27 July 1942

Young Diggers under siege at Oivi almost exhausted, some falling asleep over their weapons.

Overwhelmed by superior enemy numbers they withdraw at night during heavy rain, led by remarkable Lance Corporal Sanopa, a Papuan policeman, via back tracks to Deniki, south of Kokoda, where the main body of 39th regathered at a supply dump.

Lt Col Bill Owen orders all stores at Kokoda to be burnt to stop them falling into enemy hands before falling back to Deniki.

Band Sgt Les Simmons described Sanopa: “Over 6 feet tall, he was an impressive figure in his black skirt-tunic edged with red braid, with his rifle swinging in one hand, a grenade in the other and, in his hair, the leaves he used for camouflage. He inspired our every confidence.”

Diggers withdraw to Deniki but 6 men are left behind at Oivi during the confusion of the withdrawal. They remain in their defensive positions until almost midnight when they realise all their mates have left.