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War History World War II in Papua New Guinea. Australian and Japanese soldier who fought the battle, died and buried in Bomana (Port Moresby), Lae cemetary, Wewak, Relics and Wreckages.

 
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Old 09-01-2003, 08:18 PM
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Lae - Salamaua 60th anniversary World War II by Malum Nalu

Into a brand new year, 2003, and we all look forward to what the next 12 months will uncover.

For the people of Lae and its predecessor Salamaua, 2003 will be especially significant, as it was in 1943 that the Allies particularly the Australians - fought the Japanese to a standstill and recaptured both towns.

Lae, now the bustling capital of Morobe, was the site of a significant World War 11 battle.

Lae City, Morobe Province of Papua New Guinea :
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Old 09-01-2003, 08:24 PM
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The 60th anniversary of that battle falls on September 16 which incidentally is Independence Day this year.

Five days earlier, on September 11, 1943, Salamaua was recaptured from the Japanese after almost two years of bitter fighting.

The 5th Division conducted the final operations around Salamaua, which was occupied by the 42nd Battalion on September 11, a week after the Lae offensive opened and five days before the 7th and 9th Australian Divisions entered Lae.

Salamua Beach :
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Old 09-01-2003, 08:28 PM
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Few Australians, Japanese, Americans or Papua New Guineans whose forefathers were the four main parties involved - seem to know the rich and colorful history of Lae and Salamaua.

However, it is hoped that that between now and September 16, 2003, some will take the time to learn about it.

It is still to early to state clearly what is planned for the occasion, or whether or not survivors of those bloody battlefields will make a pilgrimage.

Entrance to Lae War Memorial Cemetery :
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Old 09-01-2003, 08:30 PM
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It is also hoped that Morobe politicians, the provincial government, the chamber of commerce, Morobeans, and all Lae residents Laeites will join hands together then to reflect on that momentous occasion in the history of Lae and Salamaua.

It was on September 16, 1943, that Lae was recaptured from the Japanese after almost two years of fighting.

Map of Salamaua :
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Old 09-01-2003, 08:32 PM
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Lae was pounded from the air and from the 25 pounders of the approaching Australian divisions.

On September 16, the 7th and 9th Divisions entered Lae and found the Japanese there weakened from lack of food and short of ammunition.

The Japanese, in falling back towards Lae, had abandoned position after position.

Never had the Japanese been pushed back so swiftly.

Plaque at Lae War Cemetery :
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Old 09-01-2003, 08:33 PM
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However, the 9th Division lost 77 killed and the 7th Division 38 killed in the advance towards Lae.

War began in the Pacific with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour on December 7, 1941.

Rabaul was bombed on January 4, 1942 followed by Lae, Salamaua, and Bulolo on January 21.

To go into detail about the long and bitter fighting that took place between Lae, Salamaua and Wau in 1942 and 1943 would fill pages.

Australian Slouch Hat :
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Old 09-01-2003, 08:34 PM
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Many hundreds of Japanese, Australians, as well as Papua New Guineans were killed in the two years of fighting.

Briefly, the Japanese landed at Lae and Salamaua on March 8, 1942.

The New Guinea Volunteer Rifles and survivors of the 2/22nd Battalion from Rabaul destroyed all military supplies and withdraw into the hinterland where they observed the Japanese build-up.

In May, Kanga Force, which included the 2/5th Independent Company, was airlifted into Wau to operate as a guerrilla force against the Japanese in the Markham Valley.

War Memorial - First Street in Lae :
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Old 09-01-2003, 08:37 PM
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On June 29, Kanga Force raided Salamaua inflicting heavy casualties and capturing the first Japanese equipment and documents taken by the Australian Army.

On August 31, a strong Japanese group arrived at Mubo but with the Japanese on the offensive along the Kokoda Trail and at Milne Bay, reinforcements were not available for Kanga Force until October when 2/7th Independent Company joined.

Tribute to my Uncle Robert Norman McMillan who is buried in the Lae War Cemetery and who fought in the 2/7 Australian Infantry Battalion :
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Old 09-01-2003, 08:41 PM
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The 3rd Australian Division slowly fought its way towards Salamaua in a series of exacting and grim battles from April to August 1943 in a campaign largely overshadowed by the Papuan campaign the preceded it and by the capture of Lae that followed.

The Salamaua campaign was designed to screen the preparations for the Lae offensive and to act as a magnet to draw reinforcements from Lae to Salamaua.

Australian Dugout :
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Old 09-01-2003, 08:43 PM
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The capture of Lae, the centre of the Japanese defensive line in New Guinea, was the allied target after the defeat of the Japanese in Papua.

General Sir Thomas Blamey, the Australian Commander-in-Chief, directed that Salamaua be starved out after Lae was captured.
On August 26, 1943, Major General Savige and his 3rd Division headquarters were relived by General Milford and his 5th Division headquarters.

The 5th Division conducted the final operations around Salamaua, which was occupied by the 42nd Battalion on September 11, a week after the Lae offensive opened and five days before the 7th and 9th Australian Divisions entered Lae.

War Biscuit Bomber :
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