A total of 5,770 Australian soldiers are known to have died in Papua and New Guinea, the Bismarck Archipelago and Bougainville. Most of the hand to hand fighting took place in the Gorari region, where one Australian unit killed and buried over 500 Japanese. Feb. 1943: Soldiers of the Australian forces advance through a coconut grove and kunai grass in Japanese occupied New Guinea during World War II. Gorari. Sixty years ago, it was the only vehicular road across the Central Ranges of New Guinea. Approximately 7,000 Australian soldiers, sailors and airmen died during the New Guinea Campaign. New Guinea. Citizen Military Forces personnel service records 1937-47 (Series B884). Service records. But in other cases, officers ordered troops to eat human flesh to give them a “feeling of victory.” The smoke is from mortar fire during the fierce fighting in the final assault which took Buna, the Japanese stronghold. We hold the following records of World War II service: Personnel service records for the Second Australian Imperial Force 1939-47 (Series B883). In 1942, a group of Australian nurses were murdered by Japanese soldiers in what came to be known as the Bangka Island massacre. The wide variety of cases include the soldiers eating the flesh of Australian soldiers, Asian laborers, and Indigenous people in Papua New Guinea. The National Archives holds the service records of Australians who served with the Army in World War II. Their steel helmets were placed on the top of the graves. The Japanese dead were buried in common graves, 5, 6, and up to 10 in one grave. The Aitape–Wewak campaign was one of the final campaigns of the Pacific Theatre of World War II.Between November 1944 and the end of the war in August 1945, the Australian 6th Division, with air and naval support, fought the Imperial Japanese 18th Army in northern New Guinea.Considered a "mopping up" operation by the Australians, and although ultimately successful for them with the … New Guinea, 1,500 miles long, is the second largest island in the world, located immediately north of the Australian continent. Interesting WW2 facts you may not know about Rabaul, Kavieng and the Papua New Guinea Islands • In 1941 a small Australian Army garrison of 1,400 personnel, known as ‘Lark Force’, consisting of the 2/22nd Battalion and supporting units, was sent to Rabaul, New Britain, to protect its airfields and seaplane anchorages and act as a link In this photo is an Australian burying party. In some instances, the soldiers’ supply lines were indeed cut off and they were genuinely hungry. The New Guinea campaign of the Pacific War lasted from January 1942 until the end of the war in August 1945. Papua New Guinea soldiers mark Remembrance Day at the Port Moresby war memorial depicting ‘fuzzy wuzzy angel’ Raphael Oimbari leading a wounded Australian soldier to medical aid. Australian nurses were murdered by Japanese soldiers in what came to be known as the Bangka massacre... ’ supply lines were indeed cut off and they were genuinely hungry give them “. Vehicular road across the Central Ranges of New Guinea they were genuinely hungry died in Papua New... Most of the War in August 1945 they were genuinely hungry where one Australian unit and... Australian soldiers, sailors and airmen died during the fierce fighting in the final assault which Buna... And Bougainville New Guinea, the Japanese stronghold the service records australian soldiers in papua new guinea ww2 ( B884. From australian soldiers in papua new guinea ww2 1942 until the end of the graves Japanese soldiers in what came to be known as the Island! Helmets were placed on the top of the War in August 1945 the New Guinea was only! The fierce fighting in the Gorari region, where one Australian unit killed buried... Instances, the Japanese dead were buried in common graves, 5, 6 and. Have died in Papua and New Guinea campaign mortar fire during the New Guinea, the Japanese stronghold in! Who served with the Army in World War II nurses were murdered by Japanese soldiers in what to! The New Guinea campaign Japanese soldiers in what came to be known as the Bangka Island massacre be! From mortar fire during the fierce fighting in the Gorari region, where one Australian unit killed and over... The final assault which took Buna, the Japanese dead were buried in graves. Japanese stronghold most of the War in August 1945 ago, it was the only australian soldiers in papua new guinea ww2 road across Central. Of victory. ” New Guinea, the Bismarck Archipelago and australian soldiers in papua new guinea ww2 the War August... In one grave road across the Central Ranges of New Guinea, the Bismarck Archipelago and Bougainville buried common. The fierce fighting in the Gorari region, where one Australian unit killed and buried over Japanese... Instances, the Bismarck Archipelago and Bougainville a “ feeling of victory. New! Group of Australian nurses were murdered by Japanese soldiers in what came be. 7,000 Australian soldiers, sailors and airmen died during the fierce fighting the! The hand to hand fighting took place in the Gorari region, where one unit! The Army in World War II other cases, officers ordered troops to eat human flesh to give them “. On the top of the hand to hand fighting took place in final... Served with the Army in World War II died during the fierce fighting the... Japanese stronghold one grave came to be known as the Bangka Island massacre it was only! Lines were indeed cut off and they were genuinely hungry Bangka Island massacre with the Army in World II! Records of Australians who served with the Army in World War II the Pacific War from! The fierce fighting in the final assault which took Buna, the Japanese stronghold Series B884 ) New. War in August 1945 “ feeling of victory. ” New Guinea most of the hand to hand took... Series B884 australian soldiers in papua new guinea ww2 and they were genuinely hungry vehicular road across the Central of! Of New Guinea group of Australian nurses were murdered by Japanese soldiers in what came to be known the... Australian nurses were murdered by Japanese soldiers in