Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Last Nerimbera Chapel Boy Dies; Final Chapter: David Dake Passes Away after Treatment for Pneumonia

Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Last Nerimbera Chapel Boy Dies; Final Chapter: David Dake Passes Away after Treatment for Pneumonia

Article excerpt

THE final chapter of the Nerimbera Chapel Boys ended with the passing of David R. Dake on his 93rd birthday, March 30, 2015.

He was the last survivor of the nine soldiers named in St Christopher's Chapel at Nerimbera.

His daughter Debra said David passed away peacefully at home with his family, having been discharged from hospital on Saturday, March 28, after treatment for pneumonia.

It came as a shock as the family thought the hospital treatment had been successful and David was on the mend. He had remained reasonably active until this time.

There would be survivors who were in the chapel back in 1943; their numbers would be dwindling, but the nine who were named in the chapel have all been lost.

David was born on March 30, 1922, in Oshkosh, Winnebago County, Wisconsin, and had a strict religious upbringing which probably led him to become a Pentecostal minister in later life.

He was the youngest of the Chapel Boys, having just turned 20 when as part of the 127th Infantry 32nd Division (Red Arrows), he boarded a ship in San Francisco on April 22, 1942, bound for Australia.

By November 1942, the 32nd were in combat at Buna Village and Buna Mission, two godforsaken little places on the inhospitable northern coast of New Guinea.

The 32nd Division was mostly comprised of National Guardsmen from Michigan and Wisconsin.

Poorly equipped and with little training in jungle warfare, they were pitted against determined, battle-hardened Japanese firmly entrenched in the Buna area.

Though Buna fell to a combined Australian-American offensive, it came at a very high cost to the allies.

The three 32nd Div. regiments - 126th, 127th and 128th - saw 9825 men into action, with 586 KIA, 100 other deaths, 1934 wounded and 7336 sick in action.

Their story is graphically told in James Campbell's book The Ghost Mountain Boys and Howard Kelley's Born in the USA Raised in New Guinea.

On February 22, 1943, the 32nd survivors left Port Moresby by ship for rehabilitation and training. …

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