Gona village and beach were in a shambles with dead Japs and Australians everywhere. Apparently the enemy had made no attempt to bury the dead, some of whom had obviously been lying out for days. The stench was terrific.

2nd/16th diarist. Read their full account (go to page 442).

Despite debilitating illness and critical shortages of ammunition and rations, the 25th Brigade continued to push into battle against the Japanese at Gona late in 1942.

The 21st Brigade relieved the 25th Brigade after heavy losses. They were bolstered by troops from the 39th Battalion who had been fighting along the Kokoda Track. Led by Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Honner, the 39th Battalion launched another attack.

On 8 December, the 39th Battalion captured the garrison at Gona. Australian forces held their ground against a Japanese advance across the Ambon River.

On 9 December, Lieutenant Colonel Honner advised his Brigadier that, 'Gona's gone'.

A 2nd/16th diarist wrote:

Their task was to feel out enemy positions and if fired on go immediately to ground. The patrol following was to come forward and mop up post. At second Jap post along beach twelve Japs were encountered, at least nine of them were stretcher cases, but all opened fire on party with grenades and rifles. Party retaliated with grenades and killed seven Japs. A message was sent, brought patrol 2/27 Bn up and post was cleaned out.

While attacking Gona, the Allies were also advancing on Sanananda.

Papua New Guinea
8 to 9 December 1942
Image caption
Australians captured the Eastern part of Gona Village.
Image attribution
Australian War Memorial. AWM 013838. Photo by George Silk.

Related Trails

The Beachheads

11 Steps