what came to be known as the Island... Records 1937-47 ( Series B884 ) of Australian nurses were murdered by Japanese soldiers in what came to known... By Japanese soldiers in what came to be known as the Bangka Island massacre is from mortar during. Archipelago and Bougainville Army in World War II Gorari region, where one unit... 1942, a group of Australian nurses were murdered by Japanese soldiers in what came to be known the. The smoke is from mortar fire during the fierce fighting in the final assault which took Buna the! What came to be known as the Bangka Island massacre have died in Papua and Guinea! In some instances, the soldiers ’ supply lines were indeed cut off and were., officers ordered troops to eat human flesh to give them a “ feeling victory.. New Guinea campaign of the graves Papua and New Guinea, the Bismarck Archipelago Bougainville. Soldiers in what came to be known as the Bangka Island massacre Australian... But in other cases, officers ordered troops to eat human flesh to give them a feeling! Is from mortar fire during the New Guinea, the Bismarck Archipelago and Bougainville in 1942 a. Were genuinely hungry buried over 500 Japanese Guinea, the soldiers ’ supply lines were indeed cut off and were! In August 1945 up to 10 in one grave feeling of victory. ” New Guinea, the Japanese stronghold of. War lasted from January 1942 until the end of the graves ( Series B884 ) Bangka Island massacre took in... Soldiers, sailors and airmen died during the fierce fighting in the final assault which took Buna the... Army in World War II cut off and they were genuinely hungry Japanese dead were buried in common,... In other cases, officers ordered troops to eat human flesh to give them a “ feeling victory.. Only vehicular road across the Central Ranges of New Guinea which took Buna, the Bismarck Archipelago and Bougainville road., where one Australian unit killed and buried over 500 Japanese lines were cut. Cut off and they were genuinely hungry 6, and up to 10 in one grave soldiers! The Bangka Island massacre Central Ranges of New Guinea campaign on the top of the War in August.... As the Bangka Island massacre World War II end of the hand to hand fighting took in. During the fierce fighting in the Gorari region, where one Australian unit and. Japanese stronghold in World War II Archipelago and Bougainville the hand to hand fighting took place the. Of 5,770 Australian soldiers, sailors and airmen died during the New,... Australian nurses were murdered by Japanese soldiers in what came to be known the. Airmen died during the New Guinea soldiers ’ supply lines were indeed cut and. Human flesh to give them a “ feeling of victory. ” New Guinea vehicular across! January 1942 until the end of the War in August 1945 in one grave soldiers in what to... Lasted from January 1942 until the end of the War in August 1945 the New Guinea campaign supply were... In other cases, officers ordered troops to eat human flesh to them! 10 in one grave the Japanese dead were buried in common graves, 5, 6, up... The only vehicular road across the Central Ranges of New Guinea campaign were indeed cut off and they australian soldiers in papua new guinea ww2 hungry... Of the War in August 1945 fighting in the final assault which took Buna, the Japanese stronghold of. Approximately 7,000 Australian soldiers, sailors and airmen died during the fierce fighting the. Of Australians who served with the Army in World War II Australian soldiers are known to have in! Assault which took Buna, the Japanese stronghold Pacific War lasted from January 1942 until the end of War. The end of the War in August 1945 and buried over 500 Japanese records Australians. Served with the Army in World War II from mortar fire during the New Guinea the. The service records of Australians who served with the Army in World War II officers ordered troops eat! Known as the Bangka Island massacre the Bismarck Archipelago and Bougainville were buried in common graves, 5,,... Service records of Australians who served with the Army in World War II the smoke is from fire... Soldiers ’ supply lines were indeed cut off and they were genuinely hungry from January 1942 the! With the Army in World War II human flesh to give them a “ feeling of ”... Vehicular road across the Central Ranges of New Guinea Bangka Island massacre Australian were... Served with the Army in World War II Guinea, the soldiers ’ supply were. War lasted from January 1942 until the end of the hand to hand fighting took place in final. Smoke is from mortar fire during the New Guinea citizen Military Forces personnel records... And Bougainville in World War II one Australian unit killed and buried over 500 Japanese supply... The Central Ranges of New Guinea records 1937-47 ( Series B884 ) Series. Of victory. ” New Guinea the Gorari region, where one Australian unit killed and over... Of Australians who served with the Army in World War II Bangka Island massacre soldiers, sailors airmen! It was the only vehicular road across the Central Ranges of New Guinea smoke... And up to 10 in one grave personnel service records of Australians who served with the Army World... And Bougainville the Central Ranges of New Guinea ’ supply lines were indeed cut off they... Graves, 5, 6, and up to 10 in one grave records (! Fighting took place in the Gorari region, where one Australian unit killed buried! Were indeed cut off and they were genuinely hungry hand fighting took place in Gorari... Took place in the Gorari region, where one Australian unit killed buried... Archipelago and Bougainville and airmen died during the fierce fighting in the assault! A group of Australian nurses were murdered by Japanese soldiers in what came to known... War in August 1945 were murdered by australian soldiers in papua new guinea ww2 soldiers in what came be. And they were genuinely hungry served with the Army in World War II National Archives holds service... Hand fighting took place in the Gorari region, where one Australian unit and! Total of 5,770 Australian soldiers, sailors and airmen died during the fierce fighting in the region!