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Research essay
Report on historical sources on Australia and Japan at war in Papua and New Guinea, 1942-45
Professor Hank Nelson

SCOPE

The violence of the Second World War came to New Guinea in January 1942 and it stayed until the Japanese surrender on 15 August 1945. At that time there were still over 145,000 Japanese troops and auxiliaries in New Guinea. The guarding, provisioning and repatriation of the Japanese troops continued until after the last trial of war criminals on Manus in 1951. The relevant period could therefore be over a decade, but to conform to the 1942–45 dates, and because the war crimes trials constitute a separate topic, just brief consideration will be given to the immediate postwar years.

There are always ambiguities when writing about “New Guinea”. As a geographic entity the island of New Guinea in 1942 was made up of three political units: Dutch or Netherlands New Guinea in the west, the Australian Mandated Territory of New Guinea in the north-east, and the Australian Territory of Papua in the south-east. The north-east had been a German colony, it was occupied by Australian forces in 1914, and became an Australian territory after Australia was awarded a mandate to administer the area in 1920. The south-east of New Guinea, previously British New Guinea, was formally transferred to the Australian Commonwealth in 1906 when it became the Territory of Papua. In January 1942 the two Australian territories were separately administered, so the east of New Guinea was then the Australian Territories of Papua and New Guinea. When the two civil administrations were replaced by military administrations in February 1942, two separate military units were set up (the Papuan Administrative Unit and the New Guinea Administrative Unit) but these were amalgamated in March–April 1942 into the Australian New Guinea Administrative Unit (ANGAU) (McCarthy 1959, p. 43, says 21 March; the ANGAU war diary records change on 10 April). At about the same time the Australian troops, whether in Papua or in New Guinea, became part of New Guinea Force. Under military rule all of Australian controlled eastern New Guinea was simply “New Guinea”: Papua remained in particular titles, e.g. Royal Papuan Constabulary. From October 1945 to June 1946 eastern New Guinea was returned progressively to provisional civil administration. The Provisional Administration of the Territory of Papua-New Guinea continued until the Papua and New Guinea Act came into force in 1949. Under that act there was to be an administrative union known as the Territory of Papua and New Guinea, but the administrative convenience did not expunge the separate status of Papua as a possession of the Crown and of New Guinea as a Trust Territory of the United Nations. In 1971 the Australian administration dropped “Territory” and the “and” from the title so that the Territory of Papua and New Guinea became just “Papua New Guinea”. It was as “Papua New Guinea” that eastern New Guinea became an independent nation in 1975.

As a result of these nominal changes the following terms are all specific in time:
The Territories of Papua and New Guinea (to Feb 1942)
New Guinea (1942–45 including both Papua and New Guinea within the military administration)
The Territory of Papua-New Guinea (1945–49)
The Territory of Papua and New Guinea (1949–1971)
Papua New Guinea (1971 onwards).

It is therefore not surprising that anachronistic terms are often applied to eastern New Guinea. In this report “Papua New Guineans” will sometimes be used to refer to the peoples of eastern New Guinea during the Second World War, a term not used until the 1970s. During the war “New Guinea” may apply to the whole island of New Guinea, the Mandated Territory of New Guinea, or all of eastern New Guinea. The context should make clear which of these three is intended.

While the report concentrates on eastern New Guinea, some Australians fought in Dutch New Guinea, particularly those in the RAAF who operated from bases within Dutch New Guinea as well as flying missions over the area. Dutch New Guinea was certainly significant for the Japanese: there were still some 26,000 Japanese there after the surrender in 1945. The report refers to Dutch New Guinea only where there is some continuity of operations across the border and where Australians were involved.

Although the report is on Australian and Japanese sources there are references to material from the United States and New Zealand. This is because these two nations generated basic material, provide other perspectives on events, and because troops from these two countries often acted with Australians. For example, the New Zealand pilots flying from Torokina and Jacquinot Bay frequently supported Australian ground troops and attacked targets identified by Australians. In the fighting around Buna and Gona at the end of 1942 Australian and American ground troops and air forces were all engaged. In the battle of the Coral Sea, so critical for Australia, the majority of the Allied ships were American, but both Australian and American navies and air forces were involved and aircraft were using Australian land bases.

This is a survey of available material and is not, of course, intended to be comprehensive. But the section on recent autobiographical writings by Australians who fought in New Guinea has been done thoroughly to illustrate points made in the accompanying notes about the frequency and diversity of these reminiscences.

Except where they seemed particularly apt or filled an obvious gap most journal articles have been omitted.

PUBLISHED SOURCES

BIBLIOGRAPHIES

General bibliographies of Australia and Japan are reasonably well known and of marginal relevance, but bibliographies of Papua New Guinea give greater space to the war and are less familiar to readers. An ethnographic bibliography of New Guinea, 3 vols, produced by the Department of Anthropology and Sociology, Australian National University, Canberra, 1968, is still a basic reference in spite of its age. More recently A. Butler, (compiler), A New Guinea bibliography, University of Papua New Guinea Press, Waigani, vol. I, 1984, vol. II, 1985, vol. III, 1986, vol. IV, 1987, vol. V, 1990, has become the most comprehensive work. The Papua New Guinea national bibliography, National Library, Waigani, has since 1990 included only material published in Papua New Guinea. Until 1989 the annual listing was also concerned with writings by Papua New Guineans abroad, and by any publications that were about Papua New Guinea. Before the Papua New Guinea national bibliography began publication in 1981, the University of Papua New Guinea produced a New Guinea bibliography. The New Guinea in that title then covered both the east and the west of the island.

The bibliography held at the desk in the research centre in the Australian War Memorial is in ring binders and kept up to date. Its utility is partly dependent on whether there is a heading for the topic of enquiry. Subjects of popular enquiry – as expected – are most likely to have a list of relevant books and articles.

Specialised bibliographies have been noted where most relevant. For example, Syd Trigellis-Smith et al., A bibliography of Australian unit histories is included with unit histories. The bibliographies that are integral to scholarly works are often the most useful as they are directed towards particular topics, e.g. those included in David Horner, High command; John Garrett, Christianity in Oceania since World War II; and Chris Coulthard-Clark, Action stations Coral Sea. Such bibliographies attached to relevant monographs supplemented by computer searches are likely to be quicker and more productive than comprehensive published bibliographies.

OFFICIAL HISTORIES

The Australian and Japanese official histories are obviously basic published sources. Apart from the Australian volumes on the three services concerned with war at sea, on land and in the air, there are important sections in the Civil Series. For example, in Paul Hasluck, The Government and the people 1942–1945, there is an extensive appendix by A.J. Sweeting, “Civilian wartime experience in the Territories of Papua and New Guinea,” pp. 668–708. D.P. Mellor in The role of science and industry, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1958, comments on malaria control, weather forecasting and mapping in New Guinea. Mellor is a reminder of the fact that the war stimulated much practical science in New Guinea. The wartime mapping, much of it based on aerial photography, provides an under-exploited database for present studies of population movements, land use and the natural environment. In the medical series several of the volumes by A.S. Walker are relevant. As expected The island campaigns, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1957, contains much information: consistent with the Australian commitment to operations in the near north, fifteen of the sixteen chapters are about Papua New Guinea. There are particularly valuable sections on the Kokoda campaign, including the work of the Papuan carriers, and on malaria and the feared disease of scrub typhus. In Clinical problems of war, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1952, the first completed of the medical series, Walker provides more material on diseases and wounds. Gwen Jacobson in Walker’s Medical services of the RAN and RAAF, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1961, has an easily overlooked contribution noted in an addendum to the title: with a section on women in the army medical services. As New Guinea was the major overseas posting of many of the women this is a significant five chapters. On pages 451–5 there is one of the few readily available accounts of the army nurses captured in Rabaul and shipped to Japan as prisoners of war.

Forty years after Walker’s death and thirty-seven years after the publication of the last of the official medical histories, Walker’s volumes remain the most comprehensive survey of the treatment of the wounded and of disease in wartime Papua New Guinea. As the evacuation of the wounded on the Kokoda Track was so difficult and so significant in creating one of the enduring images of the Second World War – the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angel – and the anopheles mosquito inflicted more casualties than the Japanese this is surprising. Gavin Long, The six years war: a concise history of Australia in the 1939–45 war, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1973, is an excellent summary of the Australian official histories.

The Japanese official histories available in translation and held at the AWM are included under private records. For example MSS 0708: the database entry reads: “Title: Japanese war history – naval operations. Description: translated copy of part of the Japanese war history, naval operations, Volume 1, South-East Asia, Titled ‘Till the start of the recapturing operations of Guadalcanal’. Describes Rabaul and Kavieng operations, and the attack on Sydney Harbour by submarines” (from AWM Private Records Database).

The American official histories are more numerous and varied than the Australian series. The naval histories, History of United States naval operations in World War II, written by S.E. Morison in his vital, individual style, include much general information. volumes II–VI and VIII are concerned with the war in New Guinea waters. Because of the structure of the US forces and the nature of the US naval war in the south-west Pacific, the naval volumes include much about the air war. In Coral Sea, Midway and submarine actions May 1942 – August 1942, Little Brown and Company, Boston, 1949, Morison gives an early and American perspective on the battle of the Coral Sea; the battle of the Bismarck Sea is covered in Breaking the Bismarck’s barrier 22 July – 1 May 1944, 1950. The US naval volumes provide detail on amphibious landings, whether by US forces as at Torokina and Manus or by Australians as at Finschhafen. Of the ten volumes of The United States Army in World War II concerned with battles in the Pacific, S. Milner, Victory in Papua, Office of the Chief of Military History, Washington, 1957, is primarily about Buna; J. Miller, Cartwheel: the reduction of Rabaul, 1959, covers the advances to Nassau Bay, the Markham and Huon Peninsula, Bougainville, New Britain, Nissan, Manus and Emirau; and R.R. Smith, The approach to the Philippines, 1953, includes the landing at Aitape and the battle of Driniumor River. H.I. Shaw and D.T. Kane in History of US Marine Corps operations in World War II: isolation of Rabaul, vol. II, Historical Division, US Marine Corps, 1963, give an account of those operations to the east of the New Guinea mainland – the advance north into Bougainville and New Britain in 1943 and 1944 – where the Marines were most involved. W.F. Craven and J.L. Cate, The Army air forces in World War II, The Pacific: Guadalcanal to Saipan August 1942 to July 1944, vol. IV, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1950, follows the operations of the American army pilots until the air war in New Guinea was largely taken over by Australians and New Zealanders.

Several of the American technical services have their official histories: e.g. Office of the Chief Engineer, General Headquarters, Army Forces Pacific, Engineers of the South-West Pacific: 1941–1945, vol. I, 1947, Engineers in theater operations, vol. VI, 1951, and Airfield and base development, vol. VIII, 1951, US Government Printing Office, Washington; and see also Karl C. Dod, The technical services, the corps of engineers: the war against Japan, Office of the Chief of Military History, Washington, 1966. By using the volumes on the American technical services it is possible to build up a picture of the material impact of the war on Papua New Guinea: the building of roads, airports and workshops and the transport and storage of thousands of tons of material. The Australian official histories do not provide the same information on the infrastructure of war. Among the American volumes on broad strategy, Louis Morton, The war in the Pacific, strategy and command: the first two years, Office of the Chief of Military History, Washington, 1962, is clearly of interest. The nearly forty volumes of the Medical Department of the US Army in the Second World War are not easily used for readers concerned with place rather than specific medical topics. The impact of malaria on Americans in the Buna campaign, for instance, is in Preventive medicine in World War II, vol. VI, communicable diseases: malaria, Office of the Surgeon General, Department of the Army, Washington, 1963, a volume dealing with American encounters with malaria throughout a world war.

The New Zealanders’ role in the air war in New Guinea – mainly the advance north from the Solomons to Bougainville and New Britain – is presented by J.M.S. Ross, Official history of New Zealand in the Second World War 1939–45: Royal New Zealand Air Force, Department of Internal Affairs, Wellington, 1955. The movement north of New Zealand ground forces out of the Solomons to Nissan is covered by O. Gillespie, The Pacific, Department of Internal Affairs, Wellington, 1952. New Zealand also published volumes of documents, and while these have marginal relevance, they do help explain the circumstances in which troops were sent to the Solomons, and why the New Zealanders chose to do much more fighting in north Africa and Europe rather than in the Pacific: R. Kay, Documents relating to New Zealand’s participation in the Second World War 1939–45, vol. I 1949, vol. II, 1951, and vol. III, 1963, Department of Internal Affairs, Wellington. Two battalions of the Fiji Defence Force, with close links with the New Zealanders, fought on Bougainville, and one Fijian, Corporal Sikanaivalu won a Victoria Cross. R.A. Howlett, The history of the Fiji military forces 1939–1945, Crown Agents for the Colonies, London, 1948; and Asesela Ravuvu, Fijians at war, South Pacific Social Sciences Association, Suva, 1974, have accounts of the Fijians on Bougainville in 1943 and 1944.

While there is no Australian equivalent to the American and New Zealand volumes of documents on political decisions and strategy, the series Documents in Australian foreign policy 1937–49 meets some of the same needs. The first in the series is R.G. Neale, (ed.), Documents in Australian foreign policy 1937–49 vol. 1: 1937–38, Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra, 1975. In terms of Australia–Japan relations it is an appropriate starting point. A memorandum prepared by Australian officials for the delegation to the Imperial Conference in 1937, stressed the change that had just taken place. A year ago, the officials said, the desirable policy had been one of “accommodation and neighbourliness”, but now Japan had made an agreement with Germany; it had become involved in “unpleasant incidents”; it had built fortifications in the Pacific; and it had proclaimed the merits of the “southward advance” policy (p. 52). J. Robertson and J. McCarthy have edited a collection of documents: Australian war strategy 1939–1945: a documentary history, University of Queensland Press, Brisbane, 1985. See also the works by D. Horner below.

Because of the different nationalities involved and histories written from the perspectives of various services and units, a researcher starting work on events in a particular area may well have ten official volumes to consult. For example, in the Allied assault on Lae in September 1943, Long 1973 would be an appropriate starting volume. The army, navy and air series all have relevant material: David Dexter, The New Guinea offensives, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1961; G.H. Gill, Royal Australian Navy, 1942–1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra; and George Odgers, Air war against Japan 1943–1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1957. A.S. Walker 1957 deals with the medical problems. The American service volumes (Miller 1959, Morison 1950, and Craven and Cate 1950) also provide much detail. Unlike the Australian volumes some of the American histories include a bibliographical essay listing the major documentary and published sources: Miller 1959 gives a guide to further research on Lae.

Where there has been considerable writing on the official historians of the First World War, particularly on C.E.W. Bean, there has been little on official historians of the Second World War. The 22 volumes of the Australian histories of the Second World War constitute a sustained work of scholarship, and as the final volume (Hasluck 1970) was published twenty-eight years ago, it is certainly time for a comprehensive reassessment of the planning, selection of authors, aims and achievements of the official historians. The brief prefaces by some of the authors are illuminating and tantalising e.g. Walker 1950, Dexter 1961, and Hasluck 1970 – they indicate something of the process of the writing and the working relationship with Long, but the authors say little of the assumptions that underlie their works or of the major themes they had wanted to illuminate.

The diaries and despatches of the official war correspondent, Kenneth Slessor, have been published, but they are more concerned with the campaigns in North Africa, Greece and the Middle East than New Guinea: see C. Semmler, (ed.), The war diaries of Kenneth Slessor: official Australian correspondent 1940–1944; and The war despatches of Kenneth Slessor, University of Queensland Press, Brisbane, 1985 and 1987.

