Blog Archives

Kiwis Over the Pacific

Flight Officer, Geoff Fisken

During early World War II operations in the Pacific, Geoff Fisken would become one of the most outstanding pilots of the RNZAF—the Royal New Zealand Air Force.

Fisken was born in Gisborne, New Zealand, in 1918, and during the 1930s he learned to fly a de Havilland Gypsy Moth biplane. In 1939, Fisken was working for a farmer in Masterton, and at the outbreak of war in Europe he volunteered for flying duty.  In October 1941, as the threat of war with Japan was increasing, No. 67 Squadron was moved to Mingaladon, Burma, but Fisken was posted instead to No. 243 Squadron RAF.

With the Japanese attacks across East Asia and the western Pacific on December 8, 1941, No. 243 Squadron was assigned to defend the Royal Navy’s Force Z––the battleship HMS Prince of Walesand battlecruiser HMS Repulse. Two days later the British warships were attacked and sunk by Japanese air units. Then, as the Japanese advanced down the Malay Peninsula, Singapore became the target of an increasing number of bombing raids.

RNZ on Guadalcanal

After continuous missions,  No. 243 Squadron had lost the majority of its pilots and virtually all its aircraft. As a result, it was merged with No. 453 Squadron of the RAAF, which continued to operate along with No. 488 Squadron RNZAF.  Fisken claimed another fighter destroyed on February 1. Five days later he was bounced by two Japanese fighters, shooting down one while narrowly escaping the other, though he was injured in the arm and leg by a cannon shell. On the eve of Singapore’s surrender, Commonwealth pilots were withdrawn to Batavia (now Jakarta), Java, and later to Australia. As a result of his performance in Singapore, Geoff Fisken received a commission and was promoted to the rank of pilot officer.

Fisken was just one of hundreds of New Zealanders––Kiwis––who loved nothing more than a good brawl but of whom little is known today outside their island nation.

“Too Young To Die” by Bryan Cox

Many of you history buffs out there already have “Too Young To Die” by Bryan Cox or have seen a book review and already know The story of  Flight Sergeant Bryan Cox, who suffered a failure of both his radio and lights during the return flight but happened to stumble upon the landing strip at Green Island just as he was nearly out of fuel. It was not only a fortunate day for him, but also his 20th birthday. Below is another story of that day…

Bryan Cox (19), WWII

Continually fighting throughout the war, on January 15, 1945, during a strike on Toboi Wharf in Simpson Harbor at Rabaul, conducted by aircraft of Nos. 14 and 16 Squadrons flying from Green Island and No. 24 from Bougainville––a total of 36 Corsairs––one was knocked down by antiaircraft fire. The F4U was piloted by Flight Lieutenant Francis George Keefe of No. 14 Squadron, who managed to bail out, landing in the harbor.

An exceptional swimmer, Keefe struck out for the harbor entrance. For some time he made good progress. Then, in the middle of the afternoon, by which time he had been swimming for six hours, the tide and wind changed and he began to drift back up the harbor.

RNZAF on Green Island

A rescue force had been quickly organized while sections of Corsairs kept watch overhead to prevent Japanese attempts to capture Keefe. Two bamboo rafts were assembled and loaded aboard a Ventura at Green Island, intended to be dropped to the downed pilot.

As two Corsairs orbited above Rabaul awaiting the arrival of the Ventura, an American Catalina pilot circling just beyond the harbor entrance spotted Keefe and twice requested permission to land and pick him up. The request was denied both times by the officer in charge, Squadron Leader Paul Green, the commander of No. 16 Squadron, due to the threat posed by Japanese coastal and antiaircraft guns.

RNZAF doing maintenance after a Rabaul mission

When the Ventura arrived, it was accompanied by another 12 Corsairs, whose task was to strafe the Rabaul waterfront while the Ventura dropped the rafts. Everything went as planned, but Keefe failed or was unable to reach the rafts. The rescue was then aborted, and all aircraft were directed to return to base.

Approximately halfway back to Green Island, the Corsairs encountered a tropical storm front stretching across the horizon and down to sea level. Due to limited navigation aids, the aircraft were required to maintain a tight formation as the storm and darkness reduced visibility. The pilots could only see the navigation lights of the other aircraft in their flight.

Five of the Corsairs crashed into the sea, one crashed at Green Island as it was making its landing approach, and a seventh simply disappeared. The lost pilots included Flight Lieutenant B.S. Hay, Flight Officer A.N. Saward, Flight Sergeant I.J. Munro, and Flight Sergeant J.S. McArthur from No. 14 Squadron and Flight Lieutenant T.R.F. Johnson, Flight Officer G. Randell, and Flight Sergeant R.W. Albrecht from No. 16 Squadron.

