World War II battlefield found
June 7th, 2010
02:31 PM ET

Lost WWII battlefield found -– war dead included

An Australian trekker said he has discovered the site of a significant World War II battle in the jungles of Papua New Guinea, complete with the remains of Japanese soldiers right where they fell almost 70 years ago.

Former army Capt. Brian Freeman, an expert on the Kokoda Trail – a 60-mile trek through rugged mountainous country and rainforest of the island – said Monday he was led to the Eora Creek battle site where he found the remains of the soldiers.

The site about half a mile from the village of Eora Creek was believed to be the location of the last major battle that was pivotal in Australia’s campaign against the Japanese in Papau New Guinea.

Although the site was known to local villages, jungles reclaimed it after the battle of Eora Creek. Although locals hunted on the plateau surrounding the site, they avoided the 600-square-meter battle ground because of a belief that spirits of the dead were still present in the "lost battlefield."

What this means is that the site has apparently remained untouched since 1942.

“On our inaugural trek, we were hoping to find the remnants of a make-shift Japanese hospital and, potentially, relics of guns and ammunition. I never anticipated that we would find war dead,” Freeman said in a statement.

Freeman trekked to the site for the first time on April 23.

“It was as if time has stood still. We found ammunition running out in a line from the rifle that was dropped as the Japanese advanced to the rear,” Freeman said.

Freeman said extensive research on battle maps and diaries led them to believe that the Japanese had a medical facility in the area during the Japanese advance and its location had remained a mystery until now.

The team found kidney-shaped medical dishes at the site, pointing to evidence that the find was indeed the site of a Japanese hospital.

The presence of large rectangular pits, referred to as rifle pits, also indicated that the location was also a significant Japanese defensive position.

“However, it was the discovery of a Japanese soldier sitting up against a tree, only centimeters from the surface still in his helmet, with his boots nearby that began to tell the human story,” Freeman said.

The battle of Eora Creek is said to be the single most costly clash of the Kokoda campaign, although different sources cite different casualty figures.

Freeman's group says 79 Australians died and 145 were wounded, while the Australian War Memorial website says 99 were killed and 192 wounded.

Freeman said they are working with respective governments to repatriate the fallen solders and preserve the site in its “current pristine condition." Until then, no groups will be permitted to trek the site.

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Filed under: Australia • Japan • Papua New Guinea • World
soundoff (257 Responses)
  1. patinreno

    The Battle of Buna was a bloody God damm nightmare for our men. My husbands father died there. But so did almost everyone else. To find this is more than interesting to so many people.If you want to understand just what our men went through read the book. Ghost Mountain Boys, And quit talking garbage about this battle. It is disrespectful to the dead American men who died there.

    June 7, 2010 at 8:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gill Bates

      The story says the Aussies fought this battle, not the Americans., but what do I know, I just read the story.

      June 7, 2010 at 10:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robert

      Thank You!!! I couldn't agree with you more!!!

      June 7, 2010 at 10:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Per-Erik

      It's disrespectful to the soldiers fighting and dying there, regardless of their nationality. Their countries may have been at war, and we may have thoughts on who we think were right or wrong, but the soldiers, for the most part young men, were there defending their respective nations and following orders – let's not be stingy with the respect...

      June 8, 2010 at 12:23 am | Report abuse |
    • cfw

      Somebody did not read the article or does not comprehend the written word.

      June 8, 2010 at 4:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Beccas

      This is the dumbest comment of the lot. The pacific war involved many nations and the general ignorance of Americans is sad. Truly sad, and disrespectful. What the hell do you get taught at school? How to unwrap a McDonald's burger?

      June 9, 2010 at 9:04 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Faqi

    This is the remnant of a movie set guys. not the real stuff.

    June 7, 2010 at 8:09 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Dan

    This is where they made hamburger hill movie. And goonies

    June 7, 2010 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • d81840

      Goonies was made in Oregon dan.

      June 7, 2010 at 9:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • vchris208

      hamburger hill? really? even if this find IS fake, and i doubt it is, hamburger hill was not a WWII film. So why would there be WWII props there?.....and yes, goonies was made in oregon.

      June 8, 2010 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
  4. Food4thought

    Well, at least nobody brought up religion or the middle east

    June 7, 2010 at 8:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • good job

      yea...until now =P

      June 8, 2010 at 1:53 am | Report abuse |
  5. helmyelsaid

    stop wars all over the world at future(www.helmyelsaid.blogspot.com)

    June 7, 2010 at 8:44 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Rich

    Any war is miserable and the older I get the more I dislike all wars. These men died for something they believed in, just like most soldiers in any war. May they be honored as the heros that they were. If they can be identified then it will be great for the families. May they be treated with the respect due heroes.

