16 August 1942

 

Ralph Honner, new CO 39th Bn arrives at Isurava around 1.30pm and takes command from Maj Cameron. It's the day before his 38th birthday. The average of of his young Diggers is probably less than 20. He immediately begins moving around their defensive positions meeting them individually. 

Ralph Honner's orders are simple: hold the enemy on the northern side of the Owen Stanleys until your are relieved. He has about 450 troops. The enemy has 2000-3000 consolidating between Gona and Kokoda, with more than twice that number at sea due to arrive within days.

Aust patrols report that Japanese are consolidating back down the Track. Honner has some time to perfect his defences.

Maj Cameron tells him that B Coy is "unreliable', having "gone bush" during the earlier clashes at Oivi. He believes the company should be disbanded and they should be spread among the other companies. Ralph Honner takes some time to consider his response.

Back down the Track at Itiki, 2/14th Bn heads off up the Track aiming to reinforce the 39th at Isurava.