Australian War Memorial - AJRP

Home | About | Database | Research | Maps | Sitemap | Search | Links | Thanks | Translations | What's New | Japanese

Item title: Use of coolies by Japanese
Title (kanji)
Location:Australian War Memorial (AWM55 12/6)
View information about obtaining a copy of this document
AJRP details
AJRP module: Australian War Memorial official records
AJRP series: Allied Translator and Interpreter Section (ATIS) publications
AJRP sub-series: ATIS research reports
AJRP folder:
Location details
Institution: Australian War Memorial
Call number: AWM55 12/6
Inst. series: AWM55
Inst. sub-series: AWM55 12/-
Item: RR-25
Item qualities
Quantity / desc: 3 pages
Access: Open
Item type: Unpublished, Official
Category: Information report
Item content
Creation date (d/m/y): 23/7/1943
Conflict code: Pacific War (1941-1945)
Australian unit names:
Allied unit names:
Japanese unit names:
Languages: English
Area:New Guinea [Melanesia (PNG, Irian Jaya & Solomon Islands)]
Papua [Melanesia (PNG, Irian Jaya & Solomon Islands)]
Soputa [Melanesia (PNG, Irian Jaya & Solomon Islands), Papua, Owen Stanley Range, Buna Area]
Salamaua [Melanesia (PNG, Irian Jaya & Solomon Islands), New Guinea, Mubo–Salamaua Area]
New Britain [Melanesia (PNG, Irian Jaya & Solomon Islands), Bismarck Archipelago]
Rabaul [Melanesia (PNG, Irian Jaya & Solomon Islands), Bismarck Archipelago, New Britain, Rabaul Area]
Content: This is an Allied Translator and Interpreter Section (ATIS) research report on the use of native labour in Japanese occupied territory. The enquiry was received on 23 July 1943 and an answer despatched on 26 July 1943. The enquirer asked for information on the formation of native transport units in occupied territories, how they were organised, recruited, paid and treated. Based on information from enemy publications, interrogation reports, bulletins and current translations, the report stated that while there was little evidence of dedicated "coolie" transport units, natives were used to supplement Japanese transport units. It contains information on rations allocated to native bearers, the importance of maintaining morale among labourers, what type of material bearers were allowed to carry and the attitude of natives towards the Japanese in Soputa. Of interest is a reference to the transport of 200 native carriers from New Britain to Buna on 23 August 1942 and a further 155 to Salamaua on 28 August 1942, on the assumption that New Guinean labourers from another region were less inclined to desert.

The research contained in this report related to the early part of the New Guinea campaigns during the advances towards Port Moresby in July and August 1942. Rations – by comparison to the later stages of the war – were relatively high and some measure of benevolence could be shown towards the New Guinean bearers and villages. Morale, too, was relatively strong. The treatment afforded to local people, however, differed from region to region and to at what stage of the war Japanese forces encountered the local population.
Other information
Last modified:03/05/2009 09:06:33 AM
Source:AJRP staff

The AJRP has wound up its activities at the Memorial for the moment.
Please contact the relevant officer of the Australian War Memorial for assistance.
Internet implementation by Fulton Technology and AJRP staff .
Visit the Australian War Memorial home page.
Visit the award-winning web-site of the Australian War Memorial