It is with great sadness that we mark the passing of the last of a great generation. The last known Fuzzy Wuzzy Angel, Mr Havala Laula has passed away. Havala had not been well for the last few months and on 24 December 2017, Christmas Eve, Havala passed away of natural causes. 

I had the pleasure of being involved with Havala's trip to Australia back in February this year where I interviewed him at Melborne's Shrine of Remembrance. Havala was joined by four veterans of the 39th Battalion. The veterans were: Mr Alan Kanga Moore, Mr George Cops, Mr Bill Stewart & Mr Alan Akhurst. 

Havala was born and raised in the village of Kagi, situated halfway along the Kokoda Track in the Owen Stanley Ranges of Papua. 

Although Havala's age is not certain, during the war he assisted with the carriage of much needed supplies to the Australian forces fighting the Japanese along the Kokoda Track. Havala also helped with the evacuation of Australian wounded. 

The conditions of the native carriers were harsh,often working back breaking shifts with little food or shelter. Men like Bert Kienzle and Doc Vernon, giants in the Kokoda story took particular care in the welfare of men like Havala. 

With Havala's death we see the passing of a great generation and the end of an era. 

On ANZAC Day 2017 at Bomana War Cemetery, the Australian Governor-General, Sir Peter Cosgrove, presented Havala with the Govenor General's Medallion. 

You can download and listen to the Shrine's podcast by clicking here

You can also hear my interview with ABC presenter Spence Denny click here

David Howell is available to media on 0405 007 700 

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.

Sapper Bert Beros

NX6925, 7th Australian Division, Royal Australian Engineers

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Kanga Havala