NORMAN ROY HOWARD
C.O. 1st Independent Company Reinforcements
28th May 1986
Captain Roy Howard, NGX176, arrived in Port Moresby on the Macdui on 8 March, 1942. He and his men where instructed to stay on board to provide the A-A defences. Next he was given orders that he and his men were to defend the North-west end of Seven Mile Drome from strafing attacks. In executing this command, they became the first to shot down an enemy aircraft using concentrated small arms fire. The next day, he led a party to bury the Japanese pilot. Roy also led the first army Platoon over the Owen Stanley Ranges in order to provide intelligence on Japanese movements in the Kudjeru-Wau-Lae-Salamau areas. Eventually his platoon, along with the 2/5 Independent Company, joined forces to become Kanga Force which in the early hours 29 June 1942, struck the first blow in the Pacific land war against the unsuspecting Japanese in Salamau. Reprisals were swift.
Into his seventh month of jungle warfare, sleeping rough, often soaked by rain, in extremes of temperature, mosquito and leech bitten, cut and scratched by foliage, and racked by hunger, he eventually succumbed. Malaria caused him to be evacuated to the 14th Australian Field Ambulance in Port Moresby. Eventually, showing no signs of recovering he was sent to the 2/2 Australian General Hospital (AGH) outside Hughenden. Deemed unfit to return to New Guinea, he was stationed at Canungra Jungle Warfare School where he trained those readying for active service. In May 1943 he was transferred to the 2/7 Australian Cavalry (Commando) Regiment still stationed at Canungra, then finally, before being discharged in October 1943, he was transferred to 2nd Australian Canine Coy.
In 1946, he founded the Queensland Commando Association becoming its first President. In the Commando News, October, 1986 Edition, Alf Boyland wrote: ‘Vale. The Founder of our Association and our First President,....‘ He and his Constitution gave a solid foundation from which our Association could make and has made very satisfying development.’ Also written in the same edition was this tribute from Norm Phillips: ‘It was indeed a great honour to have known Roy and to have served under him; I feel sure that we have indeed lost a great man who was liked by many, a man so honest, considerate and a good Christian.
Yes, Roy, we will miss you. You will be in our memory for as long as we live. R.I.P.’ Roy was killed on the pedestrian crossing at the corner of Oxley Road and Clewley Street, Corinda with the 'Walk' sign in his favour.
28th May 1986