Our Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels – Finally Free

There were diggers - but there were also Angels

Well, it’s taken a while – probably too long, but finally 67 years after the Kokoda Track Campaign ended, the Australian Government has announced that it will officially recognise PNG’s Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels by virtue of the issuing of a medallion. Kevin Rudd, with Sir Michael Somare alongside, said today in Canberra,

“All of us in Australia know full well the enormous support, practical support and friendship extended to Australian diggers during the last war by the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels. We’ll be issuing medallions … to honour the service and the sacrifice of the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels who are so much part and parcel of our ability to prevail in the New Guinea campaign in the darkest days of World War II”.

Over the years as I’ve sat through misty-dawn ANZAC ceremonies, and listened to trumpets and gun-saluts, my thoughts have remembered the ANZACs and their sacrifices for the people of Australia and NZ. However, my thoughts have always lingered on our Angels and what must have been a very confusing period of their lives. Voluntarily, they offered help where they could to a cause they may not have fully understood.

Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels - Carrying Wounded Diggers

I don’t think many of us today truly understand the significant contribution of our Angels – except those Diggers who were there with them. One such ANZAC was Sapper Bert Beros who wrote the following poem praising the efforts of our Angels:

Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels

Many a mother in Australia
when the busy day is done
Sends a prayer to the Almighty
for the keeping of her son
Asking that an angel guide him
and bring him safely back
Now we see those prayers are answered
on the Owen Stanley Track

For they haven’t any halos
only holes slashed in their ears
And their faces worked by tattoos
with scratch pins in their hair
Bringing back the badly wounded
just as steady as a horse
Using leaves to keep the rain off
and as gentle as a nurse

Slow and careful in the bad places
on the awful mountain track
The look upon their faces
would make you think Christ was black
Not a move to hurt the wounded
as they treat him like a saint
It’s a picture worth recording
that an artist’s yet to paint

Many a lad will see his mother
and husbands see their wives
Just because the fuzzy wuzzy
carried them to save their lives
From mortar bombs and machine gun fire
or chance surprise attacks
To the safety and the care of doctors
at the bottom of the track

May the mothers of Australia
when they offer up a prayer
Mention those impromptu angels
with their fuzzy wuzzy hair

by Sapper H “Bert” Beros
NX 6925, 7th Div., RAE, AIF


Bert Beros served in both WW1 and WW2. He wrote this poem at 4am one morning on the Kokoda Track after having been on stand-to. It may never have been printed but for the fact that an officer sent a copy home to his mother and she was so impressed that she had it published in the Brisbane Courier-Mail.

~ by Tavurvur on April 29, 2009.

2 Responses to “Our Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels – Finally Free”

  1. Wow, I’d never heard of the fuzzy wuzzy angels! What a cool story Tarvurvur. I’m stoked they’re being honored now 🙂

  2. This is the poem I was referred to by Newman Cuthbert. I will print this and read it exactly where it was thought to have been penned. I hear it is before the Golden Steps.
    I am thrilled as I am hitting the slopes of the Kokoda Trail come Monday (17/05/10).

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