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