Peet proud to support Operation Legacy Australia Kokoda Challenge 2017 (OP LAKC 17)
Peet has a proud history of supporting defence personnel. Founder James Peet was a patriot and gave unfailing support to the war effort and returned servicemen, including spearheading the WA Sandbag Fund which raised money for the creation of sandbags to protect and support our fighting troops. Peet also provided the land upon which Anzac Cottage in Mount Hawthorn was built in 1916 and after the war James took a special interest in housing ex-servicemen.
Today Peet continues its support of defence personnel and their families through our partnership with a number of organisations, including Legacy Australia. Peet is proud to be supporting the 24 Junior Legatees and 15 serving Australian Defence Force personnel taking part in Operation Legacy Australia Kokoda Challenge (OP LAKC 17) to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the Kokoda campaign.
OP LAKC 17 will provide a unique leadership development opportunity for Junior Legatees, and foster a positive mentoring experience for the ADF mentors, and will develop lifelong relationships between all participants.
The group will arrive in Papua New Guinea to start the trek on 28 August and are expected to return on 7 September.
Training in full swing in preparation for Kokoda
Operation Legacy Australia Kokoda Challenge 2017 (OP LAKC 17) reached a significant milestone recently, by bringing together Legacy youth from across Australia and their Australian Defence Force (ADF) Mentors for the first time on Exercise POPONDETTA PRELUDE.
The history of Kokoda
This year marks the 75th anniversary of Kokoda – one of the bloodiest and most significant campaigns for Australian forces in World War II.
More Australians died in the seven months of fighting in Papua New Guinea than in any other campaign.
In July 1942, Japanese forces landed on the northern coast of Papua, with the objective to make their way along the Kokoda Track and capture Port Moresby on the southern coast - giving them control of Papua, and a base from which to attack the Australian mainland and shipping in the Pacific.
The Kokoda Track cuts through 96 kilometres of dense jungle and over mountains. Much of it can only be travelled on foot, which meant that all supplies and heavy equipment had to be carried.
The Kokoda action lasted until November 1942 and is remembered as one of the most difficult operations by Australian troops in World War II.
Conditions were appalling - it rained most of the time and the trail was almost impenetrable in parts with dense rainforest, muddy ground, agonising steep ascents and descents.
Despite winning some hard-fought battles, Australian troops were forced to retreat towards Port Moresby. Supplies ran short and tropical diseases such as malaria reduced the fighting ability of the men. There were few stretchers to carry the wounded, and even badly wounded men were forced to walk.
The indigenous Papuan population had suffered badly at the hands of the Japanese, and many were fiercely loyal to the Australian forces: they cared for the retreating wounded Australian soldiers, who nicknamed them ‘fuzzy-wuzzy angels’.
By early September 1942, the Japanese were within 48 kilometres of Port Moresby, but they were now far from their own supply base on the northern coast, and faced the difficulties of moving supplies and weapons along the narrow, mountainous track.
At the same time, American forces had occupied the island of Guadalcanal, in the Solomon Islands, east of Papua. They could use the island as a base to attack Japanese shipping. In response, the Japanese command decided to concentrate on Guadalcanal and withdrew their forces from Papua, even though they were within sight of their objective in Port Moresby.
Australian and American troops followed the retreating Japanese along the track, and fought them when they reached their coastal base at Buna-Gona. They defeated the Japanese, but Allied casualties were extremely high.
More than 600 Australian troops died in fighting throughout the Kokoda operation, and more than 1600 were wounded. Over 4,000 soldiers suffered from tropical diseases. Estimates of the Japanese dead are uncertain, but are probably even higher than the Allied casualties, because of the Japanese military tradition of committing suicide rather than surrendering.
You can support OP LAKC 17
If you or your organisation would like to make a tax-deductable donation in support of Operation Legacy Australia Kokoda Challenge 2017, visit:
Official launch of Operation Legacy Australia Kokoda Challenge 2017
“Our support of Operation Legacy Australia Kokoda Challenge 2017 (OP LAKC 17) symbolises our commitment to caring for the dependants of those that have died or become incapacitated following their military service. Defence veterans mentoring Legacy youths reflects the true spirit of Legacy. The 75th anniversary of the Second World War Battle of Kokoda, where so many Australian soldiers, sailors and airmen distinguished themselves, will provide a wonderful inspiration.”