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Old 07-12-2002, 12:38 PM
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Lae War Cemetery - Papua New Guinea

Story by Malum Nalu

The Lae War Cemetery is one of the major WW11 cemeteries in the country apart from Bomana (Port Moresby) and Bitapaka (Rabaul).

Immaculately maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, the Lae War Cemetery contains 2,818 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War, 444 of them unidentified.

The majority, over 2000, are from Australia with others from Great Britain, India, and Papua New Guinea.

They now rest peacefully in a picture of tranquility in the tropical greenery of the Botanical Gardens.

On dawn on ANZAC Day each year, the Lae community comes together to remember the many men who gave up their lives, to protect their countries and their people.

A visit to Lae would not be complete without a visit to the cemetery, which is located next to the Botanical Gardens in the centre of Lae.

It is also a very emotional and moving experience.

In the early months of 1942, Japan enjoyed a crushing superiority in the air, and it was Lae and its neighboring airfields that were the objects of the first Japanese attack on New Guinea.

Lae and Salamaua were bombed on January 21, 1942, by 100 planes, but the land forces did not enter the territory until March 7, when 3,000 Japanese landed at Lae.

There were landings too at Salamaua, followed on July 21 by further landings at Buna and Gona on the east coast in preparation for a drive through the Owen Stanley Mountains across the Papuan peninsula to Port Moresby.

The vital stage of the New Guinea campaign dates from that time.

Lae became one of the bases from which the southward drive was launched and maintained until it was stopped at loribaiwa Ridge, a point within 60 kilometres of Port Moresby.

Lae War Cemetery was commenced in 1944 by the Australian Army Graves Service and handed over to the Commission in 1947.

It contains the graves of men who lost their lives during the New Guinea campaign whose graves were brought here from the temporary military cemeteries in areas where the fighting took place.

The Indian casualties were soldiers of the army of undivided India who had been taken prisoner during the fighting in Malaya and Hong Kong.

The great majority of the unidentified were recovered between But airfield and Wewak, where they had died while employed in working parties.

Of the two men belonging to the army of the United Kingdom, one was attached to 219th Australian Infantry Battalion and the other was a member of the Hong Kong-Singapore Royal Artillery.

The naval casualties were killed, or died of injuries received, on H.M. Ships King George V, Glenearn and Empire Arquebus, and the four men of the Merchant Navy were killed when the S.S. Gorgon was bombed and damaged in Milne Bay in April 1943.

Before the First World War, north-eastern New Guinea and certain adjacent islands were German possessions, and were occupied by Australian Forces on September 12, 1914.

Several cemeteries in New Guinea contain the graves of men who died during that war.

There is one such grave in Lae War Cemetery, brought in from a burial ground where permanent maintenance could not be assured.

The Lae War Memorial, which stands in the cemetery, commemorates more than 300 officers and men of the Australian Army, the Australian Merchant Navy and the Royal Australian Air Force who lost their lives in these operations and have no known grave.

Casualties of the Royal Australian Navy who lost their lives in the south-western Pacific region, and have no known grave but the sea, are commemorated on Plymouth Naval Memorial in England along with many of their comrades of the Royal Navy and of other Commonwealth Naval Forces.

Ends/


Location Information :

Lae is a town and port at the mouth of the Markham River on the Huon Gulf. Lae War Cemetery is located adjacent to the Botanical Gardens in the centre of Lae.

Historical Information :

In the early months of 1942, Japan enjoyed a crushing superiority in the air, and it was Lae and its neighbouring airfields that were the objects of the first Japanese attack on New Guinea. Lae and Salamaua were bombed on 21 January 1942 by 100 planes, but the land forces did not enter the territory until 7 March, when 3,000 Japanese landed at Lae. There were landings too at Salamaua, followed on 21 July by further landings at Buna and Gona on the east coast in preparation for a drive through the Owen Stanley Mountains across the Papuan peninsula to Port Moresby. The vital stage of the New Guinea campaign dates from that time. Lae became one of the bases from which the southward drive was launched and maintained until it was stopped at loribaiwa Ridge, a point within 60 kilometres of Port Moresby.