The ANZAC Book compiled from writings of members of the 1st AIF set a precedent of anthologies of writings from serving men and women. The first of the large format, well-illustrated (often by official war artists) books from the 2nd AIF was Active service, published in 1941. Later volumes included material from soldiers in New Guinea, and the other services produced their own volumes. At least ten of these books, common in second-hand bookshops, include writing about the war in New Guinea. They are listed in As you were, Australian War Memorial, 1957.

GENERAL HISTORIES

Jeffrey Grey, A military history of Australia, Cambridge University Press, Melbourne, 1990, effectively compresses the war in the Pacific into a chapter, and attaches a bibliographic essay and brief biographies. Note, too, a further bibliographic essay: J. Robertson and J. Grey, “Australian and New Zealand Writing on the Second World War”, in J.Rowher (ed.), New research on the Second World War, literature surveys and bibliographies,(from the series Schriften der Bibliotek fr Zeitgeschichte, Stuttgart, 1990. Apart from G. Long’s The six years war there are several one volume histories. Three are: J. Costello, The Pacific War, Collins, London, 1981; E.G. Keogh, South-West Pacific 1941–45, Grayflower Productions, Melbourne, 1965; and J. Robertson, Australia at war 1939–1945, Heinemann, Melbourne, 1981. J. Barrett, We were there: Australian soldiers of World War II, Viking, Melbourne, 1987, is based on a survey of ex-servicemen and illuminates soldier reflections forty years after the event. Mark Johnston, At the front line: experiences of Australian soldiers in World War II, Cambridge University Press, Melbourne, 1996, should be read with Barrett. Of several encyclopaedias and popular multi-volume series (e.g. Peter Charlton, War against Japan, 1941–1942, from Time-Life Books Australians at war, Sydney, 1988), P. Dennis et al., The Oxford companion to Australian military history, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 1955, is accessible and reliable.

UNIT HISTORIES

Syd Trigellis-Smith et al., Shaping history: a bibliography of Australian army unit histories, privately published, 1996, with its brief note on each book and its inclusion of several unpublished compilations, is an excellent tool. It lists other guides to unit histories, including the one held at the desk in the Australian War Memorial.

The unit histories continue to be written. Ron Jackson, The broken eighth: a history of the 2/14th Australian Field Regiment, Clipper Press, Melbourne, was published in 1997, and is an example of a unit history based closely on unit diaries. It is also concerned with an unusual meeting: the 2/14th served in Rabaul from September 1945, and its members, having recently been in action against the Japanese, were brought into direct contact with their enemy of a few weeks earlier.

Most unit histories give an account of the men who came into the unit on its formation, and follow them through training, travel, first combat, leave, re-equipping etc. The official histories give a few sentences on the origins and previous experience of selected units only. For example, a researcher wanting to know about those Australians who fought the Japanese on the Kokoda Track is given an introduction to the two untried militia units that first met the Japanese, the 39th and 53rd battalions, in McCarthy 1959, pp. 44–5. McCarthy praises the 39th but condemns the 53rd in and out of battle. In what is perhaps the strongest terms used against an Australian unit by an official historian, the 53rd was said to be “badly trained, ill-disciplined and generally resentful.” V. Austin in To Kokoda and beyond: The story of the 39th Battalion 1941–1943, Melbourne University Press, 1988, adds greatly to the group portrait of the 39th. Personal diaries, reminiscences and reports of the time are exploited to give an account of training, waiting, the first encounter with a Japanese prisoner, and battle. The history of the 55/53rd, the combined battalion that took in many of the 53rd, (F.M. Budden, That mob: the story of the 55/53rd Australian Infantry Battalion, AIF, privately published, 1973) is not as detailed and draws on a narrower range of sources. The men of the 53rd deserved the chance to say more in their own defence and for their experiences to be subjected to greater scrutiny. The battalions entering the fighting later on the track are given little or no introduction by McCarthy. The 3rd battalion that got excited, began “yelling and whooping” and broke through the Japanese near Templeton’s Crossing, are almost without identity (McCarthy 1959, p. 273). But the 3rd was another militia battalion, and it was recruited on the southern highlands, from Crookwell and Mittagong to Cooma and into the Snowy Mountains. Colin Kennedy has told the story of the 3rd in Port Moresby to Gona Beach: 3rd Australian Infantry Battalion 1942, privately published, 1942 (and see Hogan 1992 in the list of personal reminiscences). The first of the 2nd AIF troops (members of the 21st brigade) entered the Kokoda fighting at the end of August 1942. The shift north, the leadership, the orders and the tactical situation facing the brigade are clearly presented in the official history. But again, to find out who the men were, it is necessary to turn to the unit histories of the three battalions, the 2/14th (from Victoria), the 2/16th (Western Australia) and 2/27th (South Australia). John Burns, The brown and blue diamond at War: the story of the 2/27th Battalion AIF, 2/27th Battalion Ex-Servicemen’s Association, Adelaide, 1960, is an example of a well-written unit history scrutinised – as many are – by a battalion committee before publication. Formed in 1940, having done its initial training at Woodside and then being on the edge of the fighting in North Africa before going into action in Syria, the 2/27th entered the Kokoda campaign with a history contrasting with that of the militia battalions who went up the track with little training and no experience of battle.

Most of the unit histories of the 2nd AIF infantry battalions, with the success of some of the 1st AIF unit histories setting a precedent, are comprehensive histories. Implicitly and explicitly they indicate the significance of the New Guinea experience within the context of a unit’s entire war. The 2/17th Battalion, which finished the war in Borneo, suffered nearly twice as many casualties in North Africa (Tobruk and El Alamein) than it did in New Guinea (Lae, Finschhafen, Jivevaneng, Kumawa and along the north coast to Sio); but, the unit historians conclude:
Physically, the campaign was the most severe that the Bn had ever endured. The long marches through the humid jungle, the nerve-racking fighting at close quarters, the days on end of incessant rain ... and the inadequate food were reflected in the thin faces and lean frames of the troops when they landed at Brisbane on 9 Mar 1944.
(What we have we hold: a history of the 2/17 Australian Infantry Battalion 1940–1945, 2/17 Battalion Association, Sydney, n.d., p. 283.)

Just under 100 pages from the 300 pages given to the unit’s campaigns, are devoted to training for and fighting in New Guinea. The history of the 2/6th (D. Hay, Nothing over us: the story of the 2/6th Australian Infantry Battalion, Australian War Memorial, 1984) reflects a greater significance for New Guinea. Although the battalion fought in North Africa, Greece and Crete, it suffered more deaths in its two campaigns in New Guinea (Wau to Komiatum and Aitape into the Torricellis).

The Pacific Islands Regiment was not, like some colonial forces within the British Empire, established separately in the colony: the PIR was a unit of the Australian Army. Created first as the Papuan Infantry Battalion in 1940, the three New Guinea Infantry Battalions were formed later, and all were combined within the PIR. A sixty-page booklet, Yesterday and today: an illustrated history of the Pacific Islands Regiment from its formation ... was printed in Port Moresby in 1970, and subsequently two unit histories have been published: G.M. Byrnes, Green shadows: a war history of the Papuan Infantry Battalion ..., privately published, 1989; and James Sinclair, To find a path: the life and times of the Royal Pacific Islands Regiment, vol. I, Yesterday’s heroes 1885–1950, Booralong, Gold Coast, 1990. Hank Nelson has written two articles: “As Bilong Soldia: The raising of the Papuan Infantry Battalion in 1940”, Yagl-Ambu, 7:1, 1980, pp. 19–27; and “Hold the good name of the soldier: the discipline of Papuan and New Guinean battalions, 1940–46,” Journal of Pacific History, 15:4, 1980, pp. 202–16. Sinclair begins with a history of the Royal Papuan Constabulary and the New Guinea Police Force, but does not write in detail on the police in the war. August Kituai in a doctoral thesis, “My gun, my brother: experiences of Papua New Guinea policemen 1920–1960,” Pacific and Asian History, Australian National University, 1994, has a chapter on the police in the war, but both the Royal Papuan Constabulary and the Papuans and New Guineans who served as medical assistants still lack comprehensive histories of their work in the Second World War.

Few units that fought in New Guinea have histories written by trained historians. There are not many equivalents to Joan Beaumont, Gull Force: survival and leadership in captivity 1941–1945, Allen and Unwin, Sydney, 1988; or Peter Henning, Doomed battalion: mateship and leadership in war and captivity, the Australian 2/40 Battalion 1940–45, Allen and Unwin, Sydney, 1995. Margaret Barter, Above battle: the experience and memory of Australian soldiers in war 1939–1945, Allen and Unwin, Sydney, 1994, on the 2/2nd Battalion, is an exception. The trained historians pose questions and gather evidence about memory and differences between officers and other ranks that are not of overt concern to many unit historians, but this is not to diminish the value of the other unit histories. Most are careful reconstructions, include nominal rolls, and in their appendices provide significant documents and statistics. The 2/17th history is particularly useful as it has a section on the postwar unit association, and an explanation of the writing of the unit history. Spread over forty-five years, the gathering of information and the appointment and replacement of authors is a saga in itself. The final product is the work of four sectional editors, reworking drafts, filling in gaps, gathering material contributed through the association newsletter and from a battalion member with access to the records in the AWM. The result is good research and good prose.

Unit histories of the main 2 AIF infantry battalions are almost complete – the 2/25th that fought on the Kokoda Track, Lae and Nadzab seems to have no history of its own – and other units with battle experience such as the artillery and the independent companies (except the 1st in New Ireland etc.) are also common. David Horner, The gunners: a history of Australian artillery, Allen and Unwin, Sydney, 1995, has an excellent bibliography. But histories of other army units are more random. Some of the problems of writing on a unit recruited in different states and dispersed in battle are apparent in John Bellair’s well-written history, From snow to jungle: a history of the 2/3rd Australian Machine Gun Battalion, Allen and Unwin, Sydney, 1987. The 2/3rd was formed in four states: A Company in South Australia, B in Victoria, C in Tasmania and D in Western Australia. The four separate histories of training only come together on the ship carrying the unit across the Indian Ocean. In battle in Syria the machine gunners were used in support of various units and various nationalities. On the way back to Australia most of the gunners were diverted to Java where they were captured and became prisoners of war. The minority who reached Australia were reinforced and retrained before going into action in New Guinea. Again the machine gunners were deployed, sometimes at just platoon level, in support of other units. The unit historian therefore has the ex-members living in several states and the unit history fragmented by time and place.

Eric Feldt, The coast watchers, Oxford University Press, 1946, is about a function rather than a unit because while the coastwatchers as an organisation were within the RAN, individuals belonged to different services and units and were united by having the same task. One of the first postwar books about the war in New Guinea, The coast watchers has been reprinted several times and remains an illuminating study about events away from major battles. Two books to be read in conjunction with Feldt are: A. Powell, War by stealth: Australians and the Allied Intelligence Bureau 1942–1945, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 1996, giving a broader context; and G.B. Courtney, Silent feet: The history of Z Special Operations 1942–1945, Austin, Melbourne, 1993, on a related group. Alex Perrin, The private war of the spotters: a history of the New Guinea Air Warning Wireless Company February 1942– April 1954, published by NGAWW, 1990, is a useful addition to the writing on those who watched, listened and reported. See biographies for other coastwatcher material.

Neville Lindsay, Equal to the task, vol. I: The Royal Australian Army Service Corps, Historia Productions, Brisbane, 1992, covers several wars and many campaigns and cannot be expected to provide the information in American support service volumes, but it does have material on New Guinea supply routes – including a little on the Pack Transport Companies that used horses at the southern end of the Kokoda Track and in the Wau–Bulolo area.

The medical and women’s units are listed in the Trigellis-Smith bibliography. They come together, of course, in several books, such as Joan Crouch, A special kind of service: the story of the 2/9 Australian General Hospital 1940–46, Alternative Publishing Co-operative, Sydney, 1986. With her quotes from many of her fellow nurses, Crouch makes interesting observations on the hospital at the Seventeen Mile – out of Port Moresby. In January 1943 the 2/9th had over 4000 admissions, mostly sick, wounded and exhausted soldiers from the end of the Buna–Gona fighting. See Jan Bassett, Guns and brooches: Australian army nursing from the Boer War to the Gulf War, Oxford, Melbourne, 1992, for a general bibliography, and Rupert Goodman, Our war nurses: the history of the Royal Australian Army Nursing Corps 1902–1988, Boolarong, 1988, for a footnoted chapter on the nurses in New Guinea. A book easily overlooked by those with an interest in New Guinea is Ray Connolly and Bob Wilson eds, Medical soldiers: 2/10 Australian Field Ambulance 8 Div. 1940–45, published by 2/10 Australian Field Ambulance Association, 1985: one detachment of the 2/10th was sent to Rabaul in 1941. Ellen Kettle, concerned with nursing in New Guinea, provides an account of those civilian and mission nurses who had a war come to them, and includes a brief summary of service nurses: That they might live, privately published, 1979.

The story of the dispersed members of the Salvation Army serving tea, running Red Shield huts, or conducting church services, may be placed with unit histories. Walter Hull, compiler, Salvos with the forces, The Salvation Army, 1995, gives 100 pages to the war in New Guinea and draws heavily on contemporary reports, many from The war cry.

The RAAF and the RAN are not as well served by unit histories as the army, or at least not as well as the infantry battalions. But the 75th anniversary production of the RAAF Historical Section, Units of the Royal Australian Air Force: a concise history, 10 vols, Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra, 1995, provides an excellent comprehensive survey. It begins with base and supporting units (vol.. I), continues through fighter units (vol. II), bomber units (vol. III) through to ancillary units (vol. IX) and a bibliography in (vol. X). The summary of each unit includes, of course, both peace and war, so that in the fifty-plus-year history of a unit established early in the Second World War, just a brief outline can be given to operations in New Guinea. At the end of each unit entry there are references to published squadron histories. An impediment to the writing of RAAF unit histories is that air force recruits may have done initial training, elementary flying and service flying together, and developed a group or “muster” sense, but that was diminished on posting to various operational squadrons. Many pilots subsequently passed through several squadrons: in the course of the war well-known New Guinea fliers such as J. Lerew, L.D. Jackson, and P. Jeffrey served in three or four operational squadrons as well as holding ground and instructor posts. For these reasons, plus the separation of functions within a squadron, squadrons have generally not had the strong sense of coherence felt by those soldiers who went into a battalion on its formation, and trained and fought in that one battalion. Less than half the squadrons that flew operations in New Guinea have their own histories, and some of these are just brief commemorative pamphlets. The No. 24 (city of Adelaide) Squadron jubilee 1940–1990 squadron history is 32 pages, has many photographs and includes the postwar period: those dramatic days in January 1942 when 24 was the front line squadron in Rabaul and the flying in New Guinea from 1942 to 1944 are given just brief notes.

Jack Riddell, Catalina squadrons: first and furthest, recounting the operations of RAAF Catalinas May 1941 to March 1943, privately published, 1992, is a modest but useful introduction to the early air war in the south-west Pacific. The fighter squadron,75 Squadron, that was operating out of Port Moresby in the critical period after March 1942, has been covered more fully than most RAAF units in New Guinea. Soon after the war the squadron’s equipment officer, A.E. Church, wrote, They flew alone, Frank Johnson, Sydney, no date. David Wilson has written two accounts: Jackson’s few: 75 Squadron RAAF, Port Moresby, March/May 1942, privately published, 1988; and The decisive factor: 75 & 76 Squadrons – Port Moresby and Milne Bay 1942, Banner Books, Melbourne, 1991. W. Deane Butcher, Fighter squadron doctor: 75 Squadron Royal Australian Air Force New Guinea 1942, privately published, 1990, is an unusual book – an account of a period of intense air war by the squadron doctor. And there are chapters in other books and articles, and a film (44 days) on the squadron.

