Our first stop was at the monument to Sergeant Major Sir Jacob Vouza KBE, GM. Jacob Vouza was a Solomon Islands coastwatcher who scouted behind enemy lines gathering intelligence for the US Marines. He was at one point captured and tortured by the Japanese, he gave nothing away; escaping to continue his valuable work. At war’s end he continued to serve the community.
A quick dodge of the traffic and we were at the RAMSI (Regional Assistance Mission Solomon Islands) and Canberra memorials across the road. There we discussed the action where the Canberra was sunk; and Enda our Solomon Islands guide told us of her experience during the troubles and the relief the local population felt when the Helpem Fren troops landed. The job well done was also appreciated.
Onward to Vulu Museum where in a tranquil tropical garden our wartime artefact enthusiasts wandered the relics while the gardeners amongst us marvelled at the flowers.
A visit to the wreck of a Sherman Tank concluded the formal part of the tour.
After lunch some visited the US Memorial. This time in the absence of ceremony being able to inspect the structure and reflect on its meaning.
That night we had a dinner with the People from the Solomon Islands, Imperial Travel Services and the Solomon Islands Tourist Bureau, who made our tour so memorable. A special entertainment by a local pan pipe group added to the enjoyment of this our last night together.
The next day we were homeward bound filled with great memories. Particularly those so professionally imparted by Enda of Imperial Travel services whose knowledge of the local situation and customs was outstanding; and our tour participants, whose knowledge of and reverence for the actions 75 years ago by the Coastwatchers, US Navy, Army and Marines impressed greatly.