LAE WAR CEMETERY was commenced in 1944 by the Australian Army Graves Service and handed over to the Commission in 1947. It contains the graves of men who lost their lives during the New Guinea campaign whose graves were brought here from the temporary military cemeteries in areas where the fighting took place. The Indian casualties were soldiers of the army of undivided India who had been taken prisoner during the fighting in Malaya and Hong Kong.

The great majority of the unidentified were recovered between But airfield and Wewak, where they had died while employed in working parties. Of the two men belonging to the army of the United Kingdom, one was attached to 219th Australian Infantry Battalion and the other was a member of the Hong Kong-Singapore Royal Artillery.

The naval casualties were killed, or died of injuries received, on H.M. Ships King George V, Glenearn and Empire Arquebus, and the four men of the Merchant Navy were killed when the S.S. Gorgon was bombed and damaged in Milne Bay in April 1943.

The cemetery contains 2,818 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War, 444 of them unidentified.

Prior to the First World War, north-eastern New Guinea and certain adjacent islands were German possessions, and were occupied by Australian Forces on 12 September 1914. Several cemeteries in New Guinea contain the graves of men who died during that war. There is one such grave in Lae War Cemetery, brought in from a burial ground where permanent maintenance could not be assured.
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  #2  
Old 07-12-2002, 12:41 PM
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The LAE MEMORIAL, which stands in the cemetery, commemorates more than 300 officers and men of the Australian Army, the Australian Merchant Navy and the Royal Australian Air Force who lost their lives in these operations and have no known grave. Casualties of the Royal Australian Navy who lost their lives in the south-western Pacific region, and have no known grave but the sea, are commemorated on 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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Old 07-12-2002, 01:16 PM
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In honour of my Uncle, Robert Norman McMillan who is buried in the Lae Cemetery :

In Memory of

Corporal ROBERT NORMAN McMILLAN

QX31489, A.I.F. 2/7 Bn., Australian Infantry
who died age 22
on Saturday 10 March 1945.
Corporal McMILLAN, Son of Donald and Violet Eugene McMillan, of Kyogle, New South Wales.

Remembered with honour

LAE WAR CEMETERY


Grave or Reference Panel Number: HH. D. 10.

Location: Lae is a town and port at the mouth of the Markham River on the Huon Gulf. Lae War Cemetery is located adjacent to the Botanical Gardens in the centre of Lae. Within the cemetery will be found the Lae Memorial, commemorating officers and men of the Royal Australian Army, the Australian Merchant Navy and the Royal Australian Air Force who lost their lives in operations in the area and who have no known grave.

Historical Information: In the air Japan enjoyed a crushing superiority in the early months of 1942, and it was Lae and its neighbouring airfields that were the objects of the first Japanese attack on New Guinea. Lae and Salamaua were bombed on 21st January, 1942, by 100 planes, but the land forces did not enter the territory until 7th March, when 3,000 Japanese landed at Lae.

There were landings too, at Salamaua, followed on 21st July by further landings at Buna and Gona on the east coast in preparation for a drive through the Owen Stanley Mountains across the Papuan peninsula to Port Moresby. The vital stage of the New Guinea campaign dates from that time. Lae became one of the bases from which the southward drive was launched and maintained until it was stopped at Ioribaiwa Ridge, a point within 60 kilometres of Port Moresby.

Lae War Cemetery was commenced in 1944 by the Australian Army Graves Service, from whom it was taken over by the Imperial War Graves Commission in September 1947. This 1939-1945 War Cemetery contains the graves of men who lost their lives during the New Guinea campaign. They were brought here from the temporary military cemeteries in areas where the fighting took place.

The Indian casualties were soldiers of the army of undivided India who had been taken prisoner during the fighting in Malaya and Hong Kong. The great majority of the 420 who are unidentified were recovered between But airfield and Wewak, where they had died while employed in working parties. Of the two men belonging to the army of the United Kingdom, one was attached to 2/9th Australian Infantry Battalion and the other was a member of the Hong Kong-Singapore Royal Artillery.

The naval casualties were killed, or died of injuries received, on H.M. Ships King George V, Glenearn and Empire Arquebus, and the four men of the Merchant Navy were killed when the S.S. Gorgon was bombed and damaged in Milne Bay in April 1943. In this cemetery is the Lae Memorial, which commemorates officers and men of the Australian Army, the Australian Merchant Navy and the Royal Australian Air Force who lost their lives in these operations and have no known grave.