Two books on other fighter squadrons in New Guinea are: Norman Medew, Up north in forty three: the story of a fighter squadron in the island war, privately published, 1989; and James Harding, (compiler), It had to B.U.: the life story of 80 Squadron RAAF, Chandos, Melbourne, 1996, which follows the squadron from the Sepik to west New Guinea and then to Tarakan. George T. Dick, Beaufighters over New Guinea: No. 30 Squadron RAAF 1942–1943, Royal Australian Air Force Museum, Point Cook, 1993, is well researched and covers a significant period in the air war.

Norm Smith and Frank Coghlan, Secret action of 305: The story of RAAF radar station No. 305 in the war with Japan, 1989, is another product of the Royal Australian Air Force Museum at Point Cook. Located on Goodenough and the Trobriand Islands, the unit’s experiences can be compared with those of the army spotters (see Alex Perrin 1990). The commanding officer of 305 Radar Station from October 1942 to March 1943 was Pilot Officer Bernard Katz. A refugee from Germany, Katz MD (Leipzig). PhD, DSc (London) was knighted in 1969 and shared the award of the Nobel Prize for physiology and medicine in 1970. (Did any other subsequent winner of the Nobel Prize serve in the Australian forces? Patrick White was in the RAF.) Don Brown, (ed.), in We were WMMs: the war of the airwaves – stories of RAAF wireless and radio mechanics, privately published, 1992, allows the men to record their own brief reminiscences of the war. (See also John Kingsmill 1994 for an autobiography of an RAAF radio operator.)

The Women’s Australian Auxiliary Air Force, the largest of the women’s services, remained within Australia during the war, but women in the RAAF nursing service were sent to New Guinea from November 1942. Gay Halstead, Story of the RAAF Nursing Service 1940–1990, privately published, 1994, has a section on the RAAF nurses overseas, including detail on the work of the Medical Air Evacuation Transport Units that operated out of Nadzab and elsewhere. The Women’s Royal Australian Naval Nursing Service was established in October 1942, and while its members had limited service overseas, eight worked in a Milne Bay hospital (“bamboo, palm thatched roof and no doors”) in 1944.

Although there is no naval equivalent to the guide by Trigellis-Smith et al. to army units or the Units of the Royal Australian Air Force, lists of the works of the Naval Historical Society of Australia, Garden Island and the Naval Historical Society, ACT Chapter, are useful starting points. The guide to unit histories held at the reference desk in the Australian War Memorial is a consolidated list. Some of the ship histories in the ACT Chapter of the Naval Historical Society are brief. For example, the publication on the Arunta, a destroyer active in New Guinea waters, is fifteen roneoed pages in a temporary binder, with five pages on the Second World War. Stan Nicholls, HMAS Shropshire, Naval Historical Society of Australia, Garden Island, 1989, is a substantial book. “Porthole” being a chronicle of the operations, experiences, and peregrinations of HMAS Shropshire in the Second World War, 1939–1945, John Sands, Sydney, 1946, is a large format souvenir style of publication brought out immediately after the war. But these two ship histories taken with Collins’ reminiscences (see below) mean there is considerable readily available writing on the cruiser that began operating in New Guinea waters at the end of 1943. M.A. Payne, HMAS Australia: the story of the 8 inch cruiser 1928–1955, Naval Historical Society of Australia, Garden Island, no date, is another detailed history of a ship involved in the operations from New Britain along the north coast of New Guinea. Mal (Doc) Williams joined the Kapunda at eighteen as a sick-berth attendant before the corvette went north to New Guinea in 1943. His is a personal account: HM Australian Ship “Kapunda”, Kapunda Association, no date.

Books on particular types of ships (R. Goodman, Hospital ships, I. Nesdale, Corvettes, H. Campbell, Corvettes,) and aircraft (Pentland, The P40 Kittyhawk, Minty, Black cats) add to the unit histories. Lloyd Rees, My ship is so small, Georgian House, Melbourne, 1946, is a well written tribute to “our little ships” and one regrets his book is so small.

A researcher wanting to go beyond the official histories on the history of Lae can exploit the references to units in the official histories, say, Dexter, then use Trigellis-Smith et al. to locate a relevant unit history, perhaps, G. Combe, F. Ligertwood and T. Gilchrist, The second 43rd Australian Infantry Battalion 1940–1946, 2/43rd Battalion AIF Club, Adelaide, 1972. The researcher could note that these South Australians had fought at Tobruk and El Alamein, and then follow their fortunes as they cross the Busu River and enter Lae. One unit history not to be overlooked is R.L. Henry, The story of the 2/4th Field Regiment ...., Merrion Press, Melbourne, 1950, because it was the 2/4th that parachuted into Nadzab with their 25-pounder guns.

BIOGRAPHIES, AUTOBIOGRAPHIES, MEMOIRS

Senior Officers
John Ritchie, (ed.), Australian dictionary of biography, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, is an excellent starting resource. Two relevant volumes, XIII (1993) and XIV (1996), covering from “A” to “Kel” have been published and others will be published in alphabetical sequence. P. Dennis et al. (eds) The Oxford companion to Australian military history, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 1995, is comprehensive, but more sparing in its suggestions of further reading. Both reference works are of particular importance when looking for information on those officers commanding brigades and lesser units, for example, some of the key commanders in the field on the Kokoda Track, A.S. Allen, R. Honner, and A.W. Potts, are men without biographies. Some of the gaps in the biographical record are about to be filled: David Horner is editor of the Australian Army’s military biography series, and the first of its twelve volumes is to be released soon. Honner and Potts are both in the twelve.

Several of the senior army commanders have books written about them rather than by them. S.F. Rowell, Full circle, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 1974, is therefore unusual, but Rowell is reticent about much of his personal life. David Horner in his biography, General Vasey’s war, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 1992, had access to Vasey’s letters to his wife, and while they are an important source and enrich the book, it has be said that Vasey did not write with wit and he was unable or reluctant to reveal sharp, fresh insights to his private or professional life. Horner’s bibliography to Vasey lists the biographies of other senior officers: Blamey, Dougherty, Herring, Mackay, Morshead. There are no biographies of Berryman, Bridgeford, Chilton, Clowes, Eather, Morris, Ramsay, Stevens, Sturdee and Wootten, all important at different times in the war in New Guinea. W.B. Russell, There goes a man, Longman, London, 1959, a biography of Stanley Savige, and J. Grey, Australian brass: a life of Lieutenant General Sir Horace Robertson, Cambridge University Press, Melbourne, 1992, are studies of men significant in operations in the final campaigns in the Sepik, on Bougainville and on New Britain. F. Kingsley Norris (No memory for pain: an autobiography, Heinemann, Melbourne, 1970) was Assistant Director of Medical Services 7 Division, subsequently Deputy Director of Medical Services on Kokoda and after.

H. Rayner (Scherger, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1984) has written about F.R.W. Scherger who commanded Australian and American air forces in north New Guinea, and went on to greater eminence in the RAAF. J.E. Hewitt, Adversity in success, Langate, Melbourne, 1980, is said on the dust jacket to be “extracts from Air Vice Marshal Hewitt’s diaries 1939–1945”, and the book has certainly benefited from the detail taken from diaries and letters, but they have been rewritten. George Jones, Chief of the Air Staff from May 1942, had a long life, but wrote a short book that gives less than ten pages to the war in New Guinea: From private to air marshall, Greenhouse, Melbourne, 1988. There is no book from the perspective of W.D. Bostock, Jones’ rival for RAAF authority. From the senior naval officers, (Crace Crutchely, Collins and Farncomb) John Collins has written As luck would have it: the reminiscences of an Australian sailor, Angus and Robertson, 1965, a book of many light anecdotes, but it does comment on his time in New Guinea waters in the Shropshire and the Australia. C. Coulthard-Clark has written about the battle of the Coral Sea from the perspective of Crace (see below).

The American biographies are dominated by the writings on and by Douglas MacArthur. William Manchester’s popular biography, American Caesar: Douglas MacArthur 1880–1964, Hutchinson, Melbourne, 1978, is easily read and has a full bibliography; but D. Clayton James, The years of MacArthur, vol. II, 1941–1945, Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 1975, is more accurate, gives fuller information on MacArthur in Australia and New Guinea, and has an excellent biographical note and full documentation. Two books by MacArthur, his Reminiscences, McGraw Hill, New York, 1964, and the Reports of General MacArthur, (ed. by C.A. Willoughby), vols I & II, United States Army, Washington, 1966, are obviously basic. G. Long makes a considered assessment of MacArthur’s relations with Australians: MacArthur as military commander, Angus and Robertson, Sydney, 1969. Most of the other senior officers have written their own accounts: Barbey, Eichelberger, Kenny, King, Krueger and Halsey.

Other Biographies
Personal testimonies about wartime experiences in New Guinea have been common, and just why Australians have chosen to write about New Guinea so often is unclear. Reminiscences by ex-prisoners of war of the Japanese are probably the only other Australian wartime autobiographies that are as numerous, but the intensity of the prisoners’ experience and the scale of their horror makes their determination to record their stories more explicable.

The first books of personal experience were published before the war ended and were affected by censorship and paper shortages. The boys write home, Consolidated Press, Sydney, 1944, a collection of letters from the Australian Women’s Weekly was not likely to include profound military insights, but there are revelations of attitudes:
Believe me, when this war is over, and its history written, there is one chap that should get a large share of the praise. He is the lowly “boong”....
Some of the earlier settlers that were here before the war would have the horrors at the way the Aussie soldier treats him.
They know that if they are wounded it will be the “boong” that will bring him [sic] back, so they share their cigarettes, tobacco and biscuits with him, say “Good day Mirrow,” to all and generally treat him as an equal or another ally. (p. 117)

The praise of Papua New Guineans began early, it was persistent, and those who expressed it were conscious of the change in attitudes from the pre-war period.

Perhaps the most influential piece of writing by a soldier serving in New Guinea was Sapper Bert Beros’s poem “Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels” published in the Courier Mail and the Women’s Weekly before coming out in a small collection: The Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels and other poems, Johnston Publishing, Sydney, no date. The poem was, Beros said, written on “14th October, 1942, at Dump 66, the first Range of the Owen Stanley.”

Other wartime books were Word from John: an Australian soldier’s letters to his friends, Cassell, Sydney, 1944, which covers North Africa and the Middle East as well as New Guinea; Bruce Robinson, Record of service: an Australian medical officer in the New Guinea campaign, Macmillan, Melbourne, 1944, is an account by a doctor who had graduated only in 1939; and Vern Haugland, Letter from New Guinea, Farrar and Rinehart, New York, 1943, is a survival story – Haugland, an American reporter, bailed out over New Guinea in 1942 and lived with villagers and missionaries before he was rescued. Two of the most substantial early reports were by the journalists George Johnston and Osmar White (see below for further note). Gordon Powell, Two steps to Tokyo: a story of the RAAF in the Trobriand and Admiralty Islands, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 1945, is an unusual book because it is by a member of the air force and a chaplain. Under the Atebrin moon: a haversack from New Guinea, Angus and Robertson, 1946, was published just after the war ended. Written by servicemen in the New Guinea Writer’s Club, its title is most evocative of soldiering in New Guinea, but nearly all contributors wrote about Australia or earlier campaigns.

Among the considered autobiographies Peter Ryan’s Fear drive my feet, Angus and Robertson, Sydney ,1959, has been republished many times and deserves its popularity. Ryan was just eighteen when he went forward to Bobs, a camp south of the Markham, and he spent much time in country where the Japanese had more men and influence than Australians. His prose and judgments are sharp, and he writes perceptively about the selfless and selfish actions of New Guineans who worked with him and against him. Ryan’s experiences place his reminiscences with those of New Guinea government officers and others who served with ANGAU, Z Special and the Coastwatchers:

J. Cooke, Working in Papua–New Guinea 1931–1946, privately published, 1983;
I. Downs, The last mountain: a life in Papua New Guinea, University of Queensland Press, Brisbane, 1986;
J.K. McCarthy, Patrol into yesterday: my New Guinea years, Cheshire, Melbourne, 1963;
M. Murray, Escape: a thousand miles to freedom, Rigby, Adelaide, 1965;
R. Stuart, Nuts to you!, Wentworth, Sydney, 1977;
G. Townsend, District officer: from untamed New Guinea to Lake Success, 1921–46, Pacific, 1968;
M. Wright, If I die: coastwatching and guerrilla warfare behind Japanese lines, Lansdowne, Melbourne, 1965.

Downs, McCarthy, Townsend and Wright were kiaps, government officers in the New Guinea field service, who subsequently served in the war. Cooke was working in private enterprise and was at Salamaua when he joined the NGVR. Murray and Stuart were both planters who became coastwatchers. Stuart’s uninhibited setting down of events in a turbulent, nasty war on Bougainville, Cooke’s unpractised writing but concern for the mundane, and the more crafted books of Ryan and the kiaps (accustomed to writing patrol reports and conscious of the literary tradition of the New Guinea frontier books) together give an evocative account of the war fought among Papua New Guineans on the land lying between the Allied and the Japanese armies.

Several of the journalists who were important in reporting the war (and creating lasting perceptions of it) published books. The first was: George Johnston, New Guinea diary, Angus and Robertson, Sydney, 1943. A handwritten diary on which the 1943 publication was in part derived was acquired by the National Library of Australia in 1980, and also published: George Johnston, War diary 1942, Collins, 1984. Garry Kinnane, George Johnston: a biography, Nelson, 1986, has placed George Johnston’s New Guinea experience in a wider context. Osmar White’s influential Green armour, Angus and Robertson, Sydney, 1945, was based on “four dog-eared notebooks”, a diary and dispatches. Geoffrey Reading (Papuan story, Angus and Robertson, Sydney, 1946), correspondent for the Daily Mirror, later claimed responsibility for calling the Kokoda Track the Kokoda Trail. Alan Wood (Flying Visits, Dennis Dobson, London, 1946) was a British journalist: as his book is also concerned with other campaigns, he brings a different perspective to the war in New Guinea. Nearly twenty years after the war Frank Legg wrote War correspondent, Rigby, Adelaide, 1964. An ABC radio reporter, Legg explains some of the complexities of making recordings with the equipment available from his appointment in 1943. Legg also wrote the first book about Damien Parer: The eyes of Damien Parer, Rigby, Adelaide, 1963. Two more books on Parer appeared together: Niall Brennan, Damien Parer: cameraman, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 1994; and Neil McDonald, War cameraman: the story of Damien Parer, Lothian, Melbourne, 1994. Based on wide research, McDonald has not only added to understanding of Parer, but to broad questions about the way the war was reported. Although McDonald does not have a bibliography, the notes to chapters are excellent condensed guides to sources.

As with the unit histories, several of the soldier autobiographies make or imply comparisons between war in New Guinea and elsewhere. For example: J. Bellair, Amateur soldier: an Australian machine gunner’s memories of World War II, privately published, 1984; C. Bennett, Rough infantry: tales of World War II, Warrnambool Institute Press, Warrnambool, 1985; K. Clift, The saga of a sig, privately published, 1972; Henry (“Jo”) Gullett, Not as a duty only: an infantryman’s war, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 1976; and Bob “Hooker” Holt, From Ingleburn to Aitape: the trials and tribulations of a four figure man, privately published, 1981. Autobiographies of particular interest to students of New Guinea are: David Selby, Hell and high fever, Currawong, Sydney, 1956 (Selby commanded the anti-aircraft guns on Rabaul in January 1942 and escaped along the south coast of New Britain); H.D. Steward, Recollections of a medical officer, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 1983, (Blue Steward was the doctor with the 2/16th Battalion on the Kokoda Track); Peter Medcalf, War in the shadows: Bougainville 1944–45, Australian War Memorial/Collins, Canberra, 1986 (Medcalf went to Bougainville in 1944 as a nineteen-year-old and he tried to say “exactly what it was like”); and T.A.G. Hungerford, A knockabout with a slouch hat: an autobiographical collection 1942–1951, Fremantle Arts Centre Press, Fremantle, 1985 (Hungerford is the author of one of the best novels about the war in New Guinea, The ridge and the river, 1952).

