3 Sep 2009

Soldiers remains found in PNG Indian not Australian, as first thought

7:10 pm on 3 September 2009

World War II remains found in Papua New Guinea that at first were believed to be Australian Diggers have turned out to be Indian soldiers captured by the Japanese.

In June this year, a construction company working at Kokopo, near Rabaul in East New Britain province, found skeletons and artefacts thought to be those of Australian World War II soldiers.

The Australian government deployed an Army Recovery Team, which has established that the remains were Indian.

Artefacts found with the remains included military equipment used by Commonwealth forces, including Indians and Australians, during the war, but the sewing kit paraphernalia found at the site was of a type used exclusively by the Indian Army.

It is not known how many Indian soldiers were held and perished at Rabaul, but over 5,600 were liberated by Australian forces at the end of the war.

The Indian High Commission in Port Moresby has taken responsibility for the remains.