RNZAF on Espiritu Santo

After the war, it was reported by Japanese troops captured at Rabaul that Keefe had managed to swim ashore. With a wounded arm, he was taken prisoner and died a few days later.

From September 3, 1939, to August 15, 1945, a total of 3,687 RNZAF personnel died in service, the majority with RAF Bomber Command flying in Britain and over Europe. The RNZAF had grown from a small prewar force to over 41,000 men and women (WAAFs) by 1945, including just over 10,000 serving with the RAF in Europe and Africa; 24 RNZAF squadrons saw service in the Pacific. On VJ Day, the RNZAF had more than 7,000 of its personnel stationed throughout the Solomons and Bismarcks.

The Kiwi airmen had not only fought proudly against their Japanese foes, but also carved out a place for themselves among their much larger Allies—Britain, Australia, and the United States—as they wrote their names into the history of the Pacific air war.

Click on images to enlarge.

Information from: ‘WWII Magazine’ and ‘Too Young To Die’ by Bryan Cox. Another excellent resource you might wish to look into “Kiwi Air Power” by Matthew Wright.

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Military Humor – 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Earl Baugh – Searcy, AR; US Navy, WWII, SeaBees

Avadon Chaves – Modesto, CA; US Army, Iraq, Spc., 1/6/2nd Brig. Combat Team

Raymond Debenham – Kalapol, NZ; RNZ Navy # 14075

RNZAF Airtrainers perform farewell flight

David Fail – Manawatu, NZ; RNZ Air Force # 412665, WWII

Bruce McCandless – Boston, MA; US Navy, Cuba, pilot / NASA, astronaut

Peter O’Donnell – Auckland, NZ ; RNZ Air Force # M83478

Bryan Raos – Te Kauwhata, NZ; RNZ Air Force # 459204, Flight Lt.

Robert Scott – Linwood, NZ; RNZ Air Force # 414822, WWII

John Sweeney – Auckland, NZ; RNZ Air Force # 452589, WWII

Jerry Yellin – Newark, NJ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 78th Fighter Squadron, P-51 pilot

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New Zealand Minesweepers Sink an Enemy Sub – Intermission Story (19)

Kiwi attacking the I-1 submarine

A story I failed to locate from 1943.

By early 1943 the ships of the New Zealand minesweeping flotilla were patrolling along the Guadalcanal coast. The Americans had landed successfully, but Japanese land, air and sea forces held footholds and were still contesting the islands. Although the destroyers of the nocturnal ‘Tokyo Express’ were still active, the Bird-class ships’ usual targets were small craft and submarines attempting to land troops and supplies.

Lt.Cmdr. Peter Phipps, HMNZNS Moa

On the night of 29 January Kiwi and Moa were patrolling along Kamimbo Bay, on the north-western corner of Guadacanal, when Kiwi detected a submarine. It made a depth charge attack, but then lost contact. Kiwi continued to attack and on its third run, the damaged submarine surfaced and attempted to fight it out.

On paper it was two-to-one, but the Japanese sub I-1 was a formidable opponent. At 2135 tons surfaced, the Type J1 class were one and a half times bigger than Moa and Kiwi combined. Undamaged, the sub could outrun them by about five knots. The I-1’s 140-mm gun had greater range and hitting power than the New Zealand ships’ 102-mm guns, and it also had powerful torpedoes. No wonder that to the Kiwi’s crew in the dark, the Japanese shells sounded ‘like an express train going through’.

Lt. Comdr. Gordon Brisdon, HMNZNS Kiwi

In confined waters the Kiwi’s commander, Lieutenant-Commander Gordon Brisdon, decided to get in close to negate some of the sub’s advantages. But that meant braving a hail of fire from light-calibre weapons. Japanese machine-guns bullets sprayed the Kiwi, mortally wounding Acting Leading Signalman C.H. Buchanan. In pain and bleeding, he remained at his post, lighting up the sub for the gunners with his searchlight.

With a crunching sound, the Kiwi rammed the I-1 right behind the conning tower. Locked together, the vessels continued to blaze away at each other with light weapons. Twice more Brisdon pulled his ship away from the huge submarine only to ram it again, badly damaging his opponent and crumpling his own bows. When Kiwi’s main gun overheated, Moa took over, chasing the submarine until it ran aground on a reef.

The wreck of Japanese sub I-1

This information comes directly from the New Zealand history website.  By clicking on the links additional information can be acquired.

Critical codes remained on board the submarine and the Japanese command tried unsuccessfully to destroy the boat with air and submarine attacks.  The US Navy reportedly salvaged code books, charts, manuals, the ship’s log and other secret documents.

I-1 sub’s deck gun, now sitting in Torpedo bay Navy Museum.

