During the Solomons Islands campaign a number of native islanders volunteered to help the US forces evict the Japanese. They became known as ‘Coastwatchers’ and were to play an important role in assisting with reconnaissance as well as rescuing downed pilots.
It was a very hazardous role. The Japanese had no hesitation in torturing those islanders who were suspected of aiding the Allies. Jacob Vousa described what happened to him after he was caught in possession of a small U.S. flag – probably on the 18th August.
Well, I was caughted by the Japs and one of the Japanese Naval Officer questioned me but I was refuse to answer & I was bayoneted by a long sword twice on my chest, through my throught, a cutted the side of my tongue & I was got up from the enemies & walked through the American front line & there my Officer Mr. Clemens who D.C. at Guadalcanal during the War, later he is Major & his Clerk a native from New Georgia he was Staff Sgt his name was Daniel Pule.
Both got the reports information from the Marine Division at the Front Line by one of the Colonial of the American Marine Div, his name was Col. Buckley that I was wounded.
So then boths Major Clemens & Staff Sgt. Daniel Pule [of the British Solomons Island Police] they came up to the front line & took me to the American Hospital at Lunga Guadalcanal & there they done the treatment and the wounded was healthed up, only 12 days I was in Hospital.
After I wad discharged from the Hospital I wad do my fighting with the Japs & paid back all what they have done with me & now, here I’m I, still alive today.
Quoted in The Guadalcanal Campaign
It is a modest account which does not fully reflect what happened to him. The Japanese had tied him to a tree and had tortured him for hours during which he was bayoneted in both of his arms, throat, shoulder, face, and stomach. He refused to give any information so eventually the Japanese left him tied to the tree, presuming that he was dying.
Vouza had just enough strength left to chew through his ropes and make an escape back to the lines of the U.S. Marines.
Major Clemens was subsequently to recall:
He was in an awful mess. I could hardly bear to look at him. After he chewed free of his bonds, he set off to try to contact the Marines, but after a bit, he became so weak that he had to crawl on all fours. He must have crawled nearly three miles, right through the whole battle [area].
As if this wasn’t enough, he also insisted in spluttering out a very valuable description of what the Japanese forces had consisted, its numbers and weapons. All of this was passed on immediately.
Vouza arrived just before an expected Japanese assault on the Marine positions and was to provide valuable confirmation of the direction and strength of the attack.
He was taken to the Marines Hospital near the Lunga airfield where he was to receive sixteen pints of blood during 12 days of treatment. He subsequently made such a recovery that he became Chief Scout for the 2nd Raider Battalion – ‘Carlson’s Raiders’.