War veteran’s widow meets with Aust PM – POST-COURIER


January 16 2023
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese had a seven-minute chat with Anna Yauwiga, wife of Papua New Guinea’s known military strategist and intelligence officer in World War II, Sergeant Paul Yauwiga, when he visited Wewak, East Sepik Province.
January 16, 2023
BY GORETHY KENNETH
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese had a seven-minute chat with Anna Yauwiga, wife of Papua New Guinea’s known military strategist and intelligence officer in World War II, Sergeant Paul Yauwiga, when he visited Wewak, East Sepik Province.
This was among the highlights of Albanese’s visit in Wewak.
Although Mrs Yauwiga was blind and almost deaf, Albanese was told by PNG Defence Force officer, Nicholas Embia, of Moem Barracks, that she was more than 100 years old, an estimate of 120 years old.
“Good morning Madam, it is an honour to meet you and learn about your honoured husband, our hero,” Mr Albanese said briefly when chatting with Anna, the wife of Sgt Yauwiga.
Sgt Yauwiga was from Kusaun village in Kubalia, East Sepik Province.
During World War II he was a member of the Coastwatchers, a part of the Allied Intelligence Bureau, that reported on enemy positions and movements across Solomon Islands and Island New Guinea.
In November 1943 Yauwiga took part in the allied landings at Torokina, Bougainville.
A WWII fighter who died in 1982, a known Solomon Islands-New Guinea Police Force officer, a Coastwatcher, worked for 17 months behind Japanese lines forming a vital link in the Coastwatchers’ chain.
He was said to be remarkably brave and influential.
One of the highlights of Sgt Yauwiga was his plan to devise a campaign of rumour and subversion that led the Japanese to execute 10 of their own leading spies.
He arrested another 30 spies, thus destroying the Japanese network on Bougainville.
In 1944, he travelled to Queensland to teach Australian troops jungle survival skills.
In June 1945, while on Guadalcanal in Solomon Islands, Yauwiga suffered terrible injuries when a phosphorous grenade went off by accident. Yauwiga lost his left hand and his eyesight in the explosion.
He was evacuated to Brisbane where he underwent a cornea transplant at Greenslopes hospital.
One of the transplants was a success and Yauwiga was left with a blue eye. It was while he was recuperating at the hospital in Brisbane that his portrait (ART24397) was painted by George Aubrey-Crowe.
Yauwiga was awarded a Loyal Service Medal in 1943 and a Distinguished Conduct Medal in 1947.
East Sepik Governor Allan Bird and Australia PM Albanese thanked Mrs Yauwiga who held her husband’s picture while displaying to the public for being the woman behind a hero well remembered.
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