The sinking of the Japanese submarine was only one of the contributions made by New Zealand to the defeat of Japan in the Pacific. The sinking of I-1 remains one of the proudest moments in New Zealand naval history.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Alto ‘Bud’ Adams – St.Lucie County, FL; US Navy, WWII

Colin Bennett – Gisborne, NZ; RNZ Air Force # 46820, WWII

Allan Cameron – Taranaki, NZ; RNZ Army # 459507, WWII, SSgt.

Vivian King (102) – New Plymouth, NZ; 27 NZ(MG)BTN # 42512, WWII, Sgt.

John Pay – Hawkes Bay, NZ; RNZ Air Force, WWII, PTO

Henry ‘Joe’ Sargeant – Auckland, NZ; RNZ Navy, WWII

Harry Dean Stanton – W.Irvine, KY; US Navy, WWII

Bruce Stott – Auckland, NZ; RNZ Navy # 10517, WWII

Hugh Turnbull (103) – Wellington, NZ; British Army ONZM # 129228, WWII, artillery

Jason Woodworth – Kea’au, HI; US Army, 11th Airborne Division

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Soldiers’s Stories & Kiwi Air Power

Soldier's Stories

Soldier’s Stories

One day I happened across a blog written by Myra Miller and I stopped in for a visit.  Ms. Miller and her family were compiling stories from WWII to be published soon.  I was invited to submit one of Smitty’s letters – and I most certainly took her up on her offer!

Myra Miller PhD.

Myra Miller PhD.

Smitty’s Letter X, Jungle Juice was accepted and now, appears on pages 286-288.  I received my copy right before Christmas!  The timing could not have been better.

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The volume: Soldiers stories: A Collection of WWII Memoirs is out on the stands!  This 317 page historical collection honors our Greatest Generation veterans, both male and female soldiers, from theaters of operations around the world.  They will grab and transport you into the past and once you are there – you witness the tears, the laughs, the success and the failures which created a complete transformation of this world of ours.

The design is by Myra Miller and the illustrations by Ken Miller which make up a handsome edition to anyone’s library.  My copy is a welcomed addition to mine.

If you wish a copy for yourself, please visit Myra’s site HERE!  It is also available through Barnes and Noble.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Also, I downloaded a copy of Matthew Wright’s Kiwi Air Power, that he was graciously offering to us free of charge [and will be doing so again in the future] and can be found on Amazon.  You can also download a copy from Matthew Wright’s blog by clicking on the book cover, located HERE!

Matthew Wright, author

Matthew Wright, author

Right up front, Mr. Wright informs the reader that he will show the how and the why of the New Zealand’s Air Force.  The rather rough start, their combat and now, their continuation – rather than the what.

Mr. Wright’s writing expertise together with personal remarks from the men themselves, you can visualize all they supplied in men and machines to support England in the war, some airmen serving with the RAF, and on into the Cold War.  You read about the political struggles and strength of will that prevailed.

I am enjoying my copy very much and suggest anyone interested in history – quick – get a copy for yourself!

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Holiday Humor – fb_img_1482158893635

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Farewell Salutes – 

William Anderson – Jones County, GA; US Navy, WWII, Korea & Vietnam, Sr. Chief (Ret.)

Robert Caplan – Knoxville, TN; US Navy, WWII

The Big Picture...

The Big Picture…

Thomas Corbett – Dorchester, MA; USMC, WWII, USS Bennington

Kenneth Fransen – Sun City, AZ; US Army, Korea

Thelburn Knepp – Peoria, IL; US Army, WWII, ETO, 89th Infantry Division

Bruce Linzy – Gay, FL; US Army, Company C/1st Batt./87th RCT

John Murray – Bronx, NY; US Air Force

Julian Parrish – San Diego, CA; USMC, Vietnam, 1st Force Recon, Colonel

Robert Thamm – NY & FL, US Navy

Don Witherspoon – Lamar, SC; US Army, Korea, 9th Reg./2nd Infantry Division, Silver Star

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Two Bloggers Tackle WWII – Book Reviews

"Surviving the Death Railway" by: Hilary Custance Green

“Surviving the Death Railway” by: Hilary Custance Green

About the book….

The ordeals of the POWs put to slave labour by their Japanese masters on the ‘Burma Railway’ have been well documented yet never cease to shock. It is impossible not to be horrified and moved by their stoic courage in the face of inhuman brutality, appalling hardship and ever-present death.

While Barry Custance Baker was enduring his 1000 days of captivity, his young wife Phyllis was attempting to correspond with him and the families of Barry’s unit. Fortunately these moving letters have been preserved and appear, edited by their daughter Hilary, in this book along with Barry’s graphic memoir written after the War.

