9 December 1942

All through the night the Japanese defenders trapped at Gona try to escape, many are shot trying to swim out to sea, silhouetted against the phosphorescent waters. At least 100 enemy soldiers were killed in this fashion before dawn.

After vicious fighting in appalling conditions where the Japanese fight to last man, Colonel Ralph Honner sends his famous message: “Gona’s gone!”

The Diggers spend the rest of the day burying their own and enemy dead. The Japanese have made no attempt to bury their dead and the stench is overpowering. At least 638 Japanese are buried in the area.