Book tells story of murdered missionary
A NEW book about a missionary from Little Bowden who was murdered by tribesmen on a Pacific Island during the Second World War is to be released.
The Rev Vivian Redlich, son of the then rector of the village, Canon Basil Redlich, was killed in Papua New Guinea in July 1942 by members of the Orokaiva tribe.
Now his half-brother, Patrick Redlich, has written a book about the Rev Redlich’s life and work to raise money to build a teacher training college near the site of his death.
The Rev Redlich, whose father served as rector of Little Bowden from 1925 to 1955, was volunteering with an Anglican mission in Papua New Guinea in 1942 when Japanese forces landed on the island.
For 60 years it was believed that he was killed along with 12 other members of the mission – including his fiancee May Hayman – by the invading troops.
But the truth emerged in 2003 when an Orokaiva tribesman admitted that members of his family had murdered the missionary.
Patrick Redlich, who was born in Little Bowden but now lives in Australia, was invited to a service of reconciliation on the island’s Popondetta Cathedral in 2009, when tribesmen sought his family’s forgiveness for the murder, which they believed had placed a curse on them.
Mr Redlich presented the cathedral with a bronze memorial plaque recording the date of his half-brother’s death and his family’s forgiveness for those who caused it.
Tribespeople donated cash to Mr Redlich, used to launch a fund to set up a training scheme for teachers.
The book, which will be available to order online for about £22 including postage and packing after its release in Brisbane on July 31, will raise further funds for the college - a project which is also being supported by the Papua New Guinea Government.
Patrick told the Mail: “The book tells the tale of Vivian’s upbringing in England, his work as a Bush Brother in Queensland and his time in Papua New Guinea.
“It tells how the truth of Vivian’s death came to be known and of the Reconciliation Service with the clans of the killers.
“Further chapters recount the history of Papua New Guinea, the war in the Pacific and the tragic deaths of all the other missionaries of different denominations.
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