Surviving the Death Railway’s combination of first-hand account, correspondence and comment provide a unique insight into the long nightmare experienced by those in the Far East and at home.

The result is a powerful and inspiring account of one of the most shameful chapters in the history of mankind which makes for compelling reading.

About the author, Hilary Custance Green…

Hilary Custance Green

Hilary Custance Green

Hilary Custance Green has BAs in Fine Arts (UEA) and Sculpture (St Martin’s School of Art) and spent twenty years sculpting. In 1993 she graduated with an Open University BSc in Psychology and spent fifteen years working in brain science, gaining a PhD in Cognitive Psychology from Cambridge in 1999.
She has had three novels published and has spent six years researching this book. 
Born in Malaya in 1915, Barry Custance Baker married Phyllis, a fellow Cambridge graduate in 1939. Barry joined the Royal Corps of Signals and this book records his experiences as a POW. After gaining his freedom, they had three more children post-war. Barry stayed in the army until 1959, then took up teaching. Phyllis filled her life with voluntary work and the theatre.

Hilary Green’s blog can be located HERE!

"Pacific War" by: Matthew Wright

“Pacific War” by: Matthew Wright

In December 1941, Japan attacked the British Empire and the United States, turning the European war that had raged since 1939 into a global conflict. For a few desperate months during early 1942, the Kiwis faced a deep crisis. Australia had its own threat to face. Britain was stretched to the utmost against Germany, and the United States — with millions still unemployed — took time to turn its huge industry to war production.

Despite a heavy commitment to the European war, New Zealanders eventually fought the Japanese on land, sea and air, from Malaya to the Solomons and, finally, in Japanese home waters. Kiwis also contributed in many other ways, providing bases and recreation facilities for US forces, food for the whole campaign, even sending physicists to work on the atomic bomb project.
This was not easy. New Zealand had heavy commitments in North Africa and Europe. Even after the crisis of 1942 had passed, the country struggled to find the resources to keep air force, navy and army operating in the Pacific. New Zealand’s land component was finally withdrawn in 1944 after ongoing manpower issues reached crisis point — an issue that soon became entwined with Pacific politics and New Zealand’s role in the war. This book focuses on the army contribution and the politics that surrounded it; but we must not undervalue New Zealand’s ongoing and long-term air and naval campaigns in theatre. The navy, in particular, took a front-line role from the beginning of the Pacific struggle in December 1941 to the very last actions of the war in August 1945.

About the author..

Matthew J. Wright

Matthew J. Wright

I’m a New Zealand writer. My main interests are in the sciences – physics, particularly, though I’m deeply curious about a lot of stuff, especially the human condition. I have qualifications in writing, music and anthropology among other fields, and hold multiple post-graduate degrees in history. I’m also a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society at University College, London. However, I don’t define myself as a historian and prefer not to be labelled as one.

I write a lot. I published my first short story in 1976 and since the early 1980s have worked professionally as a writer, historian, journalist, reviewer, and in media relations. My publications include more than 550 articles, academic papers, reviews and over 50 books on topics ranging from travel guides to biography, engineering, military and social history. I’ve been published principally by Penguin Random House.

Matthew Wright’s blog can be located Here!

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TWO OTHER BOOKS ON THE WAR WILL BE HIGHLIGHTED IN A FEW WEEKS.

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February 1944 (1)

93rd SeaBees on Nissan Island

93rd SeaBees on Nissan Island

1 February – Operation CATCHPOLE (operations against Eniwetok and Ujelang Atolls in the Marshall Islands) is begun to occupy and defend Eniwetok Atoll.  This will furnish a striking base for operations against the Marianas. During the operation, the 7th Air Force aircraft operating from newly acquired bases in the Gilbert and Marshall Islands neutralized airfields in the Marianas and continued to pound by-passed airfields in the Marshalls.

1-4 February in an effort to reinforce Nissan Island, in the Green Islands, enemy submarines I-185 and I-169 left Rabaul carrying troops.  Due to heavy seas, only 77 soldiers made it to shore and the boats returned to their base with the remainder of the reinforcements.

USMC-II-32 (473x640)

1-8 February – In the Marshall Islands, Kwajalein Atoll would cost 372 American casualties and the islands of Roi-Namaur totaled 737.  After 8 days of battles, the Japanese had 11, 612 casualties.

4-25 February – in Burma, the Japanese 55th Div., led by Gen. Hanaya Tadashi, counterattacked the British XV Corps, under LtGen. Christison, in Operation Ha-Go.  By going around the east flank on the 6th, they overran the 7th Indian Div. HQ.  Gen. Slim brought up the 26th Indian Div. and moved the British 36th Div. into support.  The West African 81st was in the Kaladan Valley parallel.

