26 July 2012

Japanese surround Templeton’s Diggers at Oivi, forcing them into a tight perimeter of about 50 metres. Worried that his reinforcements may blunder into the position, Capt Sam Templeton moves back to warn them. His troops hear gunfire and he does not return. His body cannot be found.

Yesterday 39th Bn CO Bill Owen requested Moresby send him two companies by air (about 220 men). Only one platoon (about 30 men) arrives today. So ill-prepared were they that they unpacked their Bren machine guns from their transport boxes and cleaned the packing grease off them during the flight to Kokoda.

As soon as they land, they are met by CO Owen who sends them rushing off to Oivi to join Templeton’s B Company there.

The official history says: “About 5 o’clock Templeton went to examine the rear defences and to warn the second half of McLean’s platoon, under Morrison, whom he thought to be about to arrive. There was a burst of fire from the gloomy forest. Templeton did not return.”