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Guadalcanal as a British Protectorate

Discussion in 'General' started by Dave55, Nov 10, 2010.

  1. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA

    Where there any British civilians or military people on Guadalcanal when the Japanese landed in May, 1942.

    I know that it was part of the Solomon Islands Protectorate but I've never read about any British people on it, There seems to be quite a bit of information available on some of the other islands in the Solomon chain but the only things I know about Guadalcanal before May 42 is when the first Spanish explorers landed.

    Thanks,

    Dave
     
  2. spider

    spider Very Senior Member

    The Japanese landed at Tulagi, the administrative capital, on the 3 May 1942, the day before RAAF and AIF troops were evacuated by lugger to Vila and then onto Australia.

    The civilians and Government officials were evacuated earlier once Rabaul was captured and was ongoing till just before the Japanese landed at Tulagi and was serviced by flying boats and ship.

    Those that voluntary remained became coastwatchers.

    At that time Guadalcanal was not the administrative centre and a few of the planter remained. Guadalcanal was the site of the Japanese airfield and thus the centre of allied interest.
     

    Attached Files:

  3. spider

    spider Very Senior Member

    [FONT=&quot]Sea Escape from Tulagi[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]A leaky old copra schooner provided the escape medium from Tulagi, the seat of the government of the British Solomon Islands Protectorate, when the Japanese approach drove the meteorological observer and other members of the RAAF from the secret advanced operational base established there. Actually the base was on the nine acre island of Tanambago, about three miles to the south-east of Tulagi, where FO (later Sqn Ldr J. L. Williams and Sgt (later Fl Sgt) T. E. Hore arrived to set up a weather station in late September 1941. At the outset their duties were to supply meteorological information to the Catalinas engaged on reconnaissance flights from Port Moresby, but after the entry of Japan into the war these were increased greatly as the Tanambago base came more and more into use. [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Japanese long-range Kawanisi flying boats began to bomb the area in January 1942 but they were at a disadvantage initially through lack of certainty as to which island housed the RAAF base. Naturally every attempt was made by the Australians to encourage the belief that the establishment was on Tulagi—a task that involved filling in bomb craters, flying the Union Jack from the Commissioner's residence, leaving empty oil drums on the wharves, hanging washing from lines and anchoring small boats around the Tulagi jetties—so that for a time the enemy was deceived. Before long, however, their chief attention was devoted to Tanambago and Gavutu, an 11 acre island linked by a 200 yard causeway, where a small detachment of AIF commandos was in possession. [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]About this time FO Williams was transferred from the island, leaving Sgt Hore as the single weather man at Tanambago, charged with carrying out standard observations and supplying reports to the Catalinas, plus special hourly reports to Townsville when cyclones appeared. [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]However, the days of operation for this base were numbered. As the Japanese forces moved down through the Solomons from Rabaul their bombing and strafing raids became more frequent. Twice Sgt Hore returned from a slit trench to find mercury all over the floor of the meteorological office, when a nearby bomb blast had so increased the air pressure that it was forced through the top of the barometer, and after almost every raid it was necessary to renew the barograph charts because of ink thrown everywhere by the madly oscillating pen. By April the enemy had occupied the New Georgia group of islands, a few hundred miles to the northwest of Tanambago, and it was apparent that Tulagi and its satellites would be next. On 2 May 1942 the Japanese began to bomb and strafe the area with monotonous regularity, beginning each day about dawn. Since the Catalinas reported an enemy convoy headed for Tulagi it was decided to destroy what was left of the base on Tanambago and make for Florida, a comparatively big island lying adjacent. An hour and a half later the enemy landed on Tulagi. [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Once on Florida the RAAF party divided into two detachments, one under the charge of Sgt Hore, making for Dende Bay on the other side of the island. It was pitch dark, with heavy rain, as the unhappy men pushed on through the tropical jungle, crossing several creeks known to be crocodile-infested, with the natural result that many became lost. Sgt Hore was accompanied by only two of his original party of 15 when the rendezvous was reached, but ultimately all members arrived. Then followed another long wait for the second detachment, which had also lost its way, before boarding the