New Guinea Memorials

Discussion in 'WW2 Museums. Events, & places to see.' started by spidge, Jul 19, 2006.

  1. spidge


    The PORT MORESBY MEMORIAL stands behind the cemetery and commemorates almost 750 men of the Australian Army (including Papua and New Guinea local forces), the Australian Merchant Navy and the Royal Australian Air Force who lost their lives in the operations in Papua and who have no known graves. Men of the Royal Australian Navy who died in the south-west Pacific region, and have no known grave but the sea, are commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial in England, along with many of their comrades of the Royal Navy and of other Commonwealth Naval Forces.

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  2. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique

    Very interesting - thanks for posting those photos. Where does the first one come from; an old publication?
  3. spidge


  4. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Thanks Geoff for reminding us the War was Worldwide. I'm sure some of us forget that.
    It's because one of Dad's cousins was posted to the Darwin area in WW2 with the RAF that there is a branch of our family in Oz nowadays.
    Our branch stayed firmly put here in Swindon.
  5. Kiwiwriter

    Kiwiwriter Very Senior Member

    Great shots....all Australian graves, obviously. Some of the CWGC cemeteries on the north side of New Guinea include British and Indian POWs hauled there by the Nipponese to serve and suffer as forced laborer there.

    An odd place for an Indian sepoy from Northwest Frontier Province or a Scot from Kirkwall to die.
  6. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    Excellent Pictures Spidge. Keep em coming!
  7. spidge


    Great shots....all Australian graves, obviously. Some of the CWGC cemeteries on the north side of New Guinea include British and Indian POWs hauled there by the Nipponese to serve and suffer as forced laborer there.
    An odd place for an Indian sepoy from Northwest Frontier Province or a Scot from Kirkwall to die.

    The attached has three cemeteries and one from a different angle that I have posted previously.

    Rabaul cemetery at Kokopo includes remembrance of all the nationalities and nurses that were brought from other areas to be used as slave labour, brutalised and buried in mass graves. They were beyond recognition when the Japanese finally surrendered here in 1945.

    Gardens of Tribute
  8. Foxhound25

    Foxhound25 Junior Member

    The Australian Memorial at Buna which commemorates the Battles of Buna and Sanananda. About 1.25 metres tall.....and considering what went on there bloody pathetic.

    Buna, a village on the coastal plain of northern Papua, was the main base for the Japanese advance along the Kokoda Trail. The first Japanese landings in the area occurred at Gona, east of Buna, on 21 July 1941 and Buna was later occupied by troops on foot. Large scale landings subsequently occurred at Buna on 21 August. The Japanese presence forstalled the Allies' own plans to develop a base at Buna. From west to east, the Buna area encompassed Buna village, Buna Government Station, and, several kilometres to the east, two airstrips - "old" and "new".

    Major fighting did not occur at Buna until after the Japanese had advanced and then retreated along the Kokoda Trail. American troops of the 32nd Division initially closed on Buna in November 1942 - one infantry regiment attacked towards the village from the south, while another advanced on the airstrips from the east. A combination of inexperience and poor leadership, however, meant they made little progress against the well-sited and heavily fortified bunkers with which the Japanese defended it.

    The 18th Australian Brigade, command by Brigadier George Wootten, and a squadron of tanks from the 2/6th Australian Armoured Regiment were moved up from Milne Bay in mid-December to reinforce the Americans. By this time, Buna village had been captured but the Japanese remained well-entrenched around the airfields and the government station. The 18th Brigade's first attack was launched in the airfield area by the 2/9th and 2/10th Battalions on the morning of 18 December. Despite the support of the tanks, the fighting was slow and vicious, with the Japanese bunkers having to be destroyed one by one. By 23rd December this phase of the operations had achieved its objective of clearing the area between the airfields and the coast, and it was now time to tackle the core of Japanese resistance - the positions around the western end of the old strip.

    The 2/10th Battalion made a series of attacks along the old strip between 24 and 29 December but few gains were made. The four tanks that initially accompanied the battalion were quickly destroyed, leaving the infantry to tackle the bunkers with only the most minimal artillery support. Brigadier Wootten's impatience to make progress meant the 2/10th was bustled into poorly planned and co-ordinated attacks and heavy casualties were the result. When more tanks began arriving on 29 December another attack was rushed through, with the same disasterous results.

    Victory at Buna, only came with a pause in operations to allow proper planning, the reinforcement of the tanks, and the replacement of the tired and depleted 2/10th by the fresh 2/12th Battalion. They attacked on the morning of 1 January and, with the tanks and infantry co-operating closely, destroyed the bulk of the Japanese positions before nightfall. The destruction of isolated points of resistance continued the next day. In the meantime, American troops had also been attacking east from Buna village and secured the Buna Government Station, and effected a junction with the force moving west form the old strip on 2 January. The battle for Buna cost the Allied forces 2,870 casualties; the 18th Brigade had lost 863, including 306 killed. Close to 1,400 Japanese dead were countered, although their casualtiy toll was probably much higher when those killed or buried alive in destroyed bunkers are considered.