Gen. Wingate 3,000 re-formed and re-trained Long Range Penetration Unit – Chindits – crossed the northern Burma border.  The 7th Indian Div. encircled by the enemy received air drops of food and ammo and continued to fight the Japanese, who were dependent upon the whatever supplies arrived by land route.  By the 24th, the Allied troops finally dislodged from Ngakyedauk Pass.  The Japanese and one element of the 5th Div. were now cut off from the other two.

10 February – the US Marines landed on Arno Atoll.   USMC P-40s and Navy fighters made a dive-bomb attack on Vunakanau Airfield, B-25’s made a follow-up bombing.  P-39’s hit the buildings at Bonis and barges at Matchin Bay and near Green Island.

12 February – the Australian 8th Brigade on New Guinea met up with the US troops at Saidor.  At this point, only 60 miles of coastline in northern Huon Peninsula remained in Japanese control.

New Zealand troops on Nissan Island

New Zealand troops on Nissan Island

15 February – Operation Squarepeg began when the ships of the 3rd Amphibious Force put the 3rd New Zealand Infantry Division on Nissan and smaller islands in the Green Island sector.  Five NZ soldiers were KIA on Sirot Island.  This put them half-way between Bougainville and New Ireland, making it strategically possible to by-pass some enormous enemy garrisons.  Plans for the Philippines could now proceed without the previously expected loss of life.

SeaBees and equipment come ashore on Nissan Island.

SeaBees and equipment come ashore on Nissan Island.

The US Navy 93rd SeaBees would later land and battle for the muddy atoll to produce roads and essential airstrips on Nissan.  The Catalina “Black Cats” would move in and PT units set up on Barahun Island.  Within weeks a steady stream of supply ships, Cassiopeia, Harper, Talbot, Unicoi and others will rendezvous with smaller vessels to ship the matériels through the shallow channel.

To be continued….

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – a9

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Farewell Salutes – 

John Ahlemeyer – Broad Channel, NY; US Army, Vietnam

Michael Herr – Syracuse, NY; Vietnam War Correspondent and authormohnblume-b-lis

Fritoso Lopez – Fayetteville, NC; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 11th Airborne Division

Henry Mezzack – Perkinsville, VT; US Army Air Corps/AF, WWII, KOrea, Lt.Colonel (Ret. 26 years)

Gladys Roche – Fitchburg, MA; US Navy WAVE, WWII

John Saini – Healdsburg, CA; USMC, WWII, PTO, Pfc, KIA (Tarawa)

Ron Sheppard – Manawatu, NZ; 6th Field Reg., gunner # 8000468, WWII/ RNZAF # 76980, Sgt.

Kenneth Troutman – Independence, MO; US Navy, WWII

Basil Williams – Auckland, NZ; RNZ Air Force # 412776, WWII, POW

Keith Williams – Visalia, CA US Army, Afghanistan, 4th Infantry Div., Pfc, KIA

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January 1944 (2)

Pappy Boyington, famed rebel leader of the Black Sheep Squadron

Pappy Boyington, famed rebel leader of the Black Sheep Squadron

3 January – Greg “Pappy” Boyington commanded 46 fighters, flying from Ondonga, to Rabaul.  Several needed to abort due to mechanical failure.  From 20-24,000′ they dove to intercept 27 Zeros of the 253 Kokutai, while they were already confronted with 27 Zeros of the 204 Kokutai.  Boyington’s F4U 17915 and his wingman F4U 02723 were shot down and both men were listed as missing.

New Britain

New Britain

4 January – the ‘Snooper Squadron’ of the 13th Air Force flew their first mission. Fifteen B-24’s, escorted by 70 or more P-38’s and US Navy F6F’s bombed Lakunai Airfield, near Rabaul, on New Britain.  The enemy sent 80-90 fighters to intercept.  The US claimed 20 enemy aircraft downed and lost one B-24 and 2 damaged.  Twelve other aircraft supported ground troops on Bougainville.

Marines on Cape Gloucester

Marines on Cape Gloucester

6-9 January – Australian troops at Cape Gloucester in northern New Britain experienced heavy fighting on these 3 days as they advanced to the Aogiri River.  By the 9th, they had taken the Aogiri Ridge.

11 January – US B-24 Liberators made a Low-level attack on Japanese shipping around Kwajalein Atoll.  They sank 2 vessels and damaged 4 others.  The carrier aircraft would continue bombing in preparation for Operation Flintlock for the Marshall Islands.  This area comprises 32 island groups, the largest being Kwajalein that consists of some 100 islets that form a lagoon 66 miles long and 20 miles wide.

