New Ireland Province
New Ireland Province takes in the 360 kilometre long main island that stretches to the north and east of New Britain, as well as the chain of tiny islands further out into the Pacific Ocean, including Mussau, Emirau, and the Tabar Group.
Its administrative headquarters is at Kavieng, situated at the north of the main island, and in 1941 the first impact of the War came when a small detachment of Australian soldiers was stationed there. When the Japanese invaded in January 1942, the tiny Australian garrison was swept aside, ushering in nearly four years of Japanese occupation.
At first, the people of New Ireland mostly found the Japanese presence to have been relatively light. Japanese language schools were established and the structures of civilian administration were maintained. Japanese aircraft based at Kavieng and Namatanai carried out missions against US forces in the Solomon Islands. However, as the War progressed, the situation became increasingly difficult for the New Irelanders.
The Japanese military police, or kenpeitai, pursued anyone suspected of aiding the Allies and dealt with them harshly. As the Japanese became increasingly isolated, the people were forced to grow food for the occupiers and any perceived resistance met with imprisonment, beatings, and executions. With the American landings at Torokina in Bougainville, the front line came closer to New Ireland, and the Allied occupation of Nissan and Emirau meant that air raids and attacks on Japanese shipping and coastal installations became more frequent.
Although an Allied invasion was anticipated in early 1944, the Japanese occupation continued until the War’s end in September 1945.
Pauline Ayuk and Tokamit Loko - Oral History interview recorded on 02 April 2017 at Lakurumau, New Ireland Province
Francis Jossan and Paparas Mokis - Oral History interview recorded on 16 May 2017 at Luburua, New Ireland,PNG
Demas Malvu Kavavu - Oral History interview recorded on 16 May 2017 at Kavieng, New Ireland Province
Epineri Panambung - Oral History interview recorded on 02 April 2017 at Belifu, New Ireland Province
Salatiel Suap and Joseph Lamangau - Oral History interview recorded on 31 March 2017 at Lavabat, New Ireland Province
Mr Lamangau tells of how he heard about Aisoli Salin when he was a student; he also found Aisoli's book…
John Yip and John Mark - Oral History interview recorded on 16 May 2017 at Kavieng, New Ireland Province
Mr John Mark tells stories about his uncle's involvement in World War II; his uncle helped the Americans and was based in Emira.