top of page

Make a Donation

Alternatively, send a cheque to our treasurer

Re-new Membership

12 Month (August to end of July)

Choose between a single or joint membership

If you are joining after August, please choose the month you are joining in below. The full year membership runs from August to the end of July the following year.

Single Monthly
Joint Monthly

Balalae Remembrance 2016

Remembrance Service 26th April 2016.

British High Commissioner to the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Nauru, Mr​ Chris Trott

When I was appointed British High Commissioner to the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Nauru I was excited to learn more about the region’s role in the war in the Pacific, something I knew little about. All I thought I knew, however, was that this was primarily an American theatre of operations, with support from Australia and New Zealand. I was therefore very surprised when, shortly after my arrival here, I was told about a memorial to over 500 British troops on the island of Balalae in the far west of the country.

During the service

Through research in the High Commission’s files, however, I quickly learnt about the tragic history of these men, and the efforts of their relatives to ensure that they were properly honoured where they had fallen. I also found a file of information compiled by Beryl Canwell, a member of COFEPOW, recording the establishment of this memorial in 2003.

Wherever I have been stationed I have always seen it as an honour as well as a duty to commemorate those who had come to those shores in battle and, unlike me, had not returned. From the enormous cemeteries of Burma to two graves I found in Timbuktu I have always felt it was important to ‘remember them’. So I decided I should make the journey to the island hold a ceremony of remembrance there.

Bow of respect

I was accompanied by the EU Ambassador, the Australian Deputy Defence Adviser and a representative of the Regional Assistance Mission Solomon Islands (RAMSI) and with the help of the Priest from the Catholic Mission Station in Nila we held a short service on 26th April this year (it should have been 25th April, ANZAC day, but the flight was delayed 24 hours). I have included a couple of photos with this message, to give your readers a sense of the occasion, what they cannot show however is the blistering heat – something that must have made captivity even more unbearable for those brave British soldiers we had gone there to honour. I hope that those of you reading this will feel reassured that wherever in the world British soldiers have fallen: ‘at the going down of the sun, and in the morning, WE WILL REMEMBER THEM’.

The memorial and the wreaths