Michael Pate, Australian actor, in An entertaining war, Dreamweaver, Sydney, 1984, writes of his own experiences and of concert parties generally. Keith Smith, writer of comedy and broadcaster, spent most of his time in the 15th Field Ambulance before being transferred to a radio station in Lae close to the end of the war. In spite of – perhaps because of – his gag writing Smith says much about the attitudes of the ordinary soldier in New Guinea (World War II wasn’t all hell, Hutchinson, Sydney, 1988).

Apart from the senior officers few individual soldiers have attracted biographers. One of the few is T.C. “Diver” Derrick who won a VC at Sattelberg: M. Farquhar, Derrick VC, Rigby, Adelaide, 1982; another is Reginald Saunders, who fought two campaigns in New Guinea: H. Gordon, The embarrassing Australian: the story of an Aboriginal warrior, Lansdowne, Melbourne, 1982. Pilots, the “aces” of popular acclaim, have been more likely to have books written about them, and Ivan Southall’s, Bluey Truscott, Angus and Robertson, Sydney, 1958, is a recognition of a man “doubly idolised” as football and fighter pilot. John Balfe (... And far from home: flying RAAF transports in the Pacific War and after, Macmillan, Melbourne, 1985) was involved in less dashing flying, and he gives just half the book to the war, but he does make one of the most explicit, condensed statements on the change in attitudes after they learnt of Japanese atrocities:
Brave fighter though he [the Japanese serviceman] might be, he became something less than a man. He graded with the reptiles. Newton’s executioners forfeited for all Japanese the right in our minds to any feeling other than the revulsion with which one kills a snake. (p. 52)

Balfe had met W.E. Newton VC at a training school, and he other airmen were angry at rumours, then the confirmation, that Newton had been executed at Salamaua in 1943.

There is no book by an Australian pilot in New Guinea of the quality of the American Edward Park’s two books: Nanette, Andre Deutsch, London, 1977; and Angels twenty, University of Queensland Press, Brisbane, 1994. In novel and reminiscence Park has evoked the life and times of the young pilots of P–39 Airacobras in New Guinea. Among the seaman in New Guinea waters there has been no writing to equal that of Ray Parkin, chief petty officer on the Perth and later prisoner of war on the Burma–Thailand railway and in Japan. But then men with the exceptional talents and experiences of Parkin rarely come together. Parkin’s trilogy is: Out of the smoke (1960), Into the smother (1963) and The sword and the blossom, Hogarth, London, 1968. W.H. (John) Ross, “Lucky Ross”: an RAN officer 1934–1951, Hesperian, Perth, 1994, gives an eye-witness account of the sinking of the Canberra off the Solomons. B. Winter, The intrigue master: commander Long and naval intelligence in Australia, 1913–1945, Boolarong, Brisbane, 1995, outlines the life of the man who set up the coastwatchers and its footnotes are a guide to archival files. Kym Bonython, Ladies, legs and lemonade, Rigby, Adelaide, 1979 in his knockabout, patrician memoir gives just a couple of pages to flying Beauforts in torpedo attacks around Milne Bay. His fellow South Australian Geoffrey Dutton transferred some of his own RAAF encounters in Australia and Bougainville to the hero of the novel Andy, Collins, London, 1968 (slightly changed and republished as Flying low, University of Queensland Press, Brisbane, 1992). Having joined the air force at eighteen, Dutton spent several years in Australia and “After years of trying ... made it to the war just as it ended”: Out in the open: an autobiography, University of Queensland Press, Brisbane, 1994.

Wing Commander David Campbell turned some of his experiences into verse. His Men in green was first published in the Bulletin in 1943: it is “simply one of the best poems written about the war” (Carl Harrison-Ford, Fighting words, Lothian Melbourne, 1986, p. 275). Campbell also distilled recollections of Catalina and Hudson missions into short stories but with almost no distortion of actual events: Flame and shadow: selected stories, University of Queensland Press, Brisbane, 1976 (reprinted as Evening under lamplight, 1987). Eric Rolls used his soldier’s memory as the basis for some of his New Guinea poems: The green mosaic: memories of New Guinea, Nelson, Melbourne, 1977.

Of the missionaries who have written personal accounts of the war, two diaries are detailed: David Wetherell, (ed.), The New Guinea diaries of Philip Strong 1936–1945, Macmillan, Melbourne, 1981 (Strong was the Anglican bishop in Papua); and Patrick O’Reilly and Jean-Marie Sedes, Jaunes, noirs and blancs: Trois annes de guerre aux Iles Salomon, Editions du Monde Nouveau, Paris, 1949 (includes the diary of R.P. Poncelet, a Catholic missionary and Belgian national, who was captured on Bougainville and interned on New Britain). Bishop Leo Scharmack (This crowd beats us all, The Catholic Press Newspaper, Sydney, 1960), the head of the Sacred Heart Mission in Rabaul, wrote his account of internment at Vunapope and Ramale, and James Benson (Prisoner’s base and home again: the story of a missionary POW, Robert Hale, London, 1957) an Anglican has told his story of being captured in Papua (when other Anglicans were killed) and sent to internment with the Catholics at Rabaul. John Dawes, Every man for himself: the life of Father Edward Charles Harris MSC, ..., The Catholic Press Newspaper, Sydney, 1968, is an account emphasising the selfless devotion of Harris who was executed off the south coast of New Britain. Except for the books by the Freunds (see below), there has been much less writing in English by those missionaries on the north coast of New Guinea who faced the most hazardous conditions. In the south where mission stations were not occupied by the Japanese those missionaries who wrote of that period (P. Chatterton and A. Dupeyrat) or were written about (Bert Brown) have disclosed little about the war. Women missionaries have told something of their experiences (see below). The life of Ed Tscharke, Lutheran Missionary, Australian soldier and medical assistant, has been carefully and sympathetically researched by Ian Frazer (see below).

The following books were all published at least forty years after the end of the war. They are listed to indicate the continued, and almost certainly increased, production of memoirs. They are extraordinary in their variety, in the different ways in which memories have been reconstructed, and the many means and styles of publication. Some are published by the authors and bound by the simplest means; but others, also a result of the cottage industry in memoirs, are high quality productions. Several factors have come together to provoke and assist so many to record their stories. First, many fiftieth anniversary ceremonies, culminating in 1995, Australia’s year of remembering, stimulated much reflection on the Second World War. Few ex-servicemen could have evaded the questions of school students doing projects, the many return journeys of old soldiers to battlefields, the funds for community memorials, frequent public appearances of the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs (the “Minister for Nostalgia”), and the determination of the Prime Minister, Paul Keating, to bring the symbols of nationhood closer to home. Secondly, many of the ex-servicemen and women retired from full-time work in the early 1980s, encouraging them to reflect on their lives and giving them the time to write. Thirdly, the growth in the writing of family histories has resulted in pressure being put on those possessing the most significant of family memories to write them down. Tom Hogan begins his acknowledgments:
This book had its beginning in 1981, when I commenced to write my army memoirs. My daughter Elizabeth insisted that I should write down my war experiences for the benefit of my descendants.

His reminiscences then became part of a family history that includes the stories of the two brothers who fought on the Kokoda Track and of the one who stayed home to run the farm. Fourthly, the home computers and word-processing packages have put the typing, setting out and printing of a book within the reach of many people. G.A. Rudge has a customary acknowledgment to a typist: “Have you ever tried to read my writing? Thank you Pauline.” But a surprising number of elderly people have learnt to put words on screens, edit and format.

Where many of the immediate postwar memoirs were by soldiers who had exceptional experiences, several of these are by people who were not in combat units: John Kingsmill was a radio operator at ground stations for the RAAF, G.A. Rudge was a medical assistant working mainly among Papua New Guineans, Peter Jones was a driver in the Australian Army Service Corps, Bill Marks was a cook, A.C. Craig was with a radar station, Underwood and Bowman were both nurses, and the army taught Roy Sibson some of the crafts of the blacksmith and he took those skills to New Guinea. Olwyn Green is a wife writing about her marriage and her soldier husband. Harold and Dorothea Freund, missionary husband and wife, tell their separate stories. The stock of reminiscences now cover experiences not covered in the official histories, and some of the books bring a tone to them that was not common in the immediate postwar period. Peter Jones, as his title, The reluctant volunteer, implies, avoids dashing heroics, and tries to be accurate about the attitudes of soldiers in battle. He was also concerned with accuracy during the war itself for he confesses that he wrote to the Minister for Army explaining that the Minister was wrong to say in 1943 that the Ninth Division “was straining at the leash”, eager to fight the Japanese. The Minister did not write to acknowledge the reservations of a truck driver in the Service Corps. Deane-Butcher’s careful account of being a squadron medical officer in New Guinea is noted above in the unit histories. Peter Pinney’s three volumes are diaries lightly reshaped to turn them into novels. Little known in Australia, Bryan Cox’s memories of a nineteen-year-old pilot, covers much of Royal New Zealand Air Force fighter operations from Green Island, Torokina and Jacquinot Bay. Karl Shapiro, American poet and critic, published in Meanjin and other Australian magazines while he was serving in a medical unit in Australia and New Guinea, and recalled those days in his autobiography.

The scholar concerned with that hypothetical study of the battle of Lae has a variety of personal studies to exploit – from Peter Ryan who patrolled the area in advance of the assault, to David Horner’s careful evaluation of Vasey’s part in the battle, and to MacArthur’s pronouncements. MacArthur quotes the observation of General Pershing, his “old and beloved commander” of the First World War: “It is not often given to a commander to achieve the ideal of every general – the surrounding and annihilating of his enemy” (Reminiscences, p. 179). MacArthur does not tell the reader the ideal had not been achieved: far from being annihilated most of the Japanese had escaped into the Finisterre Range. The testimony of high and low needs to be read with intelligent scepticism.

LIST OF MEMOIRS

Baker, Alf (Blackie), What price bushido? privately published, 1992.
Baskett, Geoffrey, Islands and mountains, privately published, no date.
Blazely, Ivan, Boots and all, privately published, 1990.
Bowman, Alice M., Not now tomorrow: Ima nai ashita, Daisy Press, Bagalow, 1996.
Cox, Bryan, Too young to die: the story of a New Zealand fighter pilot in the Pacific War, Century Hutchinson, Auckland, 1987.
Craig, A.C., Where birds of paradise fly, privately published, 1993.
Deane-Butcher, W., Fighter squadron doctor: 75 Squadron Royal Australian Air Force New Guinea 1942, privately published, 1990.
Fraser, Ian, God’s maverick, Albatross, Sydney, 1992.
Freund, A.P.H., Missionary turns spy, Lutheran Homes Incorporated, Adelaide, 1989.
Freund, Dorothea, I will uphold you: the memoirs of Dorothea M. Freund, ne Ey, Lutheran Publishing House, Adelaide, 1985.
Gomme, Brian, A gunner’s eye view: a wartime diary of active service in New Guinea, privately published, 1997.
Green, Olwyn, The name’s still Charlie, University of Queensland Press, Brisbane, 1993.
Hamlyn-Harris, Geoffrey, Through mud and blood to victory, Fast Books, Sydney, 1993.
Henderson, James, Onward boy soldiers: the battle for Milne Bay, 1942, University of Western Australia Press, Perth, 1992.
Hogan, Tom et al., From Grabben Gullen to Kokoda, privately published, 1992.
Hooper, Alan E., Love, war & letters PNG 1940–45, Robert Brown & Associates, Coorparoo, 1994.
Jackson, Donald, Torokina: a wartime memoir 1941–1945, Iowa State University Press, Ames, 1989.
Jones, Peter J., The reluctant volunteer, Australian Military History Publications, Loftus, 1997.
Kingsmill, John, No hero: memoirs of a raw recruit in World War II, Hale and Iremonger, Sydney, 1994.
Marks, Bill, The fall of the dice, Fremantle Arts Centre Press, Fremantle, 1991.
Nelson, Hank (ed.), The war diaries of Eddie Allan Stanton: Papua 1942–45, New Guinea 1945–46, Allen and Unwin, Sydney, 1996.
Olson, William Robert, The years away, Wordspec, Canberra, 1993.
Park, Ted, Angels twenty, University of Queensland Press, Brisbane 1994.
Pearson, Arthur, Brothers, battlers and bastards, Boolarong, Brisbane, 1995.
Pinney, Peter, The barbarians: a soldier’s New Guinea diary, University of Queensland Press, Brisbane, 1988.
Pinney, Peter, The glass cannon: a Bougainville diary 1944–45, University of Queensland Press, Brisbane, 1990.
Pinney, Peter, The devils’ garden: Solomon Islands war diary, 1945, University of Queensland Press, Brisbane, 1992.
Raggett, Sidney George, All about Sid: the story of a gunner in World War II, privately published, 1991.
Raxworthy, Richard (ed.), Soldiering on in Papua New Guinea: 9th. Australian Field Ambulance (AIF) 1939–45, privately published, 1993.
Rolleston, Frank, Not a conquering hero, privately published, 1984 and 1995.
Ross, James Campbell, My first seventy years, privately published, 1991.
Rudge, G.A., Halfway to the sun, Ruse Publishing, Camden, 1989.
Shapiro, Karl, Poet: an autobiography in three parts, vol. I, The younger son, Algonquin Books, Chapell Hill, 1988.
Sibson, Roy, My life as I saw it boots “n” all, privately published, 1997.
Tarlington, George, Shifting sands & savage jungle: the memories of a frontline infantryman, Australian Military History Publications, Loftus, 1994.
Thorpe, Ken, My wartime story, Brolga Press, Gundaroo, 1996.
Throssell, Ric, My father’s son, em Press, Melbourne, 1997 (revised edition: first published 1989).
Underwood, Polly, The reflections of an old grey mare: a salute to those who served, privately published, no date.
Veale, Lionel, The Wewak mission: Coastwatchers at war in New Guinea, privately published, 1996.
Woodward, Jack, Three times lucky, Boolarong, Brisbane, 1991.