    June 7, 2010 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robert

      Well said!!!

      June 7, 2010 at 10:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Per-Erik

      hear hear

      June 8, 2010 at 12:25 am | Report abuse |
  7. DecepticonsRule

    Pretty amazing that the site's been basically untouched by man since the day it was left. To be the first to walk there after so long would be very awing and creepy at once.

    June 7, 2010 at 9:25 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jason

    It's sad that soldiers died fighting for a small piece of land usually not much bigger than a mall

    June 7, 2010 at 9:25 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Luis Sarellano

    It is wonderful to know that the natives of that area respected such a sacred place for those soldiers who died defending their beliefs and their country. May the finally rest in peace.

    June 7, 2010 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jessica

    SO HE SAID HE DISCOVERED IT?...IT WAS HALF MILE FROM A VILLAGE, SO THE PEOPLE OF THE VILLAGE DISCOVERED IT LONG TIME AGO!!!!!

    June 7, 2010 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • sssimon

      That's just the way white people talk. Any brown or black people who live in the area don't count.

      June 7, 2010 at 10:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • smarty pants

      Yeah of course he discovered it. It is the same way Christopher Columbus discovered America. By the way, i also discovered my neighbors car before anyone else did. yeah.....I rock

      June 8, 2010 at 3:18 am | Report abuse |
  11. New York

    When someone else knows about a thing a place or an event you cannot claim to have discovered it. You may have learned about it, or found it but discovery is attributed to those people who first knew or discovered something unknown.

    June 7, 2010 at 9:44 pm | Report abuse |
  12. sssimon

    Seems there are some adults even who just look at the pictures and draw their conclusions and then make a comment without even reading the text.

    June 7, 2010 at 10:07 pm | Report abuse |
  13. DEgal818

    It would have been sadder IF it had never been found; now the souls can rest in peace and greet those of the "greatest Generation" as each goes 'west'. Lest' we forget.

    June 7, 2010 at 10:18 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Veronique

    I myself am a "retired" soldier and an "retired" special ops agent. I put retired between these """ because people whom have done these jobs never realy retire. They can't. It is not just a job. It is a way of life.

    I very reraly comment on anything on-line because of the bantering of verious types of people.
    The 'believers' and the 'disbelievers'.

    But this one is close to my hart since I have fought in battles and have lost men in battles.
    Irak an Afghanistan are just the last ones to name and I am barely 30 years old.

    My expertise lies in jungle-battles because as a child I have lived several years in jungles in the region of India and China. I lived there as a young child in very hard conditions. I know the jungle! When I went to my various trainings as a soldier and special ops officer I have been trained for various terrains. All terrains actually.

    I come out highest of my class in the jungle training. I am a 120 to 140 pound weighing woman. I came out first of my class and I was not only the first woman to reach these scores but more remarkeble, only 2 or 3 people scored higher in the last 25 years of this training.

    Woman normally don't do special ops. I did. And I was very, very good at it.
    I served in a dozen different countries and I am still alive and I got the job done.

    Now I need YOU to read this very carefully.

    IT IS AN INSULT TO ME, BUT EVEN MORE MY FALLEN BROTHERS TO READ MOST OF THESE COMMENTS ON THIS PARTICULAR BLOG POST. AS A JUNGLE EXPERT, I KNOW IT IS POSSIBLE TO FIND THE SHOES AND METALS AND OTHER STUFF IN A VERY GOOD CONDITION. AND I EVEN KNOW WHY. BUT I WILL SPARE MYSELF A WASTE OF TIME BECAUSE MOST PEOPLE WHO WILL TAKE THE EFFORT TO ACTUALLY READ THIS WILL EITHER NOT UNDERSTAND THE TECNICAL EXPLANATION OR WILL NOT CARE, FOR THOSE WHO DO CARE, BY ANY MEANS, I DO NOT WISH TO INSULT YOU OR YOUR INTELLECT AND I KNOW YOU WILL BE CAPABLE TO FIND THE NECCESARY INFORMATION ABOUT JUNGLE CONDITIONS AND WARFARE IF YOU LOOK FOR IT.

    I can tell you, who reads this, it is possible to find WWII remains in the jungle in such mint conditions. I have seen it with my own eyes. The helmets where put up as an old way of honnoring fallen soldiers. A typical military tradition. They where abviously not found in these conditions.