    Following the fighting on the Kokoda Trail, Japanese forces occupied a series of well-sited, heavily constructed and cleverly concealed defensive positions in the Buna, Gona and Sanananda area. Australian and United States troops reached the three enclaves in mid-November 1942 but early efforts to take them were unsuccessful and costly. The three positions were sited on high ground, forcing the attackers into waterlogged swampy country.

    Like Buna and Gona, the first two enclaves to fall, Sanananda was the scene of fierce and costly fighting. The 16th Australian Brigade made the first attempt. Suffering heavy casualties and widespread illness they made little headway. Further attempts by the 126th American Regiment and the 30th Australian Brigade also failed, leading the Australian commander, Major General George Vasey, to suspend operations until reinforcements arrived from Port Moresby.

    Even then the attackers were unable to make significant progress while continuing to suffer heavy casualties. It having become clear that frontal assaults were doomed, attacks on Sanananda were halted while Buna was overcome. Once Buna fell on 2 January Australian and United States units resumed their attack, this time using several different approaches.

    Vasey's 18th Brigade began their advance on 12 January making little progress and losing more than 100 men killed or wounded. Despite the attackers' lack of success the Japanese began to withdraw from their forward positions that night. Allied patrols began to report that other Japanese positions had also been abandoned. Fighting continued, however, and a further six days passed before Sanananda village was in Allied hands. The surviving Japanese troops were now surrounded and after three more days of fighting the last organised resistance was overcome. The battle cost some 2,100 Allied casualties and the lives of more than 1,500 Japanese soldiers.


    Tim D
  9. spidge


    Well done Tim.

    The fighting was vicious and the losses astonishing.
  10. Foxhound25

    Foxhound25 Junior Member

    And an identical one at Gona.

    The Australians began their assault on Gona village on November 18. It was Gona from which the Japanese invaders had launched their disastrous campaign aimed at Port Moseby. After their setback in the south, the Japanese were pushed back across the mountainous terrain until their backs were against the sea at Gona. Twenty-one days after launching their offensive, the Australian soldiers of the 7th Division managed to compress their foes into a tight defensive perimeter centered around the village. While the cost had been high for the attackers, the Japanese had been whittled down to some 100 effectives, most of whom belied such a status in the enemy camp due to suffering from starvation and a variety of tropical diseases. The enemy resolve remained intact as the weary men of the Australian 21st Brigade and 39th Battalion pressed on into a hand-to-hand fight for the bomb devastated village. By 1330 hours the last Japanese soldiers had been dispatched. Lieutenant Colonel Honner of the 39th was able to report to Southwest Pacific HQ, “Gona’s Gone”...


  11. Foxhound25

    Foxhound25 Junior Member

    Isurava Memorial.

    The attributes of the digger....


    The village of Isurava was the site of one of several desperate battles fought by Australian troops during their retreat along the Kokoda Trail. Their position at Deniki becoming untenable, the 39th Battalion, then the only Australian unti confronting the Japanese on withdrew to Isurava on the night of 14 August 1942. Poorly equipped, the battalion had to dig-in with bayonets, bully beef tins and helmets. The 39th was fortunate that the Japanese did not immediately follow-up their success at Deniki and a lull in the fighting ensued for almost a fortnight, allowing reinforcements from the 21st Brigade to begin moving forward.

    On 26 August the Japanese clashed with the 39th's forward outposts at Isurava heralding that their next attack was developing. The same day the first two companies of the 2/14th Battalion arrived to relieve the 39th's exhausted young soldiers, the average age of whom was 18. The next afternoon the 39th's left flank was heavily attacked and, fow while the Japanese were able to penetrate one of the company positions but they were beaten off by two quick counter-attacks. Fighting swirled all around the forward arc of the position throughout 28 August as the Japanese sought a weakness ion the Australian defences to exploit. The rest of the 2/14th Battalion arrived this day and its commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Albert Key assumed command of the area. Although the 39th now had the chance to withdraw for a well-earned rest, its commander, Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Honner, aware of the onslaught the 2/14th would face, decided it would remain in place. The men of the 39th, however, were moved into positions to the rear to allow the 2/14th to occupy the most threatened parts of the positions.