It takes the form of bronze tablets fixed to walls linking the end columns of the colonnade, upon which are engraved the names. Casualties of the Royal Australian Navy who lost their lives in the south-western Pacific region, and have no known grave but the sea, are commemorated on Plymouth Naval Memorial in England along with many of their comrades of the Royal Navy and of other Commonwealth Naval Forces.

Prior to the 1914-1918 War north-eastern New Guinea and certain adjacent islands were German possessions, and were occupied by Australian Forces on 12th September 1914. Several cemeteries in New Guinea contain the graves of men who died during that war. There is one such grave in Lae War Cemetery, brought in from a burial ground where permanent maintenance could not be assured.

COMMEMORATED IN PERPETUITY BY THE COMMONWEALTH WAR GRAVES COMMISSION :
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Old 07-12-2002, 05:25 PM
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McMillan, Robert Norman - Died 10 March 1945 - Buried Lae War Cemetery

If you are looking for details such as the following, please log onto the following website address :


http://www.ww2roll.gov.au
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Old 07-12-2002, 05:40 PM
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McMillan, Archie John

My other Uncle - Archie John McMillan - enlisted 30th September, 1944 - date of discharge - 19th September, 1946 :

Unfortunately Uncle Archie was serverly affected by his experiences in the war in Papua New Guinea and my only real memories of him were his constant nightmares where he would wake the whole house up by banging on the walls and yelling out in the middle of the night. Quite a scary experience for me, a young teenager overnighting at my grandmothers home during one of his visits home.

His wife left him and after my Grandmother died, we lost touch and he lived out his years I believe in recluse dying a lonely death in a unit when no-one even knew he had passed away for some 2-3 weeks after he died.

To all people like him whose life was also ruined by the affects of war; to others who lost their loved ones; my heart goes out to the sacrifices they made so that we all can enjoy the life we enjoy to this day.

Sincere thanks

McMillan, Archie John :
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Old 07-12-2002, 05:45 PM
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Gun pictured here in the Botanical Gardens in Lae
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Old 08-12-2002, 02:32 AM
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Did you know, if you are willing to pay $16.20 Australian the Australian Archives will send a photocopy of every piece of paper that relates to their military career. The average runs to about 20 to 40 pages and will give you EVERYTHING the army knew about them from the day they enlisted.


Editors Note: This was the message I just received by email for someone who seems to be an expert in helping people like myself.

Without his efforts, I would not have got as far as I have.

Tks Ted

Plaque in honour of all those Papua New Guineans who also died during this war on PNG soil as seen here at the Bomana War Cemetery in Port Moresby:
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Old 08-12-2002, 12:36 PM
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World War II Service Records

The Archives cares for the service records of Australians who served during World War II in the:
  • Army (AIF and CMF)
  • Royal Australian Air Force
  • Royal Australian Navy
Request a copy :

Use our request form to purchase a photocopy of a World War II service record. Please read important information about costs.

If you do not have enough information about the serviceperson to complete the request form, please consult the Department of Veterans' Affairs nominal roll.

About the records :

Defence service records were created by the Department of Defence. Each of the three services kept slightly different records.

Records created by the Australian Army typically comprise a set of forms.

The Attestation (enlistment) form sets out personal details such as age, next of kin and former occupation.

Service and Casualty forms (B103) record information about units and postings, injuries and disciplinary charges.

There may also be a Discharge form that summarises the person's service.

A head-and-shoulders photograph of the soldier may be included.

Other documents or correspondence are occasionally included.

Royal Australian Air Force records contain an A3 size 'Personal record of service' form. It sets out personal details such as:
  • age
  • next of kin
  • marital status
  • postings
  • training and promotions
The records often contain other material such as enlistment forms, conduct sheets and records of leave. Most also contain a head-and-shoulders photograph of the enlistee.

The Royal Australian Navy kept 'record of service cards' in the form of double-sided cardboard index cards. They contain information about:
  • personal details such as next of kin
  • postings
  • awards
There are usually one or two cards for each person.

Other ways to arrange access :

Instead of purchasing a photocopy of the service record, you can also:


View the original records in the Reading Room in Canberra. Phone the Archives on 1300 886 881, or email ref@naa.gov.au, four weeks ahead of your visit to arrange to see the records.