WRITING ON AND BY WOMEN

White women were evacuated at the end of 1942, but nurses and some mission women (Catholic nuns being the most numerous) were given a choice, and nearly all of them and four or five others who defied orders (such as Gladys Baker) stayed. Asian, Melanesian and mixed race women not were given the option to leave for Australia. There are two general books about white women in Papua and New Guinea: Chilla Bulbeck, Australian women in Papua New Guinea: colonial passages 1920–1960, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1992; and Jan Roberts, Voices from a lost world: Australian women and children in Papua New Guinea before the Japanese invasion, Millennium, Sydney, 1996. Although Roberts says that her book ends before the war came to New Guinea, she has a chapter on the evacuation and allows many of the women to tell their own stories. Alice Bowman, one of the civilian nurses in New Guinea, has now written her story of capture in Rabaul and shipment to Japan: Not now tomorrow: Ima nai ashita, privately published, 1996. The army and mission nurses both have institutions to record a little of their histories, and they are more likely to be remembered at anniversaries, so Bowman’s book is a welcome voice for the civilians. Kathleen Bignell, one-time hotel proprietor and plantation owner was interned with Bowman and the other nurses, and her daughter, Margaret Clarence, has written about her in Yield not to the wind, privately published, 1982. Margaret Reeson’s book, Whereabouts unknown, Albatross, Sydney, 1993, is a novel, but it is based on interviews and archival research and it is the most detailed account of the women captured in Rabaul. Although the Methodist mission nurses are central to her story, it has considerable information on other women caught in the Japanese invasion. Joan Verstad, at the end of her book on life on a New Ireland plantation (The jungle was our home, Allen and Unwin, London, 1957), has a moving account of her distressing evacuation. Laurel Gray in Sinabada, woman among warriors: a biography of Rev. Sue Rankin, Joint Board of Christian Education, 1988, writes about Rankin being compelled to leave the south coast of Papua, an area not occupied by the Japanese, and about her return. Red grew the harvest, Pellegrini, Sydney, 1947, is a compilation of experiences of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart Mission. Other general histories of the missions include material on women. There are no books solely about Asian or Melanesian women, but there are sections on them in more general accounts (see Wu and Cahill below). Two Papuan women have written autobiographies that refer to the war. See below for books by Alice Wedega and Josephine Abaija. George Hicks, The comfort women, Allen and Unwin, Sydney, 1995, has a section on the comfort women sent to Rabaul.

MISSION HISTORIES

A recent general history of Christian missions in the Pacific is John Garrett, Footsteps in the sea: Christianity in Oceania to World War II, Institute of Pacific Studies, University of the South Pacific, Suva, 1992; and Where nets were cast: Christianity in Oceania Since World War II, Institute of Pacific Studies, University of the South Pacific, Suva, 1997. Most information about the Second World War is in the second volume. Garrett has a comprehensive bibliography.

Most of the mission societies have histories. For example, George Delos, The mustard seed: from a French mission to a Papuan church 1885–1985, Institute of Papua New Guinea Studies, Port Moresby, 1985; H. Laracy, Marists and Melanesians: a history of Catholic missions in the Solomon Islands, Australian National University Press, Canberra, 1976; Neville Threlfall, One hundred years in the islands: The Methodist/United Church in the New Guinea islands region 1875–1975, United Church, Rabaul, 1975; H. Wagner and H. Reiner (eds), The Lutheran Church in Papua New Guinea, Lutheran Publishing House, Adelaide, 1986; and D. Wetherell, Reluctant mission: the Anglican Church in Papua New Guinea, 1891–1942, University of Queensland Press, Brisbane, 1977. Reflecting the significance in Anglican mission history of the martyrs killed in Papua in 1942, other books on the Anglicans have chapters on the war: J.W.S. Tomlin, Awakening: a history of the New Guinea mission, New Guinea Mission, London, 1951; and D. Tomkins and B. Hughes, The road from Gona, Angus and Robertson, Sydney, 1969. There is less readily available material on the Divine Word mission on the north coast of New Guinea and on the Seventh Day Adventists (who were on the Kokoda Track and the New Guinea Islands); but see Mary T. Huber, The bishop’s progress: a historical ethnography of Catholic missionary experience on the Sepik frontier, Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, 1988, and N. Clapham (ed.), Seventh Day Adventists in the South Pacific 1885–1985, Signs Publishing, Warburton, no date. Theo Aerts, (ed), The martyrs of Papua New Guinea: 333 missionary lives lost during World War II, University of Papua New Guinea Press, Port Moresby, 1994, lists those who died and gives accounts of the major incidents.

During and immediately after the war the missions were keen to demonstrate that they had had a beneficial impact on Papua New Guineans, they deserved credit for the loyalty shown by Papua New Guineans, and that Papua New Guineans had earned more generous Australian policies in the postwar period. Many of the resulting publications were brief books or pamphlets:

Bell, A., Among the ruins: a New Guinea epic, Australian Board of Missions, Sydney, 1943;
Blumer, R.C. and Rowland, E.C., The Pacific and you: our duty to our neighbours, Australian Board of Missions, Sydney, 1943;
Cranswick, G. and Chevill, I., A new deal for Papua, Cheshire, Melbourne, 1949;
Henrich, R., South sea epic: war and the church in New Guinea, Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, London, 1944;
Price, R., Papuan victory: with the Papuans in peace and war, Unevangelised Fields Mission, Melbourne, no date.
Van Dusen, H., They found the church there: the armed forces discover Christian missions in the Pacific, SCM Press, London, 1943:
With the mission pamphleteers may be grouped those who advocated some of the same polices:
Elkin, A.P., Wanted – a charter for the native peoples of the South-West Pacific, Australasian Publishing Company, Sydney, 1943;
Hogbin, H.I. and Wedgwood, C., Development and welfare in the Western Pacific, Australian Institute of International Affairs, Sydney, 1943;
Laurie, E.A.H., Australia in New Guinea, Current Book Distributors (The Worker Trustees), Sydney, 1944.
Stone, J., Colonial trusteeship in transition, Australian Institute of International Affairs, Sydney, 1944. (There are other relevant pamphlets in the same series: “Australia in a New World”.)

BATTLE HISTORIES

As might be expected, Kokoda, significant as a turning point battle, seen as a battle fought in defence of Port Moresby and consequently of Australia, and evocative in Australian memory, has had most written about it. Raymond Paull, Retreat from Kokoda, Heinemann, London, 1958, has been reprinted several times. In time for the fiftieth anniversary two books were published: Peter Brune, Those ragged bloody heroes: from the Kokoda Trail to Gona Beach 1942, Allen and Unwin, Sydney, 1991; and Lex McAulay, Blood and iron: the battle for Kokoda 1942, Hutchinson, Sydney, 1991. McAulay has also written, To the bitter end: the Japanese defeat at Buna and Gona 1942–43, The battle of the Bismarck Sea and Into the dragon’s jaw, the second being on the air war against Rabaul. Peter Brune has also been productive: Gona’s gone continues the Kokoda story, and The spell broken is on Milne Bay. Coral Sea has also attracted historians: for example C. Coulthard-Clark, Action stations Coral Sea: the Australian commander’s story, Allen and Unwin, Sydney, 1991. C. Baker and G. Knight, Milne Bay 1942, Baker-Knight Publications, Loftus, 1991, is a compilation of material from other historians, eye-witnesses, documents and newspapers etc. The fighting at Salamaua, Lae and Finschhafen and along the Markham and Ramu valleys and along the north coast has not been examined with the same intensity. Lae and Finschaffen are certainly worth detailed study, and Shaggy Ridge is both an evocative title and a significant battle. The last year of the war in New Guinea has excited some interest with writers raising questions about whether those campaigns should have been pursued differently – or not at all. Peter Charlton, The unnecessary war: island campaigns of the South-West Pacific 1944–45, Macmillan, Melbourne, 1983, deals with all three campaigns – the Sepik, Bougainville and New Britain. P. Stone, Hostages to freedom: the fall of Rabaul, Oceans Enterprises, Yarram, 1994, is detailed and continues beyond the fall of Rabaul in 1942 through to the surrender and internment of the Japanese.

SOLDIERS AND PAPUA NEW GUINEANS

Pocket-sized booklets of instructions on how to treat Papua New Guineans were issued to Australian and American service personnel:
M.W. Stirling, The native peoples of New Guinea, Smithsonian Institution, 1943.
A pocket guide to New Guinea and the Solomons, War and Navy Departments, Washington, 1944.
Soldiering in the tropics (S-W Pacific area), General Staff, LHQ, Australia, 1942.
You and the native: notes for the guidance of members of the forces in their relations with New Guinea natives, Allied Geographic Section, South-West Pacific Section, 1943.

The booklets are summaries of attitudes towards Papua New Guineans.

WRITING ON AND BY PAPUA NEW GUINEANS

Anthropologists who worked in Papua or New Guinea before, during or immediately after the war have left important records of the impact of the war on the people. Others have reconstructed the wartime events.

C. Belshaw in The great village: the economic and social welfare of Hanuabada, an urban community in Papua, Routledge and Kegan Paul, London, 1957, examines the village closest to Port Moresby. Hanuabada was evacuated and burnt during the war, and rebuilt with compensation in the postwar period. (See also Oram below.)
Ian Hogbin was in New Guinea during the war to help prepare the war damage compensation scheme and returned to do fieldwork in Busama between Salamaua and Lae soon after the war: Transformation scene: the changing culture of a New Guinea village, Routledge and Kegan Paul, London, 1951.
P. Lawrence, Road belong cargo: a study of the cargo movement in the southern Madang District New Guinea, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 1964, is a basic examination of cult movements, and particularly of that led by Yali who was influenced by his dramatic war experiences.
R. Maher, New men of Papua: a study in culture change, University of Wisconsin Press,
Madison, 1961, is based on fieldwork in the Gulf of Papua and includes a section on Tommy Kabu, one of the local leaders to emerge from the war.
Margaret Mead did fieldwork on Manus both before and after the war: New lives for old: cultural transformation – Manus, 1929–1953, Victor Gollancz, London, 1956.
N.D. Oram, Colonial town to Melanesian city: Port Moresby 1884–1974, Australian National University Press, Canberra, 1976.
K.E. Read, “Effects of the Pacific war in the Markham Valley, New Guinea”, Oceania, 18:2, (1947), 95–116.
S.W. Reed, The making of modern New Guinea: with special reference to culture contact in the Mandated Territory, The American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia, 1943, is based on fieldwork done just before the war and it was written by 1941, so it does not say anything about the Japanese invasion, but it has been included here as it is a summary of conditions on the eve of war and of enlightened attitudes towards New Guineans.
R.F. Salisbury, Vunamami: economic transformation in a traditional society, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 1970, is a history of a village east of Rabaul.
T. Schwartz, The Paliau Movement in the Admiralty Islands, 1946–1954, Anthropological Papers of the American Museum of Natural History, vol. 49 part 2, New York, 1962 should obviously be read with Mead. Lawrence, Schwartz and Maher taken together say much about Papua New Guinean leaders emerging from the war.
W.E.H. Stanner, The south seas in transition: a study of postwar rehabilitation and reconstruction in three British dependencies, Australasian Publishing Company, Sydney, 1953, was written in 1947 and is a study of Papua-New Guinea, Fiji and Samoa.
Many other anthropologists working in Papua New Guinea in the postwar period, while primarily concerned with other issues, have references to the impact of the war. For example, M.S. Smith, Hard times on Kairiru Island: poverty, development, and morality in a Papua New Guinea village, University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, 1994; and J. Fajans, They make themselves: work and play among the Baining of Papua New Guinea, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1997.

There is one general history of Papua New Guineans in the Second World War: N.K. Robinson, Villagers at war: some Papua New Guinea experiences in World War II, Pacific Research Monograph No. 2, Australian National University, Canberra, 1979. G. White and L. Lindstrom have produced two books: Black encounters: black and white memories of the Pacific war, Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, 1990; and The Pacific theater: island representations of World War II, University of Hawaii Press, 1989. Both cover islands beyond Papua New Guinea: the first is a collection of photographs with an extensive commentary, and the second draws mainly on anthropologists who have worked in areas affected by the war. K.S. Inglis, “War, race and loyalty in New Guinea, 1939–1945,” in The history of Melanesia (papers delivered at the Second Waigani Seminar), The University of Papua New Guinea and The Australian National University, 1969, pp. 503–29, raises fundamental issues – and other chapters in the same volume are on the Second World War.

The first Papua New Guineans to write autobiographies were old enough to remember the war:

Vincent Eri, The crocodile, Jacaranda, Brisbane, 1970 (a novel but recreates experiences of carriers from the Gulf).
Albert Maori Kiki, Kiki: ten thousand years in a lifetime, a New Guinea autobiography, Cheshire, Melbourne, 1968 (a brief reference only).
Hosea Linge, An offering fit for a king: the life and work of the Rev. Hosea Linge, told by himself, Translated by Neville Threlfall, The United Church, Rabaul, 1978.
Palius Matane, My childhood in New Guinea, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 1987.
Michael Somare, Sana: an autobiography of Michael Somare, Niugini Press, Port Moresby, 1975.
Somu Sigob, “The Story of My Life”, in Ulli Beier, (ed.), Voices of Independence: new black writing from Papua New Guinea, University of Queensland Press, Brisbane, 1980, pp. 15–23.
There is other writing by Papua New Guineans in Oral history, published by the Institute of Papua New Guinea Studies, and in magazines that published creative writing such as Kovave.

The student of the battle for Lae would certainly benefit from reading Hogbin, Lawrence and Robinson.

ALLIED GEOGRAPHICAL SECTION

Created in 1942, the Allied Geographical Section “published 110 terrain studies, 62 terrain handbooks, 101 ‘special reports’, and other works” (Mellor 1958, 547). Its Annotated bibliography of the South-West Pacific and adjacent areas, vol. II: the Mandated Territory of New Guinea, Papua, the British Solomon Islands, the New Hebrides and Micronesia, 1944, is still valuable, has been exploited by subsequent bibliographers, and sets out what could have been known by diligent scholars during the war. Because of the different formats and different degrees of concentration on particular places, any one location may be covered by several studies. For example, the studies on Rabaul include: Rabaul District Gasmata, New Ireland, Terrain Study No. 1, 1942; Rabaul, Gasmata, Terrain Study No. 8, 1942; Gazelle Peninsula, Terrain Handbook 19, New Guinea, 1944. There are many photographs as well as maps, and the written descriptions are detailed.

The student of the battle of Lae should keep the appropriate terrain study open on the desk.

JAPANESE WRITING AVAILABLE IN ENGLISH

Two general books are: IENAGA Sabur, The Pacific War, 1931–1945: A critical perspective on Japan’s role in World War II, Pantheon Books, New York, no date (first published in English 1978); and TANAKA Kengor, Operations of the Imperial Japanese Armed Forces in Papua New Guinea Theater during World War II, Japan Papua New Guinea Goodwill Society, Tokyo, 1980.

Peter Brune and Lex McAulay in their battle histories have both consulted Japanese material, and their bibliographies should be consulted.

An article valuable because so few other authors have written on the topic in English rather than because of its quality or comprehensiveness is: SAIT Hisafumi and Ippei Kawasaki, “References to Melanesians in Japanese War Memoirs,” Man and culture in Oceania, 9, (1993), 157–163.

The senior Japanese officer on Rabaul, Lieutenant-General IMAMURA Hitoshi, commander of 8 Area Army, wrote a memoir after the war while imprisoned; this has been poorly translated, but typed copies are available (e.g. in AWM MSS 1089) “The tenor of my life: a Tapir in prison”. Later he wrote a fuller four-volume autobiography. There is a translation from the longer version on the conquest of Java: “Imamura Hitoshi Taish Kaisroku” in A. Reid and O. Akira, The Japanese experience in Indonesia: selected memoirs of 1942–1945, Ohio University Centre for International Studies, South-East Asia Series No. 72, Athens Ohio, (1986), 31–77. Taken with the testimony given by IMAMURA at the postwar trials, this provides more on IMAMURA than most other Japanese leaders in New Guinea. (There are several files in the National Arcives, but the dominant one is in A 471 No. 81635, the six-part War Crimes, Proceedings of Military Tribunal, General IMAMURA, Hitoshi, Australian Archives, Canberra.)

