Vivian Frederick Barnes Redlich
Priest-in-charge Sangara, Papua
Attended Oakham School 1920
Subsequently attended St John’s School, Leatherhead
Chichester Theological College 1926
Deacon 1932; Priest 1933; diocese of Wakefield, Curate of Dewsbury Moor, 1932-35
Member of the Brush Brotherhood of St Andrew, Queensland, 1935
Priest-in-charge Dawson Valley, 1935-36, diocese of Rockhampton
Priest-in-charge, Winton 1937-40.
Diocese of New Guinea, 1940; Doguara, via Samuria, Papua;
Priest-in-charge Sangara, Papua
In July 1942 after a short illness, Vivian Redlich returned from Doguara, the HQ of the New Guinea Mission, to his Mission Station in Sangara, Papua. Japanese warships were already shelling the coast further south as he landed. On Saturday 25th July the travelling Medical Assistant of the Papuan Government arrived in the district, and, hearing that Vivian was in a shelter prepared for him by the natives, went to see him. This official was a Roman Catholic and was very friendly with Vivian and other members of the Anglican Mission in New Guinea. To him we are indebted for what details we have of Vivian's last few days. He found Vivian surrounded by church members of the district who were much alarmed by conditions in their neighbourhood.
Vivian said to them: "I am your missionary. I have come back to you to help you and I will remain with you as long as you will let me. Tomorrow is Sunday and I shall celebrate Holy Communion. I invite you to Communicate." Next day the Medical Assistant himself was present at the Celebration and he was deeply impressed with the spirit of devotion of all who communicated.
On the following day, Monday July 27th, Vivian hastily wrote in pencil on a piece of paper the following message to his father, the Rev. Canon Edward B Redlich, Rector of Little Bowden:
Somewhere in the Papuan Bush
July 27th 1942
My Dear Dad
The war has busted up here. I got back from Doguara and ran right into it, and am now somewhere in my parish hoping to carry on, tho' my people are horribly scared. No news of May, and I am cut off from contacting her - my staff O.K. so far, but in another spot.
I'm trying to stick whatever happens. If I don't come out of it, just rest content that I have tried to do my job faithfully. Last chance of getting word out: so forgive brevity.
God Bless you all,
14th August 1942
Vivian was beheaded by the Japanese on 14 August 1942 age 37 at Buna, Papua
Twelve missionaries and church workers were killed by the invading Japanese in New Guinea in WW2. The four women in the group are commemorated in a window high up the east wall in the south transept of St John's Cathedral, Brisbane including
May Hayman, his fiancée who was a Nurse stationed at Gona. These four women were captured by the Japanese after many difficult days in the jungle trying to escape the patrols. They were executed by the bayonet in late August 1942 at Jegerata. May had worked as a nurse in various Australian hospitals and, not long before her death, had announced her engagement to Vivian Redlich.
Son of the Reverend E Basil and Mrs Redlich, Teigh Rectory, Oakham
There is no known grave but he is remembered in St Paul’s Cathedral, Leicester Cathedral and in the Chapel of St John’s Leatherhead which school he attended after Oakham.