Mother and son's Kokoda challenge to honour grandfather
MORE than 70 years after her grandfather Sergeant Thomas Crawley took a bullet to the hip on the gruelling Kokoda Trail, Juanita Anable and her son Lewis Bell will honour his memory by marching in his footsteps.
Miss Anable, 37, from Rosewood, said she was inspired to join the trek by her son, who had decided to take on the challenge.
"Lewis nominated to do it first, and I was doing the training (with him) - it is such a great group of guys and I'm very passionate about the Australian Air Force Cadets," Ms Anable said.
"Considering our family history, a friend pointed out to me how great it would be for Lewis when he is older to be able to say to his kids 'my mum and I walked the Kokoda Trail together'."
Their hike late next month, as part of a cohort of 17 Royal Australian Air Force cadets and 10 staff, will recognise the sacrifice of thousands of Australian servicemen during World War II. A total of 625 men died and another 1600 - including Sergeant Crawley - were wounded during the Kokoda Trail campaign. The defence of Papua New Guinea was pivotal to defending Queensland against Japanese invasion in the 1940s.
The group has undergone intense preparation, training on mountain hikes and trails throughout southeast Queensland. They have climbed in the Glasshouse Mountains, up Mount Warning and Flinders Peak in the hope it will help them to overcome the physical challenges awaiting them on the gruelling eight-day Kokoda Trail walk.
However, Ms Anable is aware that Kokoda's challenges are not merely physical.