old copra schooner, Balus, owned by W. R. Carpenter & Company, the island traders, which had been camouflaged and hidden amid the mangroves some time previously when the fall of Tanambago seemed imminent. Balus is the local native word for pigeon, or big bird, but the name was a singularly inapt one. The old vessel was about 60 feet long by 12 feet wide, built high forward and aft with about two and a half feet freeboard where the copra hold was located, but it had an experienced master in Captain Charles Bird, an employee of W. R. Carpenter & Company, and also a native crew, while a good stock of tinned rations had previously been built-up in the hold. [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Time was precious as the vessel had to get away and be under cover again before daylight, so all speed was made for Guadalcanal, where the Balus was anchored close to shore in a small inlet. Fortunately, it rained all the next day, thereby reducing the risk of observation from the air, and that night the RAAF men pushed on for the mission station on the southern tip of the island, where they were joined by the AIF members from Gavutu, who had made the journey in small boats. On the following night the schooner, packed to the limit because of the 30 soldiers taken aboard, stood out for San Christobal, but engine trouble developed and reduced speed to about half, so that daylight found the Balus several miles from its objective and under a cloudless sky. Prayers went up from everyone aboard that no enemy planes would appear, but they were in vain. Before long a Japanese flying boat appeared, passing the schooner at 1000 feet, but for some unknown reason withholding attack. Probably the decrepit state of the vessel, combined with the fact that only the natives were in sight, convinced the enemy pilot that it was only an island trading schooner, but whatever the reason the Balus reached San Christobal safely. Once there it was decided not to camouflage the ship, for to do so would have invited suspicion in view of the earlier encounter, and when two Zero float planes approached later to inspect the schooner from about 100 feet all the white men were safely hidden ashore. [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]So far so good, but the major troubles began after clearing San Christobal since there was no map aboard the Balus and no means of navigating other than a compass. It was decided to run for the middle of the New Hebrides, hoping that there would not be too much drift either to north or south, and for several days the small vessel bobbed about in the Pacific with her navigators completely at a loss to know where they were. The trade winds were fairly howling and the open sea was far too rough for the poor old Balus which did everything but sink. Water poured over the low sides of the schooner, which was making very little headway, and almost everyone aboard was seasick, making the crowded conditions almost unbearable. [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]One of the few not affected by the motion of the ship was Sgt Hore, whose knowledge of meteorology stood the men in good stead, Sgt Hore reasoned that large Cumulus cloud would not develop over the sea during the day in the south-easterly stream, except in frontal zones, but would build up in daylight hours over the land. Thus, when the captain conjectured that the New Hebrides must be close at hand despite adverse winds and seas he offered to climb as high as possible in the schooner about 10 o'clock in the morning to search the horizon for land. Sure enough, away to the east he discerned the unmistakable cumuliform tops over the stratocumulus over the sea. [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Course was changed and before long a mountain range came into view. Spirits rose rapidly, even among the seasick men, and eventually the Balus reached the land, which proved to be the west coast of the island of Espiritu Santo. The cumulus cloud first observed by Sgt Hore probably had developed on the windward side of the mountain range on the island. [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]From this stage onward the trip was uneventful. The Balus proceeded by easy stages through the New Hebrides to Vila, where Sgt Hore was warmly welcomed by the two Australian weather men stationed there—FO (later Sqn Ldr) B. Mason and Sgt (later FO) G. R. Martin.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]War History of the Australian Meteorological Service in the Royal Australian Air Force April 1941 to July 1946[/FONT][FONT=&quot][/FONT]
     
  4. spider

    spider Very Senior Member

    Coastwatchers' Memorial

    The Coastwatchers are remembered by this memorial located at Madang, Papua New Guinea. It was at this location where Coastwatchers made the first sighting of Japanese forces in December 1941 when large flying boats were spotted off the coast.
    [​IMG]
    Coastwatchers' Memorial, Madang, Papua New Guinea.
     
  5. chrisharley9

    chrisharley9 Senior Member

    14 member of the Solomon Islands Defence Force lost their lives during WW2 so they obviously did something; this figure includes their CO.