Gen. Adachi at Buna, New Guinea

Gen. Adachi at Buna, New Guinea

On New Guinea, 9 days after the US landed at Saidor, Gen. Adachi was back in Madang, but the 14,000 troops he sent ahead on foot, would not reach him until 1 March.  More than 4,000 men of the Japanese 20th and 51st divisions had died enroute.  Between the terrain, shortage of supplies and American strafing, they were ill-equipped to fight for the town.

Japanese Sgt. Eiji Lizuka, 51st Div., survived the journey: “We passed many dead and dying soldiers.  As we had no fresh uniforms or shoes we would strip the dead and take theirs.  Sometimes we took clothes and boots from men who were still alive, but could no longer move, and we said to them, ‘You don’t need such fine shoes any more.’  They would watch us with dull eyes and let us do anything.  We even took water canteens from them.  That was the worst, to hear a soldier say, ‘Don’t take my canteen away from me, I’m still alive.”‘

In Burma, 36 A-36’s, P-51’s and P-40’s of the 10th Air Force, pounded an encampment of approximately 4,900 enemy troops and a large amount of supplies, causing considerable damage.

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Men of the 10th Air Force, 7th Bombardment Group

13 January –  in China, two B-25’s of the 14th Air Force made a sweep from Hong Kong to Hainan attacking 4 large boats, several warehouses, a radio station and a car at Fort Bayard, China.  One of the vessels exploded.
15 January – on New Guinea, the Australian troops took Sio, which put them 50 miles from the American troops at Saidor.  The Japanese on the Huon became disorganized as the Australians took over the Finiesterre Range in the northern sector of the peninsula.

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Matariki Maori Festivals – 

The Pleiades star cluster.

The Pleiades star cluster.

No Matariki Maori festival can be official with out a Haka.  This particular dance was performed to honor a veteran….

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Military Humor – 

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Farewell Salutes – 

George Bellamy – Nelson, NZ; RNZ Navy # 4342, WWII, Signalman

Samuel Christie – Atlanta, GA; US Merchant Marine, WWII

Margraten Cemetery, Netherlands

Margraten Cemetery, Netherlands

Leonard Irons – Ormeau, AUS; RNZ Expeditionary Force # 41691, WWII, 27th Battalion, POW

Henry Logan – Sleepy Hollow, NY; US Air Force, intelligence

Edward McAleer – Chelmsford, MA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 188th/11th Airborne Division

Michael Norin – Los Angeles, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, cryptographer

Maurice O’Connor – Auckland, NZ; RNZ Army # 21089, WWII, gunner, Anti-Tank Regiment

Benjamin Prange – Hickman, NE; US Army, Afghanistan, SSgt., 4th Infantry, KIA

Glen Stockton – St. Joseph, MO; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, pilot

Paul Tully – Short Hills, NJ; US Army, WWII

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ANZAC Day

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In honor of the Australian and New Zealand soldiers who have fought in numerous wars for their freedoms and the rights of others; 25 April is the designated date for memorial ceremonies and tributes.

ANZACs hard at work

ANZAC’s hard at work

There are ceremonies for the ANZAC’s and there are other poems, but I believe this says it all…

Ode of Remembrance

ShowImage - CopyThey shall grow not old, as we are left grow old;ShowImage - Copy (2)
Age will not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.
 
 

Gone but not forgotten

Gone but not forgotten

The Spirit of ANZAC

The Spirit of ANZAC

Remembrance

Remembrance

Click on images to enlarge.

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If you have the time – Please visit my past post for the Anzac Centenary and others.  Besides these, you could add ANZAC DAY to your Tags on your Reader pages to honor these troops. 

https://pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com/2015/04/25/anzac-centenary/

From Su Leslie ____

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2016/04/23/six-word-saturday-aucklands-wwi-dead-lest-we-forget/

From John’s Storybook ___

https://johnsstorybook.wordpress.com/2016/04/22/anzac-day/

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Farewell Salutes –

Dick Beitler – Berne, IN; US Army, WWII, PTO

Mark Briggs – (Memoriam) – NZ Army, WWI, WIA

U.S Forces Honor Guard to honor all those that served for our freedoms in every war.

U.S Forces Honor Guard to honor all those that served for our freedoms in every war.

Donald E. Cook – Princeton, IL; US Navy, Korea, USS Columbus, Underwater Demolition Team

Gary Hardman – Newcastle, AUS; RA Navy, Vietnam, HMAS Paramatta, Ibis & Torrens

Alfred Hudson – NZ; RNZ Navy # C/SSX16068, WWII, ETO

James Lang – Hunter, AUS; RA Army, Vietnam

Carl Mankey – N.E. IN; USMC, WWII, PTO, 2 Purple Hearts

Francis Queenin – Puhinui, NZ; NZ Air Force # 34677, driver

Marquerite Schouten – Wairarapa, NZ; British Army # W/315535, Cpl.