Request a digital copy of the record be placed on our RecordSearch database. For more information about this service, phone them on 1300 886 881 or email ref@naa.gov.au.

Other contacts :

Medals information :

The Department of Defence is responsible for medals and medal entitlements. For contact details for each service, go to www.defence.gov.au/dpe and follow the links from 'Honours and Awards'.

Pension information and entitlements :

Veterans' Affairs Network
Tel: 1300 55 1918

Former members :

Former service personnel who have questions about their service may apply to:

Army :

Soldier Career Management Agency
GPO Box 393 D
Melbourne Vic 3001

Navy and RAAF :

Personnel Records (RAN & RAAF) :

Department of Defence
Queanbeyan Annex 2
Russell Offices
Canberra ACT 2607


Source: http://www.naa.gov.au/the_collection...s/ww2/ww2.html

If you are interested in obtaining documents relating to your loved ones, please log onto the following :

Request Form :

http://www.naa.gov.au/the_collection...d_request.html

World War II Service Records :

Cost of copies :

Photocopies of Army and RAAF World War II service records cost A$16.20 per record (includes GST), or A$14.70 for overseas purchases (excludes GST). Please do not send pre-payment. We shall invoice you once a record is located.

Navy service records typically consist of 1 or 2 cardboard index cards with indistinct pencil notations. Single orders for standard black and white photocopies of Navy records are supplied free. Quotes can be given for colour photocopies which may produce a clearer copy, or for orders of more than one Navy service record.

Composite photograph: Defence 'most secret' minute (NAA: A5954, 2400/21); Instrument of surrender (NAA: A799, 1); Ration book and card (NAA: MP5/75); Nurses waving (NAA: A11666, 60)
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Old 08-12-2002, 01:05 PM
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GPO Box 345,
Canberra ACT 2601,
AUSTRALIA

ABN: 64 909 221 257

Telephone: +61 2 6243 4211
Facsimile: +61 2 6243 4325


http://www.awm.gov.au/

If you are interested in tracking family history or other related subjects, this is a summary of what can be found on this website :

Research & Family History :

Research Centre : http://www.awm.gov.au/research/research.htm

The Research Centre is the single most important resource for researching Australia's military history. The Centre's varied activities and resources such as information sheets, guides and bibliographies are described here to assist researchers, students and prospective visitors.

Family History : http://www.awm.gov.au/research/family.htm

The Memorial contains a wealth of material relating to individual servicemen and women - but where do you start? Find out how to obtain personal service records, locate items in our collections, search biographical databases such as the Roll of Honour, Commemorative Roll, and various Nominal Rolls, and where else to go for information.

Australia Japan Research Project : http://www.awm.gov.au:8000/ajrp/ajrp2.nsf/

The Australia-Japan Research Project (AJRP) has constructed a database that covers a wide range of Australian and Japanese sources, to guide researchers to information on the relationship between the two nations. The focus is on the Second World War. In addition, research essays provide an overview of sources for particular areas of study.

Journal of the AWM : http://www.awm.gov.au/journal/index.htm

The Journal of the Australian War Memorial is an occasional publication, advancing the Memorial's mission of remembering and interpreting the Australian experience of war and publicising research into Australian military history. From No 28 (April 1996), the journal has been published on the website only.

Wartime : http://www.awm.gov.au/wartime/index.htm

Wartime is the official magazine of the Australian War Memorial. It is devoted to the Australian experience of war; military history; and the effects of war on society. Every issue delivers the stories of courage and survival of both service personnel and civilians.

Military History Section : http://www.awm.gov.au/research/mhs/index.htm

Staff biographies of the Memorial's Military History section.

Grants & Scholarships : http://www.awm.gov.au/research/grants.htm

The Australian War Memorial Act 1980 requires the Memorial to "conduct, arrange and assist in research into matters pertaining to Australian military history". The Memorial fulfils this function, in part, through the Research Grants Scheme and Summer Vacation Scholarships.

Links : http://www.awm.gov.au/research/links.htm

Useful links to other cultural institiutions, museums and military history websites.

Australian War Memorial Logo :
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Old 11-03-2003, 08:28 AM
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For more information on this subject matter, please click on the following :

http://www.pngbd.com/forum/t5925s.html

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