Japanese books published in English include:

HATTORI Takushiro, The complete history of the Great East Asia War, 8 vols, 1953, available in part in translation on microfilm (AWM PRMF 0063).
KITAMOTO Masamichi, A record of marathon adventures in the New Guinea war, translation in the AWM, originally published in Tokyo. KITAMOTO ran in the 5,000- and 10,000-metre races at the Olympics in Los Angeles in 1932, and his endurance was important in finding a route for the Japanese escaping from Lae across the Finisterres (AWM MSS 0679).
IGUSA Kengor, The jungle & leaf of hibiscus: memoirs of a navy surgeon in the South Pacific, privately published, Canada, no date. (Igusa was on New Britain and New Ireland.)
OKADA Seiz, Lost troops, translated by Seiichi Shiojiro, originally published, Japan, 1946. OKADA, a journalist, was on the Kokoda Track (AWM MSS 0733).
OKUMIYA Masatake and HOIKOSHI Jir with Martin Caidin, Zero! the story of the Japanese Navy, Air Force 1937–1945, Cassell, London, 1957.
YOSHIHARA Kane, Southern Cross: account of the eastern New Guinea campaign, translated by Doris Heath and held in the AWM. It was originally published in Tokyo in 1955. YOSHIHARA and HATTORI are two of the few books published in Japanese referred to in the Australian official histories (G. Long, Final campaigns, p. 291).
WATANABE Tetsuo, The naval land unit that vanished in the jungle, (edited and translated by IWAMOTO Hiromitsu), privately published, Canberra, 1995. (WATANABE was in Rabaul, and later retreated with Japanese forces along the north coast of New Guinea to Kairiru Island.)

Several of the Japanese writers’ comments on Lae and Kitamoto have significant detail.

OTHER RELEVANT STUDIES

David Horner has provided an excellent guide to, and analysis of, the conduct of the war at several levels: Crisis of command: Australian generalship and the Japanese threat, 1941–1943, Australian National University Press, Canberra, 1978; High command: Australia and Allied strategy 1939–1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, and Allen and Unwin, Sydney, 1982; and Inside the war cabinet: directing Australia’s war effort 1939–45, Allen and Unwin, Sydney, 1996. C. Lloyd and R. Hall (eds), Background briefings: John Curtin’s war, National Library of Australia, Canberra, 1997, is an interesting change of perspective from that of the cabinet papers.

David Y.H. Wu has written about the Chinese during the war The Chinese in Papua New Guinea 1880–1980, Chinese University Press, Hong Kong, 1982, but there is more detail in Peter Cahill, “The Chinese in Rabaul 1914–1960,” MA thesis, University of Papua New Guinea, 1972. Of the thousands of Indians taken to New Guinea during the war by the Japanese, one has left a record: Chint Singh, “The Experiences of an Indian Prisoner of War in New Guinea,” The infantry journal, 1:1, (July 1949), 56–62. The longer manuscript that he wrote is in the University of Papua New Guinea Library. He and other Indians also gave evidence for war crimes trials.

IWAMOTO Hiromitsu in his doctoral thesis “Nanshin: The case of the Japanese settlers in Papua and New Guinea 1890–1949,” Division of Pacific and Asian History, Australian National University, 1996, traced the fortunes of Japanese in Papua and New Guinea, and what happened to those captured in the islands and interned in Australia has been examined in NAGATA Yuriko, Unwanted aliens: Japanese internment in Australia, University of Queensland Press, Brisbane, 1996.

There are British artillery men buried in Bomana Cemetery outside Port Moresby. They were captured in Singapore and shipped to work in the Solomons. All died except for a few who were off-loaded on New Britain. Alf Baker, one of the eighteen out of 600 to survive, has written an account, and his book is listed in autobiographies, above.

Alf Baker and the other British artillery men did not meet the other Allied prisoners of war in the Rabaul area until after the surrender. Several of the Americans have written of their prisoner experiences: John B. Kepchia, Missing in action over Rabaul, privately published, 1986; James McMurria, Trial and triumph, privately published, no date; and Joseph G. Nason and Robert L. Holt, Horio you next die!, Pacific Rim Press, Carlsbad, 1987. I. Stuart, Port Moresby: yesterday and today, Pacific Publications, Sydney, 1970, and I. Willis, Lae: village and city, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 1974, describe the destruction and transformation of those towns by war. See also Oram, listed above.

Two books not specific to New Guinea but which encompass New Guinea are: John Dower, War without mercy: race and power in the Pacific War, Faber, London, 1986; and Henry Frei, Japan’s southward advance and Australia: from the sixteenth century to World War II, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 1991. Both are well documented and have comprehensive bibliographies.

NOVELS

Some novels – by Hungerford and Pinney – have been noted. Two others should be added as they were written out of personal experience: David Forrest (real name David Denholm), The last blue sea, Heinemann, London, 1959; and John Hepworth, The long green shore, Picador, Sydney, 1995. Hepworth wrote immediately after the war and his novel was published as a serial in The Sunday herald in October and November 1949, but was not published as a book until 1995.

DOCUMENTARY SOURCES

MAJOR COLLECTIONS

Given that the war in New Guinea lasted for four years, that Australians were responsible for the welfare of the civilian population, that over 300,000 Australians went to New Guinea between 1942 and 1945, and that (except for Lark Force after 23 January 1942) the Australian units normally had direct communication with Australia, the collections of documents are vast. The documents may be grouped under four headings: those in the Australian War Memorial, the National Archives of Australia in Canberra, the National Archives of Australia in Melbourne, and non-official collections. There are, of course, relevant documents in other National Archives of Australia centres, especially in Sydney and Brisbane, and these will be mentioned. As expected, the main collection of non-official documents are in the National Library of Australia and the state libraries, particularly those in Sydney and Melbourne. Although there are printed guides available to most archives and library manuscript collections, the most practical search aids are now on computer. Those libraries such as the National Library of Australia (www.nla.gov.au), that have their manuscript catalogue accessible from outside are most convenient to researchers. While the official records in the Australian War Memorial are not available universally on screen, they can be searched in National Archives of Australia offices. For example, a researcher in the NAA reading room in Melbourne can use RecordSearch (www.naa.gov.au), type in the keyword “Tol”, and find the file AWM 54 423/9/33, “Allied Intelligence Bureau Reports ... Tol Plantation Massacre.” The NAA Melbourne depositories are important because headquarters or key sections of government departments and the services operated from Melbourne during the war, and many records were not subsequently transferred to Canberra.

RECORDS IN PAPUA NEW GUINEA

There are significant wartime documents in the National Archives of Papua New Guinea, but some, including many of the surviving wartime patrol reports, have been copied and are available in Australia. Microfilms of patrol reports are in the National Archives of Australia Canberra, and they are also available on microfiche in the National Library of Australia from most, but not all provinces. In general the patrol reports are complete from southern Papua, the area that was not captured by the Japanese, and only begin in the north with the return of ANGAU. Most pre-war patrol reports from Mandated New Guinea were lost with the destruction of those held in district headquarters such as Madang or Kavieng, and the destruction of those sent to headquarters in Rabaul. For example, the patrol reports now available from Bougainville date from 1943 and those from Kokopo (Rabaul) from 1946. But there are other patrol reports with the ANGAU war diary (held in the Australian War Memorial) and this should be checked. In addition patrol officers often kept a personal copy – after all, a patrol report was largely a detailed daily diary – and ex-patrol officers have deposited patrol reports in libraries. The Pacific Manuscripts Bureau has copied patrol reports when they have been located, and its records should be checked. The bureau, Coombs Building, RSPAS, Australian National University, does not store documents, but it searches for them, tries to ensure that they are preserved and secure, and copies important documents onto microfilm for distribution to contributing libraries. Both the Australian National University Library and the National Library of Australia hold Pacific Manuscripts Bureau microfilms. Through Pambu, the Pacific Manuscripts Bureau newsletter, researchers are told of documents recently copied, and periodically Pambu publishes directories of material available on film. The Library of the University of Papua New Guinea holds important non-official documents, and fortunately there are printed guides to most of the niversity’s manuscript collection: see Nancy Lutton, (compiler), Guide to manuscripts held in the New Guinea collection of the University of Papua New Guinea Library, University of PNG, Port Moresby, 1980.

MISSION RECORDS

The Christian missions were important institutions in New Guinea on the eve of war, most attempted to continue work through the war, and this brought them into contact with both Allied and Japanese forces. The missions involved were: Anglican (New Guinea Mission and Melanesian Mission), Roman Catholic (Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, Society of the Divine Word, and the Marists), London Missionary Society, Methodist (Australian on New Britain and south-east Papua, and New Zealand on Bougainville), Lutheran (Neuendettelsau Mission Society, American Lutheran Church and Liebenzell), Seventh Day Adventist Mission, and Unevangelised Fields Mission. Inevitably the mission records are dispersed across nations, but the missions are alternative sources to the dominant government and military documents, and some mission archives have been placed in public libraries or copied. For example, the records of the Methodist Overseas Missions are held in the Mitchell Library, and Anglican records are in the University of Papua New Guinea library. There are also London Missionary Society and Methodist records in the United Church papers in the University of Papua New Guinea library. Much of the London Missionary Society archives have been microfilmed and are available through the Joint Copying Project at the National Library of Australia. Some of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart records have been microfilmed by the Pacific Manuscripts Bureau.

Most of the writing on the missions in Papua New Guinea during the war has been concerned with just one mission, and even in general histories, such as that by John Garrett, the missions have been dealt with sequentially. The need, then, is for a history that is comparative, that takes particular events and issues and examines the responses of the various missions to them. One critical question faced by all missions was whether or not they would heed the government advice on evacuation. The Methodist wives and children left with other white women; the Methodist nurses stayed on New Britain; Methodist men in the New Guinea Islands stayed; and those in the south-east of Papua left. Within the Catholic missions, men and women, lay and clergy, stayed. The Anglican bishop advised staff to stay, and subsequently seven Anglican missionaries were killed. The Catholic mission had no doubt it had made the right decision although the cost was extravagantly high in lives – nearly 200 Catholic missionaries died during the war. The Catholics, with their strong history of martyrdom nurturing the faith, seemed able to accept the consequence of their actions without prolonged questioning of decisions made in 1941 and 42 and without recriminations. The Anglicans, from 1942, have questioned whether the right decision was made when missionaries, particularly the single women, were encouraged to stay, and whether action might have been taken subsequently to reduce the dangers to some or all the missionaries left on the north coast of Papua and on New Britain. Some Methodists who were instructed or chose to leave their mission stations and survived have worried about whether or not they should have stayed. Their fellow missionaries from Tonga and other South Sea Islanders stayed and survived through troubled times, and some of those Methodists who left the field were working in places never occupied by the Japanese. At the same time the Methodists ask if anything could have been done to rescue the eight ordained men from the New Guinea Islands who were captured and died. These complex questions raise difficult practical and moral issues and are worth extended examination.

Another significant problem faced by all the missions was the relative obligations they owed to church and state. The question of just which nationality missionaries carried with them to New Guinea was difficult to answer, and that was only a preliminary problem. A Catholic priest born in a southern county of Ireland before the formal establishment of the independent state of Eire, but had not obtained a new passport, was born within the British Empire and may have had little evidence that his birth placed him in what was a neutral state in 1942. The Reverend Aloys Darowski of the Sacred Heart Mission, Rabaul, gave his nationality as “Danzig”. After the Congress of Vienna in 1815 Danzig became part of Prussia, at the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 it became a “free city”, and in 1939 the Germans incorporated it into the German state. Immediately after the Second World War it became a Polish city and was renamed Gdansk. In the eyes of the Australians in 1941 the Reverend Darowski may have been an enemy alien, a neutral, or an ally. Any Japanese who encountered him the next year would have needed a detailed knowledge of European history and of Darowski’s personal politics and family to know whether he dealt with a nominal friend or enemy. The same subtleties of international law applied to Mother Clotide of Lorraine, the Reverend Bernhauser of “Slovak” and Brother Sauli, an Italian, who presumably changed in status in 1943 after the Italians signed an armistice with the Allies. All these questions of nationality were not simply a result of changes in the political map of Europe. Adolph Wagner was born in German New Guinea and his brother Emil was born in Australia. The Australians decided that Emil was theirs and he served with the Australian army; Adolph, they decided, was an enemy. But the Japanese also decided Adolph was an enemy, and they executed him.

Irrespective of their nationality, missionaries had obligations to the state in which they worked, and to the government in power at any particular time. Methodist missionaries who were clear in their Australian nationality faced an early dilemma. In northern Australia and in the New Guinea islands they were sometimes the only people who could operate a coastwatcher radio on what were otherwise long stretches of exposed coastline, but to accept a radio and a code book and agree to report shipping and aircraft was to make a commitment to the military. In the event of a Japanese landing that would make it difficult for them to claim that they were non-combatants, primarily concerned with the spiritual welfare of their flocks, and should be allowed to continue with their religious duties irrespective of who held civil or military power. But that was just one obvious occasion when a mission had to make a decision. For those missionaries who stayed in the field the decisions were constant: should German missionaries help wounded Australians trying to escape from Japanese occupied areas? Should they report to the Japanese that they knew that Australian coastwatchers were operating in an area? Should they provide the Japanese with knowledge of tracks? What advice should they give to those New Guineans who were members of their church? These questions were acute for the Reverend Johannes Mayrhofer, an Austrian, and the Reverend Bernhardt Franke, a German, on tracks used by Australians escaping from Rabaul. Both helped Australians, but both put their mission work and their lives at risk. The actions of Mayrhofer and Franke would have been a surprise to those Australians who had assumed that all Germans would aid all Australia’s enemies.

A careful re-examination of mission records, crossing the boundaries of particular missions, would reveal much about formal and informal loyalties to church and state, about the behaviour of institutions and people under stress, and how all subsequently dealt with the history of those difficult times.

To retain contact with mission supporters at home most of the missions produced a newsletter of some sort, and these often included letters from “the field”, e.g. The missionary review, published by the Methodists, 5 January 1943, p. 4 has letters from David Mone, Jonathon Fonua and Isikeli Hau’ofa, south-sea-island missionaries who had remained at their posts.

Ross Weymouth, “The Gogodala Society in Papua and the Unevangelised Fields Mission 1890–1977,” PhD thesis, School of Social Sciences, Flinders, 1977, has over 60 pages on the war, and his footnotes are a guide to sources on this little known mission.

BUSINESS

Among company records, those of Burns Philp have been used by K. Buckley and K. Klugman in their two volume history: The history of Burns Philp: the Australian company in the South Pacific, Burns, Philp, Sydney, 1981; and “The Australian presence in the Pacific”: Burns Philp 1914–1946, Allen & Unwin, Sydney, 1983. But few other wartime company, plantation and business records have been utilised. D.C. Lewis, The plantation dream: developing British New Guinea and Papua 1884–1942, is the only monograph on the plantation industry in Papua or New Guinea, and Lewis’s bibliography is a useful guide to official and unofficial records. The Noel Butlin Archive, Australian National University, has specialised in collecting company papers, and it is an institutional starting point.

SCIENCE

The official history, D.P. Mellor, The role of science and industry, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1958, remains the basic survey of Australian science in the Second World War. Forty years on, there is certainly a need for a re-examination of the impact of the war, not just on science, but on Australian scholarship generally. C.B. Schedvin, Shaping science and industry: a history of Australia’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, 1926–49, Allen and Unwin, Sydney, 1987, says:
The war transformed CSIR [the “O” was added in 1949] more extensively and rapidly than at any time before or since. In scale, range and self-confidence, the organisation was unrecognisable in 1945 compared with the small and somewhat defensive entity of the late 1930s. The most obvious change was the four-fold increase in size. Perhaps even more important was the broadening of the range of research to include a wide spectrum of the physical sciences (p. 309).

Mellor points out that at the end of the war the Commonwealth Government was paying the CSIR three million pounds a year for research while granting just 100,000 pounds to all the universities.