    The morning of 29 August brought ferocious attacks right around the forward arc of the position. The first company to give way was C Company of the 2/14th and the Japanese poured through the gap, threatening the whole position. A counter-attack met them head-on, Private Bruce Kingsbury was to the fore, rushing forward and sweeping the Japanese with his Bren gun. A sniper's bullet killed Kingsbury, who was subsequently awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross for his actions, but the counter-attack had momentarily restored the situation. The Japanese continue to press home their attack throughout the afternoon. C Company was forced to give ground, and D Company, astride the trail, broke around 3pm, having repulsed 11 previous attacks on its positions. As night closed in the position at Isurava was in danger of being overwhelmed and a withdrawl of just over a kilometre to positions around the Isurava Guest House was conducted.

    The Japanese followed close on the heels of the Australians and 30 August brought no respite. With some of the companies under his command now struggling to muster a full platoon, Key lacked the troops to cover the high ground to his left - a weakness the Japanese quickly exploited. They heavily attacked the Australians' right rear threatening to cut the track behind them. A further withdrawal was ordered at 3pm but many had to fight their way out, including Key's command group. When the 2/14th mustered at Alola the next morning 172 personnel were missing in addition to those known to be dead and wounded.

    At Isurava the Australians had been overwhelmed by superior numbers which, poorly equipped and supported, they could never match. Although the 2/14th Battalion was experienced and relatively fresh, its potential to wrest the initiative from the Japanese was undermined by the torturous march along the Kokoda Trail which meant that it could only be employed in the piecemeal fashion in which it arrived at Isurava. The delay imposed there, however, did allow time for the other battalions of the 21st Brigade to make their way forward.


  12. Foxhound25

    Foxhound25 Junior Member

    Kokoda Memorials.

    The Kokoda Trail was a path that linked Ower's Corner, approximately 40 km north-east of Port Moresby, and the small village of Wairopi, on the northern side of the Owen Stanley mountain range. From Wairopi, a crossing point on the Kumusi River, the Trail was connected to the settlements of Buna, Gona and Sanananda on the north coast. Its name was derived from the village of Kokoda that stood on the southern side of the main range and was the site of the only airfield between Port Moresby and the north coast.

    Having had their initial effort to capture Port Moresby by a seaborne landing disrupted by the battle of the Coral Sea, the Japanese saw the Kokoda Trail as a means by which to advance on it overland. Troops of the South Seas Detachment began landing at Gona on 21 July 1942, intending initially just to test the feasibility of the Kokoda Trail as a route of advance, but a full-scale offensive soon developed. The first fighting occurred between elements of the Papuan Infantry Battalion and the 39th Australian Infantry Battalion at Awala on 23 July. Although steadily reinforced by the battalions of 30th and 21st Brigades, the Australian force was unable to hold back the Japanese. It was poorly equipped, had not yet developed effective jungle warfare tactics, and was fighting at the end of a very long and difficult supply line. A number of desperate delaying actions were fought as the Australians withdrew along the Trail. They finally stopped on 17 September at Imita Ridge, the last natural obstacle along the Trail, a mere 8 km from the junction with the road to Port Moresby. The Japanese held the opposite ridge, 6 km distant at Ioribaiwa.

    The tactical situation, however, had now swung in favour of the Australians. Their artillery at Ower's Corner was now in range and their supplies could be trucked most of the way forward; whereas Japanese supplies had to be carried all the way from the north coast. As a result of severe losses suffered by the Japanese on Guadalcanal following the American landing there, the South Seas Detachment was ordered to withdraw to the north coast of Papua and establish a defensive position there. Australian troops of the 25th Brigade began to edge forward from Imita Ridge on 23 September; the Japanese withdrew from Ioribaiwa the next day. In the course of their retreat the Japanese fought delaying actions every bit as determined as those of the Australians. Several difficult and costly battles were fought before the 16th and 25th Brigades crossed the Kumusi at Wairopi in mid-November heading for even more bitter fighting around the Japanese beachheads at Gona, Buna and Sanananda.

    The Kokoda Trail fighting was some of the most desperate and vicious encountered by Australian troops in the Second World War. Although the successful capture of Port Moresby was never going to be precursor to an invasion of Australia, victory on the Kokoda Trail did ensure that Allied bases in northern Australia, vital in the coming counter-offensive against the Japanese, would not be seriously threatened by air attack. Approximately 625 Australians were killed along the Kokoda Trail and over 1,600 were wounded. Casualties due to sickness exceeded 4,000.

    "Kokoda Trail" and "Kokoda Track" have been used interchangeably since the Second World War and the former was adopted by the Battles Nomenclature Committee as the official British Commonwealth battle honour in October 1957.


    Tim D
  13. Foxhound25

    Foxhound25 Junior Member

    Private memorial to Lt. Butch Bissett, 2/14th Battalion AIF...on the Kokoda Track not far from Isurava.



    Tim D
  14. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Grim and fascinating stuff mate, cheers for that.
    "died in the arms of his brother"...
    Lest we forget indeed.


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