    About the shoos; in worl war II the leather was treated with different product then now. The shoos where manufactured different. The leather products used then where higly effectif but extremely toxic to the environment and therefore no longer used these days just like many other toxins such as DDT or agent orange.
    So for the ones claiming this is a settup and trying to cause even more riots on-line and making people even more dumb, stop being so ignorant and hating, there are people who care and prefer to do more usefull things then blame there own incompetence on the governement.

    About the granates, yes, they can look like this because of the harsh and now forbidden chemical paint on them. Check different history books. They will be unstable though because the pens will have rusted trough. They where not painted.

    About that this would be some "conspiracy or set-up" to rekindle the memory of WWII ;
    and that this is a staged scene and therefore never discoverd by officials;
    educate yourself because your ignorance is an insult to humanity and they soldier who fight for there beliefs and your freedom of speech and thought.

    I HAVE FOUGHT IN JUNGLES AND OLD JUNGLE SITES CAN REALLY LOOK LIKE THIS !

    I remote jungle parts people have strong believes in the spirit life and therefor leave these sites alone.
    Seeing that there is old and most likely unstable amunition there, some of the villagers who live there might have heard some of the old amuntion explode and take it as a evidance of gost life and therefore avoid the region.

    This battle was fought in a jungle where up to this day only once every 3 or 4 years people from the civilized world come and those people coming in the area are then usually people with either bad intentions or bad histories, wich is why the information about the location never reached the officials.

    AS I SAID, I RARELY COMMENT ON THE INTERNET, BUT THIS ONE COMMENT IS IN HONOUR OF MY FALLEN BROTHERS WHO HAVE STOOD NEXT TO ME AND WHERE SLAUGHTER BEFORE MY VERY EYES, AS IF THEY WHERE DOGS, IN THE BATTLE OF FALUJA.

    95 MEN PUT DOWN LIKE DOGS. I UNDERSTAND A BIT A URDU BECAUSE IT SOUNDS VERY FAMILIAR TO SOME INDIAN JUNGLE LANGUAGE AND I UNDERTAND ARAB AND TURK.

    AND THEY SAID TO EACH OTHER, SHOOT THEM LIKE DOGS, THEY ARE JUST CRISTIAN DOGS ANYWAY.
    95 MEN, NAVY SEALS, SHOT LIKE DOGS.

    So to all those with there big useless mouths, put your balls where your mouth is.

    To my brothers, rest in peace.
    your captain

    rest in peace

    June 7, 2010 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Beards

      Wow, whoever wrote this is completely retarded. Retarded for the claims "she" makes and even more retarded for thinking people would believe that rant. Complete retard.

      June 7, 2010 at 11:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • OIF Vet

      First of all, learn to spell. Or use a spell checker. 2nd. If you expect ANYONE to believe that you are a "retired special forces" solder and under the age of 30, I humbly suggest you have another hit of whatever it is you are smoking, inhaling, shooting up or drinking. Im guessing its all of the above. Third. "BATTLE OF FALUJA"? Seriously, you really should look things up before you lie about your "exploits". Its Fallujah and the last time I checked, the only people who got slaughtered there were INSURGENTS. 95 Navy SEALS? Gee, you think someone would have mentioned that. And who am I to say this? Someone who has actually been there. On the WRONG end of both an IED and a 107mm rocket. And who lost a very good and dear friend in Fallujah. So, do everyone a favor. Go back downstairs to the basement and re start the video game you paused to write this line of utter horse crap.

      June 7, 2010 at 11:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      not to many folks have done what you have

      June 7, 2010 at 11:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • starr

      yeah but can you spell!

      June 8, 2010 at 1:34 am | Report abuse |
    • MrSmith2U

      Number 1 – learn how to spell. More importantly number 2 – you are barely 30 yrs old and have in special ops for a "dozen or so countries"? Your credibility is shot in the ass. What the hell are you smokin', and where can I get some?

      June 8, 2010 at 2:04 am | Report abuse |
    • MrSmith2U

      Veronique, I have warned you about taking Viagra. It is for men! You need an intervention! If this behaviour continues, I can no longer be you doctor and will waive doctor/patient privilege and inform your parole officer! You still have an outstanding balance from our last two sessions.

      June 8, 2010 at 3:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Andacar

      It appears somebody is desperately trying to get attention here. First of all, what does your vainglorious post have to do with the article? Second, I will just chime in with all the others about your horrible writing. Just abysmal. Third, it's been my experience that real soldiers don't brag about the things they have seen, and certainly don't fill page after page of a discussion with rambling posturing and such obvious lies. You remind me of one of those guys who tries to pass himself off as a vet and buys medals. Shame on you.

