Jacob Vouza, war hero
of WW2 Sites
ALL the stories recounted about World War II in the
Solomon Islands, the tale of Jacob Vouza has to be the
had been retired for a year after 25 years service with
the Solomons police force when Japan’s Imperial Forces
invaded his country in 1942.
had been a sergeant-major and upon the arrival of Japanese
troops joined the Coastwatchers – a brave group of military
intelligence officers and local natives who monitored
and reported Japanese military movements to the Allies.
Vouza first met the US Marines when he rescued a naval
aviator from behind Japanese lines and took him back
to the Americans. He then volunteered to scout for them.
a scouting patrol on August 20 1942, he was captured
by the Japanese.
he was found to have a small US flag in his loincloth
and the enemy tortured him for information on where
the American forces were. Vouza went through hours of
interrogation while tied to a tree, but refused to talk
to his torturers.
leaving they decided to kill the islander and bayoneted
him in his arms, shoulder, face, stomach and throat
then left him to bleed to death from his wounds.
But Vouza was extremely tough and chewed through the
vines holding him and somehow made his way to US lines
where he warned them of an imminent attack by up to
500 men of the Japanese 28th regiment.
warning came just in time and gave the Marines the chance
they needed to prepare their defences on the Ilu River.
What followed was the bloody battle of Tenaru, or Alligator
Creek where 800 Japanese died in a night-time bid to
cross the waterway.
spent 12 days in a US military hospital and received
16 pints of blood. He was later treated by the Marines
as an American because he had so much of their blood
he had recovered he took part in a month-long mission
behind enemy lines with a US Raider battalion.
has a long list of decorations for his bravery during
the fighting on Guadalcanal, including the US Silver
Star, the Legion of Merit, the British George Medal
and was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire.
He was also made an honorary Marine sergeant-major and
in 1979 was knighted.
is also honoured with a statue outside the police headquarters
short drive from the battlefield of Tenaru and a memorial
to the Ichiki Regiment that was slaughtered there, is
an open-air WWII museum run by Sir Jacob Vouza’s grandson,
Beach about 33km from Honiara
and is an extraordinary collection of US Amtracks –
tracked landing craft that could take 24 troops each
from ships right up on to the beaches during a seaborne
are scores of the vehicles standing around, many are
becoming part of the landscape with trees growing out
and through them. Some even look like giant plant pots
of rusted metal from which greenery sprouts skywards.
or Sammy as he is known, keeps a detailed book on the
wartime struggles for Guadalcanal.