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aussie 10-12-2002 08:09 AM

Japanese and Allied war memorials in and around Wewak
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by Malum Nalu

Wewak, apart from being one of the best places in Papua New Guinea to holiday or live in, is also significant for its WWII history.

Japanese and Allied war memorials in and around Wewak, and remnant Japanese war bunkers, tunnels and wrecks are of particular interest to war veterans and their descendents and to historians.

The Wom War Memorial Park, war relics at But village, and the Japanese look out at Mission Hill (Boy's Town) are the most prominent WW11 attractions.

The lush tropical vegetation on the foothills to the south both provides a magnificent backdrop to the town.

Wewak was occupied by the Japanese 8th Army during WW11.

Cape Wom War Memorial in Wewak :

aussie 10-12-2002 08:13 AM

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In May 1945, Wewak fell to the Allies and the remaining Japanese fled into the hills.

In mid-December 1944, Australian forces began a slow, determined drive from the east toward Wewak, which finally fell on May 10, 1945.

Australian losses were 451 killed, 1,163 wounded, and three missing.

Some 7,200 Japanese fell.

General Adachi then kept his approximately 13,000 survivors together in the hills and surrendered only in September 1945.

Adachi himself was tried at Rabaul for war crimes, but beat the hangman by committing suicide in September 1947

In the last days of the war, General Adachi surrendered near Yangoru.

He was so weak from starvation that he had to be carried on a chair.

The formal surrender took place a few days later on September 13, 1945 at Cape Wom near Wewak.

Steps leading up to the Cape Wom War Memorial in Wewak :

aussie 10-12-2002 08:16 AM

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A war memorial and peace park, flanked by flag poles, is located on the spot where Japanese Lieutenant General Adachi signed the official surrender documents for his troops, and handed his sword over to Australian Major General Robertson on September 13, 1945.

Of the 100,000 Japanese troops only 13,000 survived to surrender.

History – conscious Wewak residents, despite the 60th anniversary of the surrender being three years away, are already making preparations for what they anticipate will be a very big event.

The Wewak area was the largest concentration of Japanese Army troops on mainland New Guinea.

The area near Wewak has a number of important topographical features.

The coastline is irregular, with capes jutting out from the shoreline, and the Japanese had prepared extensive defensive positions on these headlands.

It was an ideal strong hold, and was avoided by Allied ground forces until the very end of the war, and instead was neutralized by air attacks and isolated from resupply by other operations.

Moem Point - Wewak :

aussie 10-12-2002 08:19 AM

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There are an enormous number of bits and pieces from the war scattered around Wewak.

These include unexploded bombs, and every now and then someone burning the bush sets one off.

The replacement of Wewak's water drainage project frequently turns up munitions or aerial bombs.

Mission Hill, located south of the Catholic Mission headquarters, also has a significant history.

The first Catholic missionaries settled on Mission Hill in 1912.

They, however, were forced to leave when the Japanese arrived during WW11 and occupied the hill as one of the strategic posts of the Japanese army after the fall of Wewak Point.

Mission Hill - Wewak :

aussie 10-12-2002 08:22 AM

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The area created a good defensive ground due to its high grounds facing Wewak Point and the harbour.

On May 16, 1945, Australian soldier Edward Kenna (who is still alive) – of the 2/11 Battalion – with much bravery and sacrifice made it possible for the capture of the hill from the Japanese.

The Catholic Mission owns this area behind Wewak town.

This area was the site of one of the final Japanese strongholds assaulted before surrender in September 1945.

Picnic Spot at Moem :

aussie 10-12-2002 08:25 AM

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During the war, this area was heavily fortified and the site of heavy fighting in which a Victoria Cross was won.

Trenches, caves, old gun emplacements and tunnels are still in the area.

Since the church owned the property, relics there were not scrapped like in other part of town during the post war years.

Area is also known as "Boy's Town".

There is a Japanese War Memorial, the remains of many troops were buried here in a large mass graves.

These were later exhumed and returned to Japan.

Two coconut trees stand watch over the waters of Kairiru Island :

aussie 10-12-2002 08:28 AM

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Brandi High School - East of Cape Moem, students had discovered many Japanese relics hidden in the jungle Equipment includes Japanese Military trucks, Search light, heavy machine gun, rangefinder, and propeller.

But Airfield - But has remains of Toyota trucks, Nissan rollers and Kato artillery tractors. Once, a cache of experimental 40mm caseless ammunition was discovered for the Nakajima Ki 44 Shoki fighter.

Cape Moem - Located past Wewak's Boram airport. PNG Defence Force Army base is located at Cape Moem.

Cape Wom Memorial Park - War memorial and peace park. The memorial is flanked by flagpoles, and is located on the spot where Japanese Lieutenant General Adachi signed the official surrender documents for his troops, and handed his sword over to Australian Major General Robertson on September 13, 1945. There are also a number of artifacts in the park - several Japanese Type 88 (1928) 75 mm anti-aircraft guns, and smaller field guns.

Kairiru Island - Japanese Naval forces occupied this island until the end of the war. There are two large Naval guns on the northeast end of the island. Also, several caves used by the Japanese.

Muschu Island - This flat island was used by Japanese Naval forces, who occupied it until the end of the war. After surrender, this island was used to detain Japanese POW from all over New Guinea, until they were repatriated back to Japan. Today, it is a beautiful and peaceful tropical island.


Plaque commemorating the Japanese surrender of 1945 :

ylq 08-05-2018 02:56 PM

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