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The Fuzzy Wuzzy Angles of World War II

“The tireless life-savers of the New Guinea campaign”

New Guinea was the site of one of the longest, most arduous campaigns of World War II. For three years, allied forces battled against the Japanese for control of the island, with suffering from thousands of casualties.

However, one of the most dangerous aspects of the campaign was the island itself. For instance, there was more Japanese fatalities due to disease and hunger than from death in combat, with the thick jungle environment proving a nightmare to navigate.

Allied forces would have received as many casualties had it not been for the incredible efforts of the island natives. Thousands of New Guineans volunteered to aid the allies, helping to stretcher injured soldiers and transport supplies through the thick jungle landscape, often while under a barrage of fire from enemy forces.

Given their curly hair and life-saving aide they provide the wounded, the natives were nicknamed the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angles by allied soldiers, sharing a deep bond and connection with the men serving on the island.

Check out these amazing photographs of the ‘Fuzzy Wuzzy Angles’ captured during the height of the war. It is incredible to think how many lives were saved due to the fearlessness of the island natives, and little wonder they received such deep admiration from those they helped save.

Private George “Dick” Whittington is helped to an aid station by Raphael Oimbari. Whittington died of bush typhus in February 1943.

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Stretcher bearers carry wounded soldiers to a dressing station near Buna.

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Stretcher bearers evacuate a wounded soldier through the Sanananda area.

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Stretcher bearers carry Corporal R.D. Somerville to a dressing station after a battle at Oive.

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The condition of our carriers at Eora Creek caused me more concern than that of our wounded. Overwork, overloading… exposure, cold and under-feeding were the common lot…. Despite this no known live casualty was ever abandoned by the Fuzzy Wuzzies.
– DR. GEOFFREY VERNON

Men carry supplies over a newly built bridge.

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Stretcher bearers evacuate a wounded Australian soldier following a battle at Kokoda.

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