FAOLE Bokoi, the last living Papua New Guinean link with the World War II battles of the Kokoda Track, died in the early hours of yesterday morning
He came from Manari village on the Track and was the last surviving Fuzzy Wuzzy Angel.
The Angels were so-named by Australian soldiers to refer to Papua New Guineans who assisted and escorted injured troops along the Track.
Some 650 Australian lives were lost in the Kokoda campaign and it is said this number would have been much greater had it not been for the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels.
One Australian digger noted:
“They carried stretchers over seemingly impassable barriers, with the patient reasonably comfortable. The care they give to the patient is magnificent. If night finds the stretcher still on the track, they will find a level spot and build a shelter over the patient.
“They will make him as comfortable as possible fetch him water and feed him if food is available, regardless of their own needs. They sleep four each side of the stretcher and if the patient moves or requires any attention during the night, this is given instantly.”
Faole Bokoi died peacefully surrounded by his family and loved ones, including his two sons, Saii and Bokoi.
Saii, a Manari community leader, works in the Port Moresby office of the Kokoda Track Foundation.
“Our thoughts are with Saii and Bokoi and their families,” said KTF chairman, Patrick Lindsay AM. “We send you love. We have lost the last living link with our beloved Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels on the Track.”
Serviceman Sean Seery said, “This man is part of my unit’s history. What these men did on the Kokoda Track is in the entry to our unit’s HQ [so] I'm lucky enough to be reminded every day of Kokoda and what they achieved.”
“My father spoke very fondly and with great respect for all that the Angels did for him and his mates while he was serving in New Guinea, you are now an angel in heaven,” wrote Lyn Olsen.
And Cheryl Burner said, “My dad was carried down from Kokoda by the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels. Their courage and bravery is part of our history and should never be forgotten.”
Arlette Harris commented, “My late father-in-law and many of his comrades-in-arms owed their lives to the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels. You will always be remembered with gratitude and respect by this family.”