      June 8, 2010 at 3:09 am | Report abuse |
    • MrSmith2U

      You have given new meaning to the word "MORON"

      June 8, 2010 at 3:15 am | Report abuse |
    • smarty pants

      what the heck is a "shoo?" Also, fighting in the park with your loser friends with nerf guns and water ballons does not count as fighting in the jungle. Nor does this intense fighting you or any of your 10 or 11 year old friends qualify as special ops training. i am no genious but i had to read hundreds of history books to find this out. thanks for your advise that i need to educate myself.

      June 8, 2010 at 3:29 am | Report abuse |
    • mister

      oh, i forgot to mention that i was shot multipal times while playing halo for 5 hours. but i'm okay now because i restarted the mission i was on. you think i can get a purple heart from obama for that???

      June 8, 2010 at 3:36 am | Report abuse |
    • cfw

      will someone please get her a dictionary. She may know how to "fight" in jungles, but she sure losr her way to English class.

      June 8, 2010 at 4:10 am | Report abuse |
    • cfw

      Oh, and, I almost forgot "Oh my God!!!!!! Reality check for Veronique, please.

      June 8, 2010 at 4:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Jonathan

      Amusing. Lol. Keep working on your creative writing.

      June 8, 2010 at 6:05 am | Report abuse |
    • Bobby

      OK, time to put down the bong!! And, yes, get Firefox and turn on the spellchecker.

      June 8, 2010 at 6:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Rommel

      I think the only job you have ever held was "Full-Blown Retard" and you have NOT yet retired, slick.

      June 8, 2010 at 7:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Govner90

      You are a total tool. As a 21 year vet still on actve duty I should be offended by your ramble, but taking into consideration that you are an idiot, it is actually amusing.

      June 8, 2010 at 8:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Jamesy

      Good Lord. How did this kid find the time to text that crap during English class?

      June 8, 2010 at 8:45 am | Report abuse |
    • BigD

      Sorry Veronique, no one that dumb would be in special Ops. Nice try.

      June 8, 2010 at 8:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Marie Rodela

      Thank you soldier for your service. GOD bless you. My father was in a jungle too. The Viet Nam jungle. He died there in 1967. Don't let these post get next to you. You served with honor and there are many who do appreciate that fact. One day the TRUTH will be known about everything to everyone. ..... which will only matter to those who really count! Stand tall, keep the faith, and keep on keeping on!

      June 8, 2010 at 9:09 am | Report abuse |
    • patkd04

      Please do specifiy which nation military and branch you were in, last I checked U.S. DoD regs prohibit women from serving in the special forces community. I also tend to agree with the other posts about Falujah, if 95 SEALs had been slaughtered there, i'm pretty sure it woulda been big news, after all, they are among the most elite forces the US has. Your story is rather incredible. I'm not doubting that finds like this could be made in a rain forrest, but please, don't disrespect our service members by making claims that don't fall in line with reality.

      June 8, 2010 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
    • patkd04

      forgot to mention too, officers require at a minimum a bachelors degree, your poor grammar and spelling indicate it isn't likely you have this either.

      June 8, 2010 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Just Me

      Also, it is Iraq not Irak - If I was stationed in a country you better believe I would know the name of it and how to spell it! Too many mistakes in the post to be believable - might make a good book, however.

      June 8, 2010 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
    • frank042

      Okay, I'll play your silly game but I'm a little confused about the "granates." Did you use grenades to explode granite, or is that a reference to eating pomegranates during the heroic online missions you took while your parents were asleep?

      You might also pick a better screen name. I'm thinking "Jane" would be appropriate, as in, "Me Tarzan. You Jane."

      June 8, 2010 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
    • grateful76

      OIF Vet...quick search on the 'ol internet can do wonders for facts, "This led to an abortive US operation to recapture control of the city in Operation Vigilant Resolve, and a successful recapture operation in the city in November 2004, called Operation Phantom Fury in English and Operation Al Fajr in Arabic. Operation Phantom Fury resulted in the reputed death of over 1,350 insurgent fighters. Approximately 95 American troops were killed, and over 1,000 wounded."

      She may be young but if you all realized she says she was not born in the US. She grew up much different than we did here. And...she does very well for not having English as a second language!

      June 8, 2010 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Eric

      Wow, you are the scary sort of delusional. You should seek help.

      June 8, 2010 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Seriously people...

      I can't believe how rude and inconsiderate people are on here. At least we know why incidents of internet bullying are picking up...the kids obviously get it from their ridiculous parents! Why don't we all just have respect for other peoples opinons and comments. If you don't agree you can just walk away...