Frank Streather – Sydney, AUS; RA Air Force, WWII, 452 Squadron

Honore Wright – Tauranga, NZ; WWII, ambulance driver

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October 1943 (2)

Location of Hai Phong.

Location of Hai Phong.

26 October – in the CBI Theater, the 10th Air Force,  71st Liaison Squadron, US Army Forces,  transferred from Ramgarh to Ledo, India with L-4’s and L-5’s.  The 14th Air Force, 13 B-24’s and 15 P-40’s pounded railroad yards at Hai Phong, Indochina (now called Vietnam).  Two B-25’s attacked several vessels at Kiungshan, claiming 4 sunk or badly damaged; later 6 more B-25’s hit shipping nearby, claiming 1 freighter sunk.   Kiungshan Airfield was strafed by one of the B-25’s.

Showing islands involved.

Showing islands involved.

27 October – the 13th Air Force’s B-24’s pound Kahili and Kara airfiels.   The Allies over over Kahili claimed three Zekes shot down.  The P-38’s, P-40’s, and P-39’s, plus some RNZAF P-40’s and P-39’s, covered the landing by New Zealand troops on Stirling and Mono. The fighters claimed destruction of twelve enemy dive bombers attacking the landing force and afterwards claimed three fighters shot down.

Falamai village, by Russell Clark

Falamai village, by Russell Clark

 The 8th NZ Brigade made ²/³ of the landing party on the Treasury Islands. (US Marines made up the balance).  The 250 Japanese defenders fought to the death ; only 8 of the enemy were taken.  Falamai village, Mono Island, the location of the Japanese HQ, was captured early in the campaign.

As a prelude to “Cherryblossom”, US Navy Task Force 31 bombarded the village area prior to the Allied landing by the New Zealand Army and US Navy 87th Construction Battalion “Seabees”, Company A under the command of Carl J. Mitchell landed at “Purple Two Beach”. Japanese opposed the landing from coconut log bunkers and with mortar fire from two hills inland from the beach, and with snipers in the village.

A mortar shell hit an ammunition dump on the beach, causing a large explosion and wounded Seabee Herb Bodine, who was evacuated. Other mortars his food dump and another hit one of the LSTs. After the area was secured, the village huts were bulldozed, and road construction began. That night, Japanese aircraft attempted to bomb the landing force, but were ineffective.

27 October – The 5th Air Force intercepted an escorted Japanese bomber force dropping supplies over the Sattleburg area; the US fighters claimed 12 airplanes downed. A-20’s hit the harbor and supply dump area at Gasmata.  The US lost the B-24D “Shack Rat” near Nadzab, New Guinea.

Operation Blissful began with the US 2nd Marine Para Battalion landing on Choiseul Island.  This campaign would hopefully divert enemy attention from Bougainville.

New Zealand brigade landing

New Zealand brigade landing

To read more of this island’s campaign and the command of Pvt. Joe Smith – CLICK HERE!

The USS Cony was attacked by Japanese aircraft while covering a landing.  The following are excerpts from the shipboard diary of the rear gunner, Stanley Baranowski:

“27 Oct – … at 3:oo PM got contact with a lot of planes – enemy… at 3:15 they came at us.  So many of them.  We started to fire everything we had… 3:25 we got 2 direct hits on port and starboard… Lots of men were hit.  Worked on fires.  Was up all night taking care of wounded.

“28 Oct – Still working on fires… we started to throw ammo over the side.  Ship was listing to port… 11:15 AM port engine gave out.  Tug came along and started to tow us.  12 PM fire was out.  1 PM moored to taker “Oragon” and took off wounded men.

“29 Oct – Got up at 6:30 AM.  Worked like hell and at 1:35 PM took off 2 dead fellows burned to death – what a horrible sight.  Admiral came on board to look things over, said it’s a State-side job and at 5:30 PM a show started named – ‘Accidents Will Happen.’”

USS Cony

USS Cony

31 October  – Lieutenant H. D. O’Neil of VF(N)-75, operating from Munda, New Georgia, flying a radar equipped F4U-2 destroyed a Betty during a night attack off Vella Lavella, the first kill by a radar-equipped night fighter of the Pacific Fleet.  Major T. E. Hicks and Tech Sergeant Gleason from VMF(N)-531 provided ground-based fighter direction.

