Celebrating Kokoda Day

Unless you are Australian (and I don’t suppose I have that many Ozzie visitors), you will have no idea that today Australia celebrates Kokoda Day and you will have no knowledge of the Kokoda Track campaign which the day commemorates. Yet the campaign was a turning point in the Second World War and consisted of a series of battles fought from July 1942 to January 1943 between Japanese and Australian forces in the Owen Stanley Ranges of New Guinea.
I confess that I had never heard of the event until I read a book of counter-factual history called “More What If?” (my review here). A chapter of this book speculates about what if, in the period July to September 1942, Australian troops had not managed to block the advance of the Japanese along the formidably inhospitable Kokoda Trail in New Guinea? Then the Japanese would have been able to take Port Moresby and use it to launch an invasion on the unprotected north-eastern Australia.
You can understand now why Australians remember and commemorate the valour of those soldiers.