Thursday, 24 April 2008 1:52 PM

World War II Veteran Visits Solomon Islands After 60 Years

An American Veteran arrived in the Solomon Islands on Monday 21st of April to visit World War II battlefields.

Sir William G Faulkner, 85, came all the way from his home land in Maroa, Illinois, USA to again walk the battlefields of Guadalcanal. The campaign in Guadalcanal marked an important turning point for the US allied forces during World War II.

Sir Faulkner was with the US Marine Paratrooper and, interestingly, was one of the first men to parachute into the Solomon Islands before the battle begun.

Sir Faulkner said that he was very happy to see the sites, "I really regarded this trip as a very important opportunity in my life to again walk the battlefields together with my son, Mr. David Faulkner," he told Solomon Times.

His son is very proud of what his father did, it was also a sober moment when he reflected on those that lost their lives, "even for those who are not here with us, we really appreciate what they did," said David Faulkner.

Sir Faulkner's visit to the Solomon Islands came about after Mr. Richard Portillo, a former Marine Officer from Chicago, called his son to share his experience during a short visit to the Solomon Islands in November last year. "After the trip, I made a phone call to Sir Faulkner's son and asked if he could accompany his father to pay a visit to the battlefields of Guadalcanal," said Mr. Portillo. "I am making this second trip especially for Sir Faulkner, to visit the war memorials, wreckage sites and walk the battle fields again after sixty years."

Sir Faulkner is also accompanied by Mr. Bob Reynolds, one of the Secretary for the foundation of the Skyline Memorial site in 1982.

The group will be visiting the battlefields that Sir Faulkner fought in, which includes the Iron Bottom Sound Wreckage, Gavutu in Tulagi province and Vella La Vella in the Western Province.

Sir Faulkner is looking forward to a scuba diving trip around WWII ship wreck sites at the Bonage Beach, "I want to have a swim around the ship wreck, because sixty years ago, I was also swimming around the site," said Sir Faulkner.