34. Two policemen who showed that they had been well trained

Paul Quinlivan’s Snapshots

In the same recommendations I said the following about Constables PaahekiI of Mumuni, Popondetta, and Muyei of Saba, Waria. For a proper understanding of it I should mention that the Telefomins did not tie flaming rags to ordinary spears as in old-fashioned Cowboys and Indians films, but they had created a gigantic arsenal of five-pronged arrows and they wedged a live coal between the prongs because, when rushing through the air, the coal would burst into flame.

These two policemen were with the Harris patrol and were both themselves attacked in the initial stages. After Kombo’s shooting had temporarily dispersed the attack, they stood guard in turn with Kombo’s rifle and a total store of seven rounds of ammunition. He who had the rifle stood guard outside the place wherein refuge was being taken. At first this was the police barracks. Then after it was burnt to the ground, it was the resthouse and then after that was burnt to the ground, it was the stockaded pig-pen. At the pig-pen everyone except the unconscious Harris and Kombo and their medical attendant Bunat were outside the pig-pen, engaged in dodging arrows which came in their many hundreds (at least 280 were embedded in the planking of the pig-pen when it was inspected later). Paheki received one arrow in the forehead, but otherwise they stood guard thus from a little after seven o’clock in the morning continuously until twenty minutes past five o’clock in the evening. They could at any time have tried to run away (Tigori, on their instruction, successfully did so). The reason they stayed is that they had two wounded men to guard. This conduct is, I think, worthy of the Queens Police Medal for Bravery.


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