April 7, 2013
Judi Millar, Daughter of Sgt. Frank Wigzell
AFTER years of silence, the soldier wrote a book about his war-time experiences in Sarawak – his final task before passing on.
More than six decades have since passed. Would the soldier’s loving daughter still find his connections in the state — the people he had touched from the day he parachuted into the Limbang Valley on March 25, 1945 to fight the Japanese?
To find out, Judi Milla flew all the way from Auckland, New Zealand, to Miri and then Bario for a small but meaninghful event on March 25 (2013), armed with a copy of her father Francis Wigzell’s book titled New Zealand Army Involvement : Special Operations Australia – South West Pacific World War II, an informal invitation from Jack Tredea and stories her father had told her when she was young.
The event was to commemorate the 1945 Semut Operations for which 23 young Kiwis, including her father, had volunteered as part of Allied war efforts in Southeast Asia at the time.
The commemoration is proof that the contributions of Frank Wigzell and his mates have not been forgotten.
And in Bario today, visitors can read their names from the special framed roll of honour brought over from New Zealand by Judi for the commemoration ceremony in the highlands.
Unknown to many, the band of Kiwi volunteer soldiers fought as commandos in Semut Operations under the Z Special Unit. This special campaign was “practically” unknown, in particular to Sarawakians, for a long time.
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