24 October 1942

Lt Colonel Paul Cullen leads his 2/1st Battalion across a bridge over Eora Creek in pre-dawn darkness to attack the Jap positions.

The Diggers sneak across the bridge under the noses of enemy sentries. When the Japs realise their mistake they sweep the positions with machine-gun fire from their log-reinforced weapons pits above the valley.

The Australians lose 10 killed in action, one is Pte Guy Manusu of 2/1st Battalion. His brother Alfred will die in the same battle three days later.

23 October 1942

The Battle for Eora Creek is in full swing with both sides taking heavy casualties. The Australians lose 26 killed on the day, including three missing presumed dead. All bar three are from the NSW-based 2/1st Battalion.

The Japanese defenders chose their position well, building their ‘forest fort’ around the only fresh water source on the high ridge. Consequently the Australians are forced to catch rainwater in their capes and from tree roots.

Each time Australian patrols contact the Jap defences, scouts are killed, the positions are taken but during the night when the Diggers have to withdraw, the Japs re-establish their defences.

Replaced 21 Brigade commander Arnold Potts writes note to his men thanking them and concludes: “Be loyal to all the ideals we have built up around this Bde of three hard-hitting, hard-marching and hard-living Bns, and nothing in your lives will ever give you half so much pleasure as belonging to it or so much pain as leaving it.”

22 October 1942

A dawn attack by B Company 2/1st Battalion finds the Japanese defenders have spirited away during the night, falling back to positions further along the Track.

The Diggers are surprised at the extent of the enemy defensive works, prepared almost 300 metres along the Track. The Australians lose six killed in action and three more who die of their wounds.

They know the enemy is waiting a short distance down the Track

21 October 1942

Jap defenders now back near Eora Creek village where they have prepared positions on the dominant ground overlooking the village and the valley.

Diggers lose two from 2/1st Battalion killed in action, Cpl Ron Rothery and Pte Ted Munday and the 2/2nd Battalion loses Pte David Fernance kia and Pte Tom Johnson who dies of wounds received in the earlier fighting.

At Eora the Japanese 144th Regiment’s 1 Company battle diary records it “suffered heavy losses from enemy’s attack and was almost annihilated”. Late in the day the Australian break through the Japanese left flank and force them to back down the Track.

20 October 1942

In heavy fighting the 2/2nd the Australians work their way around the Jap positions at Templeton's Crossing and break through their perimeter on the high ground, led by the 2/2nd Battalion. Casualties are high on both sides, with 24 Diggers killed in action, 22 of them from the 2/2nd Battalion.

The Japanese are forced to withdraw back down the Track to prepared positions at Eora Creek where the fighting continues.

19 October 1942

Fighting intensifies at Templeton’s Crossing as the Australians, led by 3rd and 2/2nd Battalions, work their way around the high ground above the Japanese positions.

The Australians lose 16 killed in action on the day, eight of them from the 3rd Battalion. By the end of the day the 2/2nd troops are heavily pressing the Japanese perimeter.

All the while Higher Command demands the Diggers energise their attacks: "During last five days you have made practically no advance against a weaker enemy." HQ had no concept of the precipitous terrain and the advantage it gave an entrenched force.

18 October 1942

Battle at Templeton’s Crossing continues as Diggers try to outflank the Japanese defences, dug in on the high ground.

The 3rd Battalion takes brunt of the action, losing four soldiers killed: Cpl Bob Rogers and Ptes Kevin Cosgrove, John Jones and Arnold Kemp.

Meanwhile Blamey signals General ‘Tubby’ Allen: “General MacArthur considers quote extremely light casualties indicate no serious effort yet made to displace enemy unquote. You will attack enemy with energy and all possible speed at each point of resistance. Essential that Kokoda airfield be taken at earliest. Apparent enemy gaining time by delaying you with inferior strength.”

Gen Tubby Allen replies: “25th Brigade has been attacking all day and enemy is now counter-attacking".

17 October 1942

Near modern day Templeton’s Crossing No 2, Sgt Bede Tongs 3rd Battalion takes command of his platoon after his officer Lt Col Richardson is badly wounded. He evacuates Richardson then deploys his platoon to attack Jap machine gun positions.

Tongs crawls down a fire lane close to Jap machine gunners, takes a grenade, pulls out the pin waits two seconds then tosses the grenade into the pit, silencing them.

He will later be awarded the Military Medal for his gallantry. Colin Richardson survives harrowing evacuation. Loses lung but survives. Both Tongs and Richardson hale and hearty in their 90s.

16 October 1942

At the Battle of Templeton’s Crossing, fresh Australian troops now probing around Japanese positions as both sides hit by the illnesses concealed by the jungle.

Captured enemy documents reveal Japs suffered around 1000 casualties during their advance to Ioirbaiwa. The Australian advance is already showing signs of the devastating impact of illness. To date they have lost 24 officers and 706 other ranks to sickness.

General ‘Tubby’ Allen doesn’t believe that his commander General Blamey understands the problems faced by the Diggers as they try to push the enemy back along the Track. He tells Blamey “this country is much tougher than any other previous theatre”.

15 October 1942

Brigadier Ken Eather establishes 25th Brigade HQ at the Myola dry lakes, east of Kagi village on the Track. It has become the central supply dropping point for the Australian advance.

The 3rd Battalion is in the vanguard of the advance, battling the Japanese delaying force at Templeton’s Crossing along with the 2/25th and 2/33rd Battalions.

Fighting is sporadic during the day and only one Digger is killed in action, Queenslander Private David Walker from the 2/25th.