Guadalcanal Resident, Solomon Islander
Interview by John Innes
Solomon Islander, Bruno Nana witnessed a dog
fight on August 7, 1942. I
asked him how far above the trees and he pointed to the palm trees
50 feet higher than them! He saw Southerland's plane go down. About four hours later he and his two
friends saw Southerland walking on the beach. They took him to their village
down to a hut where Rove Police station now is and spent the night there.
They sat around Southerland while he slept. At four in the morning Southerland
because his leg was hurting (he was wounded in the leg) and signalled that
he wanted them to take him by canoe to Lunga Point.
They took him by canoe to RaNadi. On the way they were checked out by an
aircraft and an American 'battleship'. When they got to RaNadi they were
the Marines lifted the canoe by hand and carried it ashore with them still
They were given presents and then they canoed back home. As they went passed
the Matanikau they were fired at by the Japanese and the canoe broke in half.
They were held prisoner by the Japanese for four days. Bruno said that after
four days there bonds had got loose and they quietly slipped away from the
Bruno thought that the American had said his name was Jacob. Bruno had been
educated at Visale mission but new little English. I can imagine "James Pug" or "J
Pug" would sound like the biblical 'Jacob' to Bruno.
Bruno was 15 at the time and had been 'volunteered' to work with the Japanes
before 7th August at RaNadi and at Lunga. He tells the story of a German
who was working as an engineer with the Japanese. The German told them to
from the area and go home as there was going to be a big fight. So Bruno
had left the area day or so before the 7th.
I have heard stories about the Germans but have never read anything. Bruno
says there were two Germans and one of them had his family with him!
Sounds like there is a juicy story there. I will be spending more time with
Bruno better recording this and the rest of Bruno's time with the Americans
After breaking away from the Japanese Bruno walked to Verahue (Father De
Klerk) where he was taken by boat back to Lunga to work with the Americans.