17 January 2013
Remarks by Australia’s High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea, HE Ms Deborah Stokes at the Funeral Service for the Late Sergeant Ben Moide CBE
The family of the late Sergeant Ben Moide including his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
The Hon Michael Malabag MP, Minister for Health
Brigadier General Francis Agwi
Colonel Gilbert Toropo
PNG Veterans Affairs Representatives
Members of the RSL
Ladies and Gentlemen
On behalf of the Government and the people of Australia, I convey our deep condolences to the family and friends of Sergeant Moide as well as to the PNG nation which has lost one of its finest citizens.
Sergeant Moide was a brave soldier and an outstanding servant of Papua New Guinea.
As the last surviving veteran of the first contact with the advancing enemy near Kokoda, Ben Moide was a symbol of the service and sacrifice of the Papuan Infantry Battalion.
His life was a symbol also of the ties and shared history that bind our two countries.
In the bloody and arduous Kokoda Campaign, together we faced the same enemy and endured the same hardships of hunger, sickness, exposure and exhaustion.
Ben Moide, for the last 70 years, has been the living history of those arduous times. He was a face we thought of when the battles of the Track, and beyond, were remembered.
The book Nameless Warriors captures Ben Moide’s heartbreak of leaving his family but also the pride and sense of responsibility that quickly grew in him as a member of the Papuan Infantry Battalion khaki.
His family and his mother’s pride in him were always on his mind during those days of service.
Later in his life, Ben Moide won the admiration of many Australians for his work promoting the history of our struggles in Papua New Guinea during World War Two and while attending commemoration services in PNG and Australia.
Australia joins you in mourning the passing of the late Retired Sergeant Ben Moide.
Ben Moide, and all those who served with him in the Battalion, will always hold a special place in our shared history and memory.
Today, the people of Australia honour Ben Moide and say thank you for his sacrifice and his service.