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The Battle for Wau – 75 Years on.

Seventy-five years ago today marks the beginning of the Battle for Wau in the Mandated Territory of New Guinea. A Japanese regimental group built around two battalions of the 102nd Infantry Regiment attempted to capture the township and airstrip of Wau in the Bulolo Valley from ‘Kanga Force’, an Australian command, the bulk of which was the newly

George Warfe School – A Photograph.

At left is the ‘new’ classroom of the George Warfe Memorial Elementary School at Kamiatum, Papua New Guinea. The community is keen to provide the most effective education possible for their children, despite a great lack of resources. They would welcome any interaction with Australian teachers or schools. [Because of the limitations of the blog format, I’ve had

George Warfe School, Kamiatum, Papua New Guinea – An Update.

Long ago, in March, 2014, I announced that the small community of Kamiatum, just inland from Salamaua in Papua New Guinea, had decided to name their new elementary school after a prominent WW2 and post-war Australian soldier and infantry commander, Colonel George Warfe, D.S.O., M.C., E.D. Due to a lack of local resources and the challenge of maintaining effective

Mullalyup to Mississippi – Part II.

CONTINUED from Part I. In a further report of the incident, Bender described informing Hawter that as it was impossible for the two of them to exit the aircraft from the pilot’s hatch, he, Hawter, could escape from the bottom hatch in the navigator’s compartment. Bender surmised that Hawter had been overcome by the smoke or flames. He

Mullalyup to Mississippi – An RAAF Airman’s Journey.

In many ways, Flight Sergeant Edgar Horace Hawter was not unlike the thousands of other Australians of his generation who volunteered to serve their country in the Second World War and never returned. He was certainly not alone in being recorded, initially, as ‘Missing.’ Hawter’s remains, however, were found, but could not be positively identified and thus separated,

Addenda.

Sometimes after a blog article is posted, additional information becomes available that will add to the story without changing its premise. What follows are three such additions regarding the first man killed on mainland New Guinea in World War Two, the burdens of infantrymen throughout history, and the basic structure – or War Establishment – of an Australian

The First American Killed in New Guinea – January, 1942.

In my post The First Casualty, I mentioned the little-known historical fact that the very first fatality of the campaign on mainland New Guinea during World War Two was a civilian air pilot, Kevin Parer. Parer was killed while sitting in the cockpit of his aircraft during a surprise Japanese air raid on Salamaua, on the 21st of

Still No Bodies, But Slightly Less of a Mystery.

In my post Never Returned – Disappearance in the Markham, I introduced three Australian soldiers who went missing, presumed captured by the enemy, in New Guinea in mid 1942, and whose bodies were never found. At the time of writing, I was aware of indigenous intelligence that had stated that two of the men, Sergeant Mayne and Signalman

We Intend to Cease Fighting – A Japanese Unit Surrender, May 1945, New Guinea.

Anyone who has done some cursory reading about the Second World War in the Pacific will know that for the Japanese soldier, surrendering to their enemy was not an officially sanctioned option. While the surrender of individuals and small groups certainly occurred, it was unusual for units of Japanese to lay down their arms on the order of

The Structure of an Infantry Battalion of the Royal Australian Regiment, 1953.

Previously, we looked at the structure of an Australian infantry battalion and an Australian independent company in the Second World War in order to better understand what such units were capable of. In this post, we will glance – again, very briefly – at the structure of a Royal Australian Regiment infantry battalion of the early post-WWII Australian
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