The CSIR was significant in work on malaria – in research into growing cinchona trees on Australian territory, destroying mosquitoes by spraying with DDT and by other means, using pyrethrum sprays, and developing effective repellents. Other significant practical research was directed towards preserving foodstuffs in the tropics, proofing electrical and other equipment against high humidity, increasing the nutritional value of food issued to the troops, and improving radio and radar performance. There has been some internal histories written, e.g. W.F. Evans, “History of the Radio Research Board 1926–1945,” CSIRO, Melbourne, 1976; and “History of the Radio Physics Advisory Board 1939–1945 (supplementary documentation),” CSIRO, Melbourne, 1973. These are both extensive, copied and bound typescripts. The CSIRO annual reports are not complete accounts of research through the war years because much of the work could not then become public information. There were also “war reports” giving fuller accounts, and these are held in the archives.

Many of the CSIR wartime records have been transferred to the National Archives of Australia. In the absence of a printed guide and as many records are not listed on RecordSearch, the consignment lists are probably the best finding aids. Many of the research activities of CSIR were spread around Australia (the Division of Food was in Sydney, but Nutrition was in Adelaide), and as a result the records are in various Australian Archive repositories. The head office main correspondence that illuminates important activities and leads to further material is at AA CRS A9978. The Archivist, CSIRO, Canberra, may be reached by mail at PO Box 225, Dickson, ACT 2602, Australia.

The dispersal of science archives can be explained and illustrated by looking at the way in which the work on malaria was carried out in several centres: within the CSIR entomologists, botanists, chemists and others were engaged on projects; the Australian Army established the Medical Research Unit which carried out field trials in Cairns; the 2/2nd Australian General Hospital in north Queensland maintained a research ward; the School of Tropical Health and Medicine in Sydney was involved; the Commonwealth and Queensland Health Departments had responsibilities; the RAAF had its own concerns with the impact of malaria on highly trained pilots; and Neil Hamilton Fairly (who directed the Medical Research Unit) left his scientific papers to the Basser Library, Canberra.

To exploit the Adolph Basser Library, Australian Academy of Science, Canberra, manuscript collection it is necessary to use the library’s own printed guides. The initial entry is by the name of the scientist (A.C.D. Rivett) or the name of the institution (Australian Biochemical Society) that generated or deposited the papers. In Fairly’s papers there are several series concerned with the Medical Research Unit in Cairns. Rivett’s extensive papers include references to the Federal Munitions Committee of the First World War, as material on the Second World War. One typescript from 1941 in Rivett’s papers has the intriguing title, “Whither science in Japan?” F.W.G. White, who worked on radar, has left a draft autobiography to the Basser.

The Australian Science Archives Project locates, describes and ensures the appropriate housing of science records. It has produced a number of guides to particular collections. See Gavan McCarthy and D.W. Thorpe, (compilers), Guide to the archives of science in Australia – records of individuals, ASAP, Melbourne, 1991, a 291-page listing of records. More of the work and the products of ASAP can be found on: www.asap.unimelb.edu.au.

Note also the work of the Directorate of Research and Civil Affairs and the Allied Geographical Section (mentioned above). The directorate, which called on the expertise of anthropologists (Ian Hogbin and Camilla Wedgwood), lawyers (John Kerr and T.P. Fry), geographers (John Andrews) and others, is a reminder that the war in New Guinea had an impact on the social sciences. The directorate gave rise to the Australian School of Pacific Administration. Its journal, South Pacific, reflects the postwar thinking of several of those academics who turned attention – and careers – towards New Guinea during the war. (See also the Jinks’ thesis, discussed below.)

PRIVATE RECORDS

It is impossible to be definitive about the records remaining in private hands but various publications hint at the range of diaries and letters still surviving in old writing cases, roll-top desks and boxes in garages. Peter Jones, The reluctant volunteer, mentions checking his memory against the letters that he wrote to his father, and the best of the unit histories refer to diaries held by members. The Australian War Memorial has the most extensive collection of private records of war, and while it has been successful in persuading ex-servicemen to donate personal papers, one common set of records that may be under-represented are letters between those overseas and spouses or other close family members. As the contents may be intensely personal and either the writer or the receiver (or both) may still be alive, such correspondence could be late in coming into public collections. Some indication of the richness of such letters may be gathered from Alan Hooper, Love war & letters (the letters are now in the AWM); and Margaret Reeson’s use of the letters that Ron Wayne wrote to his wife from Rabaul in 1941 and 1942. The private letters are going to be a critical resource when someone writes a study about the values and attitudes that Australians took north with them, the experience that they went through in and out of battle in New Guinea, and what that meant to them – and to those Australians who were not there.

The Australian War Memorial has a surprising amount of Japanese private writing. Some of this is captured documents, translated, duplicated and bound in the volumes of the Allied Translator and Interpreter Section. There are guides to the ATIS material: Vera Blackburn, (compiler), Allied translator and interpreter section, South-West Pacific area, publications – a bibliography, AWM, Canberra, 1979; and Wartime translations of seized Japanese documents: allied translator and interpreter section reports, 1942–1946, Congressional Information Services, Bethesda, Maryland, 1988 (a comprehensive guide to ATIS translations, interrogation reports and original publications, with indexes in one volume, bibliography in the other). The keywords “Japanese” and “translation” will locate most of the Japanese papers in the Australian War Memorial’s collection of personal papers, e.g., PR 84/143 “Anonymous Japanese soldier (80th Regiment, IJA), copy of translation of diary taken from the body of a Japanese soldier. Notes hunger, casualties, fever, Australians.”

SOUND AND FILM

The major collections of sound and film material are in the Australian War Memorial, the National Film and Sound Archive, the National Library of Australia, and the ABC Archives. A general guide is: Diane Aoki and Norman Douglas, (compilers), Moving images of the Pacific Islands: a guide to films and videos, Centre for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawaii, Occasional Paper 38, Honolulu, 1994.

When deciding on who was to be interviewed for the Australian War Memorial Keith Murdoch Sound Archive of Australia in the War of 1939–45, we spread the net widely in terms of where recruited, service, rank, gender and theatre, but within these categories we selected particular units. As a result it should be possible to locate several eye-witnesses talking about particular incidents. In addition, the production of full-transcripts was written into the project. As a result the Keith Murdoch Sound Archive is one of the most accessible in any library – perhaps too accessible as researchers may use the transcripts only and miss those values that are transmitted by tone of voice. Some of the units who fought in New Guinea and whose members were interviewed were: 39th and 55th/53rd Battalions, 2/8th Battalion, 2/12th Battalion, 2/27th Battalion, 2/2nd machine-gun Battalion, 75 Squadron, Catalina crews, and HMAS Hobart. Apart from the interviews commissioned for the Keith Murdoch Sound Archive (mostly in 1989, 90 and 91) the AWM holds much other recorded material, including the interviews from the ABC radio series, “Prisoners of War, Australians Under Nippon.” Few of these prisoner tapes have relevance for New Guinea, but J.J. Murphy, the only Australian serviceman to survive imprisonment in Rabaul was interviewed for that series. The oral history collection project of the National Library of Australia has been successful in recording many of those civilians and service personnel who held high office during the Second World War. The state library collections, while valuable, are generally not as convenient to use or as comprehensive for the scholar of the war in New Guinea as are those of the National Library and the Australian War Memorial.

It seems extraordinary that there has been no major feature film on the war in New Guinea. Given the proximity to Australia, the numbers of Australians involved and the evocative power of some of the place names (with Kokoda dominant) this seems a strange omission. Even the Boer War with Breaker Morant, 1988, has its film. There have certainly been Australian films about the war with the Japanese, but they have not been located in Australian territories: A yank in Australia, 1942; A town like Alice, 1956 (a British film, but the later mini-series was Australian); Southern Cross, 1982; Attack Force Z, 1982; An indecent obsession, 1985; Blood oath 1990; and Paradise road, 1997. None has had the impact of Gallipoli, 1981, in defining popular reactions to an event seen to be significant in Australian history.

By contrast the documentary film-makers in peace and war have been attracted to New Guinea, and some of the most successful Australian documentaries have been set in New Guinea. Since the publication of Neil McDonald’s War cameraman: the story of Damien Parer, our knowledge of the cameramen who operated in New Guinea, the government system in which they worked, and the way in which they filmed and were edited has been greatly increased. Parer’s New Guinea films were: Moresby under the blitz, 1942; Kokoda frontline, 1942; War on the roof of New Guinea, 1943; Bismarck convoy smashed, 1943; and Assault on Salamaua, 1943.

Through the war most Australian filming was done by accredited war correspondents who worked for the Department of Information. Their films were then released to the two competing newsreel and documentary makers, Cinesound and Movietone. Parer’s prize-winning film, Kokoda frontline, was released – and constructed – by Cinesound. Parer’s footage was also used in the Movietone Special, The road to Kokoda, 1942. One of the most distinguished of the Movietone films was Jungle patrol, 1944, which follows a small patrol near Shaggy Ridge in the Ramu Valley. Wings over New Guinea, 1942, eight minutes in length, shot in black and white on 16 mm film and released through Cinesound, is an example of the “shorts” available as separate films. Selected Cinesound and Movietone newsreels, collected and released on video as At the front by the Australian Film and Sound Archives, 1995, include some of the most graphic of the New Guinea war films: Airmen blitz Japs in Coral Sea, Japs blasted back from airfield, Allies thrash Japs at Aitape, I was bayoneted by the Japs, AWAS enjoy New Guinea life .... The titles with their harsh verbs – “blitz,” “blast”, “thrash” – and the repetition of “Japs” are evidence of the presumed wartime relationship between the newsreel and public morale. Moresby medley, 1943, Cinesound, not included in the anthology, is a gentler compilation of soldiers filling in time at what had become a major base. In addition to the footage that ended up in newsreels or short documentaries, some film was edited and not used, or remained uncut. This material, largely held in the Australian War Memorial and the Film and Sound Archives, may yield worthwhile visual evidence for historians. At least there is a need to broaden the range of images so consistently used to underlie television news stories about the war in New Guinea.

The newsreels continued to be relevant into the postwar period with film on the memorial light for the coastwatchers at Madang (1959), an ANZAC Day service in New Guinea (1956), A peaceful village amid the wreckage of war (1959) – all held in the National Film and Sound Archive. A quick scan of available newsreels and other documentaries shows that it is possible to build up a pre-war and postwar visual record of, say, Rabaul: Amateur jockeys race, Rabaul, 1935; Holiday cruise to Rabaul, 1935; Volcanic eruption, 1937; Rabaul, 1940; Surrender on HMS Glory, 1945; Rabaul 1945; Jap criminals face Australian court martial, 1946; Rabaul, war scarred outpost of Australian defence, 1948; and Jap divers clear wrecks, 1957. With Japanese footage and still and movie film taken by Allied aircraft on combat and reconnaissance missions – as displayed in Lex McAulay’s Into the dragon’s jaw – the images are sufficient to provide an extensive, if uneven, coverage of what happened to people and place.

The postwar documentaries include Angels of war, 1983; Senso daughters, 1990; Kokoda: The bloody track, 1992; Kokoda war diary 1942–1945: The recollections and photographs of Dr Alan Watson, video, no date; 44 days: 75 Squadron RAAF defence of Port Moresby March–May 1942, 1992. Angels of war, on the experiences of Papua New Guineans in the war, and Senso daughters, on Papua New Guinean women in the war, go some way to make up for omissions in the written history. Sensdaughters was made by a Japanese woman, SEKIGUCHI Noriko, but much of the technical production and research was in Australia. It was therefore more international in its perspectives than most war films – a fact confirmed in the two languages in the title.

Among the overseas films the American documentary, Attack! The battle for New Britain, 1944, reflects the fact that it was made during the war, but it contains excellent shots, particularly of amphibious landings. The extraordinary Japanese film Yukiyukite Shingun, 1987, is a two hour investigation by OKUZAKI Kenz of the terrible deprivation and brutality suffered by Japanese soldiers in New Guinea. (Some of the brutality was inflicted by Japanese on other Japanese.) The American feature films on the Pacific war have not been about the war in New Guinea: The battle of Midway, 1942; Pride of the marines, 1946; Sands of Iwo Jima, 1949; The naked and the dead, 1958; South Pacific, 1958. The failure of Australians to make a successful feature film about the war in New Guinea is certainly not because they have been pre-empted by the Americans.

PUBLISHED AND DOCUMENTARY SOURCES FOR PARTICULAR STUDIES

1. IMPACT OF WAR ON THE PEOPLES OF PAPUA NEW GUINEA

Although there are unit histories of the Pacific Islands Regiment, Neville Robinson’s monograph, reminiscences by Papua New Guineans, various books by anthropologists and a number of summaries, there is no comprehensive study of Papua New Guineans in the Second World War bringing out the complexity and differences in experiences from one place – and from one individual – to another.

As little education was available to Papua New Guineans in the pre-war period and the literate minority had few opportunities to occupy positions where they might write reports, there cannot be much surviving writing by Papua New Guineas from the war. But there are fragments. Coastwatchers were dependent on communication with New Guineans to provide information, and occasionally a New Guinean would risk writing a note and having it carried to the coastwatchers. For example, in the papers of A.A. Roberts (who had served in the pre-war New Guinea administration and returned to New Britain as a coastwatcher) AWM PR 84/368 there is a note that begins “Dear Masta Englis” and ends “Mi Koia” (I am Koia). The ANGAU war diary, March 1942, appendix C, (AWM 52 1/10/1) includes a detailed account of the disturbances in the Trobriands after the white officials withdrew. It is signed by Rarua Oala, and there is a reasonable chance that he in fact wrote it, rather than having a white official write it and read it, or a translation of it, to him for affirmation. Rarua was a medical assistant who had done a brief course at Sydney University, and he was more competent in English than nearly all other Papuans. In the same appendix the statement by Simon, a Papuan, is simply signed by his mark, an “X”, and presumably he talked to the Assistant Resident Magistrate, and the Magistrate wrote a summary and asked Simon to “sign”. In the ANGAU war diary for October 1943, appendix 48A, there is a report of narrow escape and violence by Sergeant Katue of the Papuan Infantry Battalion and it seems to be written in the English much closer to that of the standard military report than the language that Katue would have used. Appendix 123, June 1943, has “extracts taken from a statement given by Sgt Arwesor” to Lt G. Whittaker, and presumably translated by him.

Late in the war, and in the immediate postwar period, Papua New Guineans were often interviewed by Australians investigating suspected war crimes of the Japanese and other incidents such as inter-tribal fights that took place after Australian administration officials had withdrawn, or they consulted Papua New Guineans in their searches for soldiers and civilians whose fate was unknown. Taken down as statutory declarations, these now constitute one of the most extensive collections of surviving contemporary statements by Papua New Guineans about what happened to them in the war. Many are in the Australian War Memorial in the AWM 54 1010 series. The file cards are still a convenient way of making an initial survey of these rich documents. In AWM 54 1010/4151 Yuinjet of Kalabu village in the Maprik area of the Sepik District gives a very graphic account of a Japanese execution of a group of village men. One advantage of these documents is that the New Guineans giving statements were encouraged to make general comments about who they were. In AWM 54 1010/9/83 Iaburu says:
I am a native of BAGABONG near SAGANG on the Markham River in the SALAMAUA District on New Guinea mainland.
I am at present employed by the Government at Namatanai, New Ireland.
Prior to the Japanese invasion of New Ireland I was employed by Mr. A. PRIEBE on SAMO plantation on the East coast of New Ireland in the Namatanai District.
Immediately after the occupation of the Namatanai District, I, together with other New Guinea mainland natives left the plantation ....

The evidence of Itul, a woman, and of other men is similarly prefaced with biographical notes enabling a reader to build up a broader picture than just of the particular incident ( a flogging to death) that was the cause of the inquiry.

