Sergeant with 3 years of training with the newly formed Papuan Infantry Battalion and a long way from his home of Pari Village but hiding amongst some dense undergrowth near Awala; half way between the Kumusi River and the north coast. Coming towards Ben and his battalion was the Japanese Army, on bicycles.

Ben had never seen a bicycle and therefore had never seen a man on a bicycle, let alone an armed man ready for combat. Ben and the Papuan soldiers under his charge were taken by surprise; the Japanese had deployed the same tactic to great effect in Malaya. Ben's taubada cried out shoot and the young men of the PIB opened fire and for the first time, the men of Papua New Guinea had engaged a hostile enemy on their mainland island and World War Two was on their door.

Ben passed away on the 30th of December just gone, possibly the last of the PIB that were there when the war came to PNG. I had the pleasure of spending time with Ben on more than one occasion, including this television interview with the BBC. I posted a closer shot of Ben back last March here: http://365project.org/bobfoto/365/2013-03-22

Rest in peace Ben. Vale.

Photo taken at the Bomana War Cemetery, NCD (3/22), on the 22nd of March 2013.
A great tribute to an incredible man.
January 3rd, 2014  
@sangwann - Thank you Dione.
January 3rd, 2014  
This is a fabulous tribute
January 3rd, 2014  
He was a great man and had great strength! So good you could get these photos and hear his story!
January 3rd, 2014  
a life worth living
January 3rd, 2014  
A pleasure indeed for you. A good man.
January 3rd, 2014  
@swilde - Thank you Sue.

@maggiemae - So sad to know he is no long there.

@houdiniem - H eloped his Rugby League and did a great deal of work here after the war.
January 3rd, 2014  
Great photo - I love how all of your shots tell a story - beautiful.
January 3rd, 2014  
How sad... What a good photo to pay him a tribute...
January 3rd, 2014  
A wonderful tribute!!
January 3rd, 2014  
Thank you for letting us know about his passing. And thanks so much for sharing his portrait and story back in March. Too many of his fellow WWII veterans all over the world have slipped away, unrecognized in life and unknown in death. Keep sharing their stories...
January 3rd, 2014  
Mac
May his legacy never fade. I was so impressed when I saw the first image and have not forgotten him. Very sorry for his family and friends. Thank you for letting us know him - however briefly.
January 3rd, 2014  
I faved the photo back in March. You are doing a great service watching over these veterans. R. I. P. Ben.
January 3rd, 2014  
Such an incredible man to have gotten to know, and great stories to learn as well. We are better men and women for knowing such people and hearing such stories. Happy New Year Jason.
January 3rd, 2014  
great shot and words what an amazing man.
January 3rd, 2014  
I remember when you featured him in a close up last Spring. I like this one showing him in front of the cameras too. nice that he was recognized for his contributions. RIP, Ben.
January 3rd, 2014  
Such a great loss of both an inspiring and very precious man and the history that is so closely bound to his life, - your service in this arena is such a gift to all of us that are blessed to share in your images and tales - you widen our perspective and you keep these wonderful men and women alive in our thoughts and understanding. Bless You - I am grieved for his family's and for your loss. We are all a little poorer for his passing.
January 3rd, 2014  
Thank you for sharing this history and this tribute.
January 3rd, 2014  
Just wonderful! Such an interesting person.
January 3rd, 2014  
A wonderful story of a great man!!
January 3rd, 2014  
I just can echo the other comments... :)
January 3rd, 2014  
@iwatts - Cheers Ian, thanks mate.

@stimuloog - Thank you Marloes :)

@pamknowler - Thanks Pam.

@bernicrumb - Thanks Berni. Profound words are yours.

@riverlandphotos - You're welcome, I would have liked one more meeting with Ben. :(

@rvwalker - Thank you Ross.

January 3rd, 2014  
@geocacheking - Thanks Cameron, thank you.

@area2 - Thank you Michael.

@grammyn - I want to see what happened to the doco?

@kittikat - Well said Kitti, he was an inspiration but sadly lost on a youth that believes their hardship is much greater of their forefathers who did volunteer to face an unknown enemy.

@kitdelite - You're welcome Kimberly.

@juliedduncan - Thanks Julie.

@carolmw - I agree Carol!

@agentzuckerguss - Thanks Katia :)
January 3rd, 2014  
Lovely tribute.
January 3rd, 2014  
@tara11 - Thanks Tara.
January 4th, 2014  
@bobfoto Was it never shown? Maybe they will show it on an anniversary date of the action.
January 4th, 2014  
@grammyn - it may have been shown in Britain. I never saw it here in the colonies....
January 4th, 2014  
I missed your photos while I was away.
January 4th, 2014  
@fricka - O' thank you Stephanie. :)
January 4th, 2014  
RIP Ben.
January 4th, 2014  
@bobfoto Bummer!
January 4th, 2014  
@kjarn - Vale.
January 4th, 2014  
I guess that's the beauty of photos, they preserve the memories and folk like you perpetuate them just fine
January 27th, 2014  
@filsie65 - Thanks Phil.
January 27th, 2014  
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