Thursday, 15 December 2011 5:43 PM

Sir Jacob Charles Vouza

Enjoyed your article about the great Sir Jacob Vouza. The photo of the statue was quite impressive, and I am sharing it with friends, family, and associates. I live on the east coast of the United States. My father was at Pearl Harbor when it was attacked. He fought throughout the Pacific until 1945. I wanted to add something you already know, but did not mention in your article - Sir Jacob was made a Sergeant Major in the US Marines for his service to them. Without him history may well have been very different. He was a great man, and is remembered to this day here by servicemen and their families. I add below information I gathered from other sources. Thank you, sir.

Sergeant Major Sir Jacob Charles Vouza
Sir Jacob Charles Vouza, Knighted by Queen Elizabeth II 1979
Sergeant Major Jacob Vouza, USMC 1942-1984
Born 1900 Guadalcanal, British Solomon Islands Protectorate
He wore his US Marine Corps tunic until his death on 15 March 1984, and was buried in it, Guadalcanal Province, (Nation of the) Solomon Islands

Jacob Charles Vouza was born in 1900 at Tasimboko, Guadalcanal, British Solomon Islands Protectorate, and educated at the South Seas Evangelical Mission School there. In 1916 he joined the Solomon Islands Protectorate Armed Constabulary, from which he retired at the rank of sergeant major in 1941 after 25 years of service.

After the Japanese invaded his home island in World War II, he returned to active duty with the British forces and volunteered to work with the Coastwatchers. Vouza's experience as a scout had already been established when the 1st Marine Division landed on Guadalcanal. On 7 August 1942 he rescued a downed naval pilot from the USS Wasp who was shot down inside Japanese territory. He guided the pilot to friendly lines where Vouza met the Marines for the first time.

Vouza then volunteered to scout behind enemy lines for the Marines. On 27 August he was captured by the Japanese while on a Marine Corps mission to locate suspected enemy lookout stations. Having found a small American flag in Vouza's loincloth, the Japanese tied him to a tree and tired to force him to reveal information about Allied forces. Vouza was questioned for hours, but refused to talk. He was tortured and bayoneted about the arms, throat, shoulder, face, and stomach, and left to die.

He managed to free himself after his captors departed, and made his way through the miles of jungle to American lines. There he gave valuable intelligence information to the Marines about an impending Japanese attack before accepting medical attention.

After spending 12 days in the hospital, Vouza then returned to duty as the chief scout for the Marines. He accompanied Lieutenant Colonel Evans. F. Carlson and the 2d Marine Raider Battalion when they made their 30-day raid behind enemy lines at Guadalcanal.

Sergeant Major Vouza was highly decorated for his World War II service. The Silver Star was presented to him personally by Major General Alexander A. Vandegrift, commanding general of the 1st Marine Division, for refusing to give information under Japanese torture. He also was awarded the Legion of Merit for outstanding service with the 2d Raider Battalion during November and December 1942, and the British George Medal for gallant conduct and exceptional devotion to duty. He later received the Police Long Service Medal and, in 1957, was made a Member of the British Empire for long and faithful government service.

After the war, Vouza continued to serve his fellow islanders. In 1949, he was appointed district headman, and president of the Guadalcanal Council, from 1952-1958. He served as a member of the British Solomon Islands Protectorate Advisory Council from 1950 to 1960.

He made many friends during his long association with the U.S. Marine Corps and through the years was continually visited on Guadalcanal by Marines. During 1968, Vouza visited the United States, where he was the honored guest of the 1st Marine Division Association. In 1979, he was knighted by Britain's Queen Elizabeth II. He died on 15 March 1984. -- Ann A. Ferrante

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this letter/article are those of John Sullivan and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Solomon Times Online.

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