In the extensive transcripts of files of Japanese charged with war crimes the evidence of Papua New Guineans who worked with the Japanese, or were thought to be victims of Japanese crimes, is included, and again the witnesses provide general biographical statements. These files also have material on Indian, Malay and Chinese labourers who volunteered or were compelled to accompany the Japanese to New Guinea. See, for example, National Archives of Australia, Canberra, A471, 81652, 3 parts, on the trial of Lt General ADACHI for statements by Liun Yun of Canton and others. In A471 81030 (trial of Lt General Ito, Lt Colonel SAT , et al., in Rabaul in 1946), Bukei, Manus Islander and former cook of the Kavieng Club, describes working for the Kempeitai.

Recommendations for awards and rewards also provoked officers to write about Papua New Guineans. Many of these statements are about members of the army and the police and are therefore in files related to ANGAU and the Pacific Islands Regiment files. For example, in the National Archives of Australia, Victoria, MP 742/1, 81/1/1, 81/1/86, 81/1/516, 81/1/1163 there are general policy decisions on awards to Papua New Guinean soldiers and police, and in 81/1/1 there is the citation for Sgt Yauwiga who was with the coastwatcher Jack Read on Bougainville. When J.K. McCarthy wrote his report on the invasion of Manus in 1944, he included several recommendations for Native Loyalty Medals and appropriate police medals for several New Guineans (University of Papua New Guinea Library, McCarthy Papers, AL–118).

The ANGAU War Diary (AWM 52 1/10/1) has many appendices in which the conditions and experiences of Papua New Guineans are described. The regular reports of labour and health officers are obviously important. Those white officers in close and prolonged contact with Papua New Guineans, such as the coastwatchers, often wrote at length about the villagers among whom they were living and they wrote official reports on the Papua New Guinean police and soldiers who served with them. The two volumes of Allied Intelligence Bureau radio reports from Paul Mason and others on Bougainville have a dramatic immediacy in their illustration of the war that developed in advance of the actual arrival of Australian troops: villagers were forced to decide whether or not to desert the Japanese, and if they did, whether they would join the marauding groups more or less directed by the coastwatchers (AWM 423/9/35). The longer reports of coastwatchers and of M Special Force and other forces are also illuminating. Jack Read’s long (149 pages of single-spaced foolscap) report on Bougainville 1941–43 has a hand-written comment on it:
Though interesting it is, for a report, much too long-winded & I feel that the author might well have spent the time taken in compiling this history in work of a nature more calculated to win the war.

The historian can only be grateful that Read did write in such detail, and also wonder whether the person who wrote the comment was ever in as much danger as Read and whether he made anything like the significant contribution that Read did to the Allied war effort (National Archives of Australia, Victoria, MP 1254/26, Box 1–77).

The unit diaries of the Pacific Islands Regiment and their appendices are almost exclusively the products of the white officers, but they are also rich sources on Papua New Guineans. The Papuan Infantry Battalion Diary (AWM 52 8/4/4) has its first entry on 5 August 1940, long before there was any urgency, so the unit shifts from being very much a product of pre-war Papua, to war, and to a few months of the postwar period. The four New Guinea Infantry Battalions, of course, have separate diaries (8/4/5, 8/4/6, 8/4/15, 8/4/14) and so does the Pacific Islands Regiment (8/4/3). The many files generated by the Pacific Islands Regiment range from AWM 54 243/5/28 Defence Scheme for Papua in which there is discussion of recruiting Papuans to join the Heavy Battery in Port Moresby and AWM 54 243/5/25 Defence Scheme 8 Military District which examines employing Papuan and New Guinea police in defence, to the questions of compensation (e.g. Australian Archives Victoria, MP 742/1 66/1/915 “Compensation and rewards for natives for services rendered to AMF N.G., 1947–50”).

ANGAU patrol officers assumed the work of the pre-war field staff whenever time and conditions permitted. They were charged to write about conditions in the villages, and the reports by officers who were first to enter areas recently vacated by the Japanese or those making assessments for war damage compensation go into considerable detail. In their checking of the pre-war census in small villages the patrol officers often give details about the cost of war. In one of the first postwar patrols in the Sepik District, P.K. Moloney at Avatip in November 1946 noted that 40 men had been listed as away as indentured labourers in 1941. Of that 40, he said, 11 had later served with the Allied Intelligence Bureau or the New Guinea Infantry Battalion, 5 had worked for ANGAU, 12 had been trapped in Rabaul and survived the war under Japanese administration, 10 had died during the war, and 2 had been working in New Ireland and married New Ireland women from Namatanai and stayed there. In that list there was a compressed history of what had happened to many men of the age to go away to work or war (Angoram Patrol Reports, National Archives of PNG). The devastating population loss in the Bainings – much of it from disease – is revealed in the postwar reports from Kokopo. The patrol reports from along the south coast of Papua have less to do with the violence of war, but they are more frequent and they show the impact of heavy recruiting of men for war work and the influence of large nearby army camps on villages. See, for example, the patrol reports from Samarai.

The Canberra bureaucratic base of the civil administration of the Territories of Papua and New Guinea continued to operate throughout the war. In 1944 it was recreated as a separate Department of External Territories under Secretary, J.R. Halligan, and Minister, E.J. Ward; it had an uneasy relationship with the military. Many of its files are in the National Archives of Australia series A 518 and are held in Canberra. Two spring-back folders held in the public reading area of the archives list subject headings and particular files. The department retained, as far as it could, a concern for Papua New Guinean welfare. The following files are about conditions for Papua New Guinean labourers: A518 A 813/1/8 “Native labour general”; A 846/5/2 “Native labour (wages and conditions ...)”; AF 840/1/4 “Native ration scale”; O213/3/2 “Postwar reconstruction, General cancellation of native labour contracts.” Brian Jinks in his thesis, “Policy, planning and administration in Papua New Guinea, 1942–52, with special reference to the role of J.K. Murray”, PhD, Sydney University, 1975, leads readers through the conflicting forces of the time – and to the appropriate documents. He makes judicious comments on Alf Conlon and the Directorate of Research and Civil Affairs, the group concerned with postwar planning for Papua New Guinea. The papers of the directorate are fewer than expected, but critics of the directorate claim that this is because some members of the Directorate did more talking than writing.

While the sources noted here are only indicative, they do show that the archival documents have much to say about Papua New Guineans in the war, and that generally it has been a case of the written sources being under-utilised rather than those sources not containing material about Papua New Guineans. A.J. Leadley, “A history of the Japanese occupation of the New Guinea islands, and its effects, with special reference to the Tolai people of the Gazelle Peninsula,” MA thesis, University of Papua New Guinea, 1976, is an example of what may be done – and Leadley did not speak Japanese.

2. CIVILIAN AUSTRALIAN WOMEN AND CHILDREN

The decision to evacuate white women and children was difficult, long considered, finalised late, and the evacuation itself was rushed, but while distressing for many it almost certainly saved lives. A basic detailed four-part file is National Archives of Australia ACT A518 BJ 16/2/1 Evacuation of women and children, 1939–1941. The protracted debate was already under way by July 1940 when the Department of Defence Coordination warned that once hostilities began it would be impossible to evacuate women and children and so it recommended that all women and children and all civilian men not in essential occupations leave the Territories. That advice was not made public and a much more oblique message was given: people wanting to leave were not to be advised to stay but the government was not to be seen recommending that people leave. By early 1941 the Administrator in Port Moresby reported that “native buildings” had been erected inland of Port Moresby so that in the event of emergency people could be shifted from the town. Similar shelters were built near Rabaul in gullies cut in the recent volcanic ash falls. From mid-1941 women and children in New Guinea were being encouraged to leave, but officials were warned to “avoid anything in the nature of a panic.”

One result of the incremental evacuation decisions was that government officers compiled lists of those who might need to be evacuated. The surviving list from Rabaul aggregates numbers in different locations: 7 women and 9 children on Manus, 37 women and 14 children at Salamaua, and so on. But the Papuan list names each adult woman (except nuns), gives the number of children and shows the relationship of the woman to a man. The list therefore shows that Mrs Alice Simpson, wife of a clerk, with two children, was living on Misima; Edith Twyford, mission nurse, no male relative, was working in the d’Entrecasteaux Islands. The lists are valuable social documents giving a complete account of the white women, their occupations and their location in families. It is significant that there are several independent women e.g. Janett Cowling who with her eighteen year old daughter Sharett was running a plantation in the Western Province; Margaret Sinclair was a planter, no male relative, on Yule Island; Lorna Dalziell, clerk, no male relative, on Samarai; and the four Cooper sisters, no male relative, also lived on Samarai. In October 1941 the totals to be evacuated were: 487 women and 202 children in Papua, and 1046 women and 379 children in New Guinea.

In November 1941 the detailed plans for evacuation had been drawn up and some women temporarily in Australia were refused permission to go to Papua and New Guinea, but the government still relied on voluntary evacuation. On 5 December 1941 women and children were advised to evacuate in a notice published in the Papuan Courier. After Pearl Harbour the War Cabinet initially decided that there would not be a compulsory evacuation, then quickly reversed its decision and said the women and children would have to go. Many questions immediately became urgent. Who would be on the scarce ships and aeroplanes: half-caste women? half-caste women married to Europeans? half-caste women employed by Europeans? Chinese women? If mission women were allowed to stay did this include all wives of missionaries? Nurses (mission, military and civil) were to be allowed to stay, but were any other women thought to be in special employment categories? Were women who were of enemy or neutral nationality to be included? What degree of compulsion was to be used? The Administrator in Port Moresby, Leonard Murray, suggested all persuasion short of force. How much luggage? (In the event, it was thirty pounds for an adult and fifteen for a child.)

In the days just before Christmas the evacuation of the women and children was at its height. Three main ships were used, the Katoomba, Machhui, and Neptuna; and many women went by small ship or aeroplane to assembly points, or all the way to Australia, and some walked vast distances before they could be picked up at isolated airstrips. One group, including Chinese women and children, the youngest just one year old, walked for two months from Wewak before they reached safety and were brought into Port Moresby.

Once they reached Australia the evacuees faced further problems. Some Lutheran mission women landed in Cairns then spent day after day on the train before they reached the security of the Lutheran community in Adelaide. Some women, with no relatives and no bank accounts in Australia, were entirely dependent on government or private charity. Most women had left husbands behind, and they were uncertain what had happened to them. Many from the north coast and islands of New Guinea learnt nothing about the fate of their husbands for two months or more, and then all they knew was that their husbands had been in the path of the Japanese invasion, and might or might not have been taken prisoner. Those men who were in, and known to be in, the New Guinea Volunteer Rifles or ANGAU, could make provision for their families through the army pay system. The wives of government officers, missionaries and employees of large firms with Australian headquarters such as the Bank of New South Wales or Burns Philp had obvious places where they could go for financial and other support. But many women were the wives of independent businessmen, planters, miners and traders who had no resources and no institutional support in Australia. For the rest of the war some families were dependent on government assistance, and nearly all women retained some association with the government.

In addition to the basic file (A518 DS 16/2/1) there are several other territories files in the A518 series, e.g. CK 16/2/1 “Evacuation of males”; CM 16/2/1 “Evacuation of women and children from British Solomon Islands including Bougainville Island”; DS 16/2/1 “Civilians detained by Japanese” 2 Parts; EN 16/2/1 “Advice received from New Guinea Force re evacuation of civilians”. As Frederick Shedden, Secretary of the Department of Defence, etc., was involved in the decision to evacuate civilians, his papers, together with those of the Department of Defence Coordination, and of the War Cabinet, are relevant e.g. A2670 36/42 “War Cabinet Minutes, evacuation of civilians from Mandated Territory” (see also Horner, Inside the War Cabinet, 1996, Appendix D). The Australian War Memorial holds files: AWM 54 183/5/4 “List of Evacuees from Wau 1942”; and AWM 60 R38/42 “Escapees ex Rabaul”. Commonwealth departments, especially in Queensland (BP9/1 “Personal particulars of New Guinea Evacuees ... Collector of Customs Brisbane”) and New South Wales, were concerned with the welfare of the evacuees. The National Archives of Australia NSW has several valuable files: SP350/2 “Correspondence re evacuation and subsequent return of New Guinea residents”; and SP 423/5 “Personnel files of administrative personnel, residents, evacuees from New Guinea.” The National Archives of Papua New Guinea has files of correspondence within Papua (as opposed to correspondence to and from Australia) but much of the equivalent material from New Guinea has been lost. Some of this can be recovered from private collections e.g. papers of Walter Ramsay McNicoll, AL–114, University of Papua New Guinea. See also Ronald McNicoll, Walter Ramsay McNicoll 1877–1947, 15 copies privately published, Melbourne, 1973.

The missions were in correspondence with the government over the general policy on evacuation as well as over particular people. The government end of much mission correspondence is in National Archives of Australia ACT, A518 P 838/1 “Missions – New Guinea, Mission of the Sacred Heart”; and V838/1, W838/1, Y838/1 etc. for other missions. Those missions with enemy nationals in their ranks had the most difficult and sustained debates with the government as they were worried about the internment of staff (see H. Nelson, “Loyalties at sword-point: the Lutheran missionaries in wartime New Guinea, 1939–45”, The Australian journal of politics and history, 24:2, (1978), pp. 199–217).

In addition to the books noted in the above section, “Writing on and by women,” Arthur Afflect wrote a brief account of the evacuation in The wandering years, Longman, Melbourne, 1964. Afflect, of the Department of Civil Aviation, was sent north to organise the evacuation of those women and children being flown out:
My most flagrant breach of the regulations was to put 53 souls on a 21-seater DC 3. Every adult had a seat and a belt, and held at least one child; several half-grown children were arranged two to a seat, with a belt fastened around both, and tiny babies, and some not so tiny, were carried in baskets and cribs placed at the feet of adults.
By this means we were able to move 732 people to Cairns, from all over New Guinea, in eight days ....

Jim Sinclair, Wings of gold: how the aeroplane developed New Guinea, Pacific Publications, Sydney, 1978, has a summary of the part played by aircraft in the evacuation. Afflect and Sinclair are reminders that the movement of people was carried out by civil authorities and so the records of the Department of Civil Aviation and other sections of civil government would have generated files. The Neptuna, Macdhui, Matafele and Lakatoi were all Burns Philp ships used with and without the willing cooperation of the company, and company staff on ships and in stores and on plantations were involved, there Burns Philp may have records.

The private papers, like the official records, are almost all written by men. But the reminiscences and letters of E.L. Gordon Thomas (Pacific Manuscripts Bureau, 36 and 600 microfilms, and Mitchell Library MSS 1425); J.B.O. Mouton correspondence (PMB 603); and others say much about the times and the way in which decisions were taken. Margaret Reeson has shown in her book Whereabouts unknown, and in her MA thesis in history at ANU 1996 (“A very long war: the experiences of the families of the missing men of the New Guinea islands, 1942–1945”) that in the process of research – interviewing women, looking at photograph albums, and collections of letters – the historian discovers and generates sources. It is not just a case of a woman bringing a different perspective to records written by men.

The lack of a comprehensive history of what happened to women in the war in Papua and New Guinea is part of a general neglect of civilians in the Australian Territories. There is no account of the administration of the peoples of Papua New Guinea through the war years, and there is no detailed accounting of what happened to the white civilian men who were in private enterprise, government and the missions in January 1942. A.J. Sweeting’s “Civilian wartime experiences in the Territories of Papua and New Guinea”, Appendix 2 in Paul Hasluck, The government and the people 1942–1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1970, remains the only readily available history of events on New Ireland, Manus, Wau, Samarai and several other places where civilians suddenly found themselves on battlefields of a world war.

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