Our story begins after Kokoda.
For most of 1943, in a mountainous and jungled region of what is now Papua New Guinea, Australians and Americans (with the help of the New Guineans) fought a hard campaign against the Japanese. Battles took place on razorback hills and on muddy tracks as the Allies pushed the Japanese north towards the coastal base of Salamaua. This became known as the Wau-Salamaua campaign.
On the 30th July 1943, US forces attacked a knoll called Mount Tambu. It was a failed attempt to capture a Japanese-held strategic point. But it resulted in one of the most extraordinary single acts of Australian bravery in World War 2. This story, Bull Allen’s story, is one of a number of forgotten tales about a forgotten aspect of Australia’s involvement in Papua New Guinea after Kokoda.
This article provides some context to the story of Bull Allen on Tambu, and explains how my production company Wind & Sky Productions came to make the short documentary ‘In Memory of Bull Allen’, and what I learnt through making it.