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Military Humorous Mags – 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Alfred Abramczyk – Philadelphia, PA; US Army, WWII

Jack Blanchfield – Tacoma, WA; US Army, WWII, PTO, 96th ‘Deadeyes’, Bronze Star

William Camire – Lake Worth, FL; US Air Force0083f165f66161f63454e92890403bcd

Jack Foote – Thames, NZ; NZ Army # 261006, 5th Field Artillery

Raymond Hoffman – Cochrane, CAN; RC Army, WWII, Calgary Highlands

Charles Isaacs – San Jose, CA; USMC, WWII, PTO

John Lasater – Durham, NC; US Navy, WWII

Jack Parish – Washington, IA; US Navy, WWII

Leonard Thuro – Rahway, NJ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 188th Medical/11th Airborne

Warren ‘Buzz’ Whitmore Jr. – Fairfax, VA; US Air Force, Vietnam, Warrant officer, KIA

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Waitangi Day

Treaty-Of-Waitangi

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For those who are unaware, the significant date marks 176 years since the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, when representatives of the British Crown met with more than 500 Maori chiefs in Waitangi, Northland, to sign what is considered to be New Zealand’s founding document.

Each year in Tauranga, local kaumatua and kuia (elders), supported by rangatahi (young people) and clergy from community church groups, have joined together on Waitangi Day for a dawn service.

In some places around New Zealand, other re-enactments are done as a form of education to younger people of all heritages. Festivals and concerts dominate some centres, and the remaining people tend to soak up the summer weather along the many beaches of New Zealand.

On 6 February, at dawn, a service with a haka (Maori ancestral dance) will be performed at Mount Drury, NZ.

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The service starts with a karakia (blessing) by tangata whenua (people of the land) followed by a community service and open forum, giving participants an opportunity to share their thoughts about Waitangi Day.

Click on images to enlarge.

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New Zealand Military Humor – 

 

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September 1943 (3)

Australian troops with a 25-pounder

Australian troops with a 25-pounder

Picture by Roy Cecil Hodgkinson and courtesy of Rant Foundry.

19-26 September – American and Australian forces continued to close their ring around the port at Nadzab, New Guinea.  The Japanese command withdrew some troops to defend Lae, but this action was too late.  The enemy retreated towards Sio as the Allies advanced.  On the 22nd, Lae fell into Australian hands and the enemy was forced to take the only route out, over the mountains to the north coast. (See map below).

The Australian Infantry Battalion of the 9th Division made an amphibious landing north of Finschhafen.  They were met by a counterattack of 5,000 Japanese troops who failed.  Finschhafen would be captured 2 October.  US aircraft continued to hit the enemy airstrip at Wewak; more than 60 aircraft were destroyed on the ground, while offshore, 6 enemy ships were sunk.

14th NZ Brigade at Vella Lavella

14th NZ Brigade at Vella Lavella

 

20-24 September – New Zealand forces cleared the island of Vella Lavella of all Japanese oppositions.  This allowed operations to begin from the newly acquired airfield as air coverage for the North Solomon Island campaigns.

limpet mine, attached by magnets

limpet mine, attached by magnets

26-27 September – 6 Australian Special Force men, led by Major Ivan Lyon, used canoes under cover of darkness to penetrate the enemy shipping at Singapore harbour.  They placed limpet mines on select vessels; 2 enemy transports sunk and 5 others were damaged.

The swift and powerful momentum of the Allies in capturing the Huon Peninsula of New Guinea gave them a jumping-off base to invade New Britain.  This alarmed the Japanese command at Rabaul at the other end of the island.  The enemy garrison on Bougainville (300 miles to the southeast) was all that stood between the main Japanese base in the South Pacific and the other wing of Allied advance.

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Japanese Imperial General Headquarters reversed their plans once more by ordering Imamura’s reserve troops to hold Bougainville and made it the Japanese priority.  The Japanese Combined Fleet was ordered to assist in this operation, but Admiral Koga was already planning to meet the Americans in the Central Pacific.  He moved to Eniwetok and ended up arriving too late to prevent the US landing on Bougainville. (This will be discussed in future posts).

Click on images to enlarge.

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Please Remember Them – image025

President Nixon ordered a cease-fire for midnight 27/28 January 1973 – and our men started coming home!!!!  Please remember those who did not…..

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Military Humor – 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Robert Bold – Chaseley, ND; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, navigator/Morse Code

Helen Castellano – Peekskill, NY; NY Military Academy, nurse (Ret. 22 years)Lonely_candle

Stan Emiec – Williamstown, NJ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 188th/11th Airborne Div.

Albert Gutierrez – Miami Beach, FL; USMC, Kuwait, Major, KIA

William Hiatt – Denver, CO; US Army, Colonel, Surgeon

Christopher Buck Johnson – Alva, OK; US Army, Vietnam, helicopter pilot, Purple Heart, Bronze Star

Joseph Mazza – Pittsburgh, PA; US Navy, WWII, USS Wichita, medical

John Rowlands – W.AUST; British Army, WWII, 20th King’s Hussars

Edward Stapela – Waterloo, IA; US Army, WWII

James Whyte – Tauranga, NZ; RNZ Army # 240826, WWII

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