      June 8, 2010 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Open Minded

      Thank you, Grateful76.

      June 8, 2010 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
    • nonon

      Does it occur to anyone of you that her bad spelling might mean english is not her first language? How many languages do you people speak? Most of you speak only english.

      And "JUST ME" criticizing her for spelling Iraq as "IraK". You're the biggest idiot in the thread. Did you know "Irak" is how most other non english speaking countries spell the country's name? WHy don't you stop and think that there are more languages and viewpoints than your own.

      June 8, 2010 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Open Minded

      @nonon, good point.

      I would think Fallujah could be similarly tranlisterated as Faluja.

      But, then again... the US is the center of the universe, soooooo..............

      June 8, 2010 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
    • i'm special ops too

      lol, Irak.

      June 8, 2010 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
    • papamilt

      C'mon, Veronique. We know who you are. You're that ex-governor of Alaska who can see Russia from her front yard.

      June 8, 2010 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
    • D.H.

      Veronique, you are full of it. Your story betrays you and is implausible. Typical wannabe stuff. BTW, I am a retired MSG, last unit was the 10th SFG. So I can pretty well guarantee you are full of it.

      June 8, 2010 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
    • D.H.

      OIF Vet,

      Well said! Hooah! Her facts just don't pass muster.

      June 8, 2010 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Tanner

      I like this Artice and I believe it to be True! For all non Believers > Join up, see for yourself what it is like. Unless you`ve been there or been in any type of Forces, Respect what you see and Read, I am sure someone today would POST this Article' knowing it was a Staged Fake, How stupid would that be, come on Think! I for one had FAMILY and still do in the Forces. So Respect those who will lay down their Lives' so you all can live and be Free!!! I hope I can see more on this Article.. Well done.. LEST WE FORGET"'

      June 8, 2010 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • patkd04

      @ Greatful76: 95 U.S. troops is not equal to the 95 SEALS that she claims...furthermore, the very fact that DoD regs keep her from serving in the special forces further discredits her story.

      June 8, 2010 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • really???

      Wow, Veronique....your post was simply amazing. What country did you serve for, because it was not the US since women are not allowed to serve in Combat Arms and Spec Ops. I guess it could of been with a Coalition country but then again only a few of those allow women to see combat and none with Special Forces so how did you gain that position? Also, how does training in jungle warfare make you an expert in the technicalities of archaeology, material composition, and other things that people would not understand in your post. Good research on Operation Phantom Fury though, the US did suffer 95 killed. I myself did not serve but I do think that the battle would be classified as a slaughter, although the loss of any life is tragic.
      So to those defending her, I'm sorry but her story is next to impossible. Not just for the points I made since you could continue to critique her story. It is a shame that somebody would actually say these things and try to pass them as true. CNN should revoke her internet privileges then send her to composition and grammar classes.

      June 8, 2010 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chuck56

      "Retired" soldier and special ops agent before 30 years of age????!!!??? So you were less than 10 years old when you were sworn in for your first enlistment?? I bet you also have a medal Of Honor and you were in Recon in Vietnam 40 years ago (even though you less than 30 now), and the Navy seal killed 95 insurgents shot down like dogs?? as another person said climb back down the stairs in your mothers house into the basement and play with your GI Joe dolls or whatever. LOSER!

      June 8, 2010 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • nlg

      Veronique.... It especially looks bad that you say "your captain"....a navy captain is an O-6.... equivelant to Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps full bird colonels.... there is no way you were one step from being a rear admiral (brigadier general in the other services) in under 12 years. Seals don't operate in company size units...which is what it would take to have 95 kia ( and then 90% of the company would be wiped out) ... plus ask one person who has been in combat if they can undertsand what the third man away says in a fire fight ( thats why we use hand signals)... none the less take the time to listen to the enemy having a casual conversation... you are an idiot Semper Fi Teufel Hundens

      June 9, 2010 at 12:18 am | Report abuse |
  15. CdnJim

    As Retired Msgt, and SFC Mike said the ordinance would still be live, and volatile. There's a lot of that stuff still lieing around in forests, swamps and beaches from WWI, WWII, and every war fought since. Tragically there are still casualties of these wars which don't get added to the statistics of war, when a child or a farmer picks up something, or hits it with a hoe and blows themselves up or is maimed.

    June 7, 2010 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kevin Moore

      That ordnance is still viable. Just a week or so ago, a bomb killed 3 EOD techs in Germany that was dug up after being in the ground for over 60 years. Europe, Germany in particular have dedicated teams specializing in old ordnance and after that many years it is so touchy that it can easily go off by itself.

      June 8, 2010 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
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