    Name:BENGOUGHInitials:C N FNationality:United KingdomRank:Lieutenant ColonelRegiment/Service:Solomon Islands Defence ForceAge:36Date of Death:24/07/1943Additional information:Bengough was the Officer Commanding the British Solomon Islands Protectorate Defence Force and Resident Commissioner. He was the most senior British officer to die during the Solomon Islands campaign.Casualty Type:Commonwealth War DeadGrave/Memorial Reference:Panel 10.Memorial:BOURAIL MEMORIAL

    Also not to be forgotten are the 133 members of the Solomon Islands Labour Corps who lost their lives during WW2
     
  6. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER

    14 member of the Solomon Islands Defence Force lost their lives during WW2 so they obviously did something; this figure includes their CO.

    Name:BENGOUGHInitials:C N FNationality:United KingdomRank:Lieutenant ColonelRegiment/Service:Solomon Islands Defence ForceAge:36Date of Death:24/07/1943Additional information:Bengough was the Officer Commanding the British Solomon Islands Protectorate Defence Force and Resident Commissioner. He was the most senior British officer to die during the Solomon Islands campaign.Casualty Type:Commonwealth War DeadGrave/Memorial Reference:Panel 10.Memorial:BOURAIL MEMORIAL

    Also not to be forgotten are the 133 members of the Solomon Islands Labour Corps who lost their lives during WW2

    You would find this book a very interesting read.
    Alone on Guadalcanal: A Coastwatcher ... - Google Books


    Some info here on the Coastwatchers however it details Bengough as a Captain.
    A quote from the book
    "Norman Benbough had to put up with me for two years as his assistant. He was not worried at all by the Japanese on Malaita, but in April 1943, while acting as resident commissioner, he went on a reconnaissance in a RNZAF Hudson bomber and it was shot down with the loss of all hands. Bengough was a hard working conscientous officer , and his presence would be missed."
     
  7. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER

    In the previous post I said that the Hudson of Bengough was lost with all hands. On further investigation it seems the book was correct and all were reported missing however there were events after the crash.

    Only one survivor and here is his story.

    Bengough is listed here as Lt Colonel.

    Trevor Ganley
     
  8. spider

    spider Very Senior Member

    From Wikipedia,
    The British Solomon Islands Protectorate Defence Force (BSIPDF) was the British colonial military force of the British Solomon Islands Protectorate. The Solomon Islands has not had military forces since it achieved independence from Britain in 1976. Although the BSIPDF was very small, it played a significant role in the Solomon Islands campaign of World War II.
    Officers born in the United Kingdom usually led BSIPDF troops. The BSIPDF was commanded by the Solomon Islands' Resident Commissioner. During the Pacific War of 1942–45, 680 indigenous Solomon Islanders enlisted in the BSIPDF and served in battles such as the Battle of Guadalcanal, alongside Allied forces, fighting the Empire of Japan. (Another 2,000 enrolled in the separate Solomon Islands Labour Corps.) Allied Coastwatchers in the Solomon Islands often cooperated with or served alongside BSIPDF personnel during operations throughout the Solomon Islands campaign.
    Prominent members of the BSIPDF included:

    • Sir David Clive Crosbie Trench, MC, U.S. Legion of Merit
    • Martin Clemens CBE, MC, AM
    • Sir Jacob Vouza, MBE, GM, U.S. Silver Star, U.S. Legion of Merit
    Those listed on the BOURAIL MEMORIAL are:
    Lt Col Bengough (UK)
    Capt R S Taylor (UK)
    Cpl ETE
    Pte KOBAKA
    Pte KUDILI
    Pte MALAKAI
    Pte MANASA
    Pte KUKUTI
    Scout LAPI
    Scout LEE
    S/man BILIKENI
    S/man JACK
     
  9. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA

    Thanks all.

    Great information.
     
  10. spider

    spider Very Senior Member

    Bourail Memorial New Caledonia
     

    Attached Files:

  11. idler

    idler GeneralList Patron

    Doesn't the HMSO book Among Those Present deal with this neck of the woods?
     
  12. idler

    idler GeneralList Patron

    Double post...
     
  13. spider

    spider Very Senior Member

    Doesn't the HMSO book Among Those Present deal with this neck of the woods?

    Cheers for the book tip..........got a copy on order.
     
  14. spider

    spider Very Senior Member

    Memorial plaque at Henderson


    [​IMG]







     
  15. spider

    spider Very Senior Member

    Cheers for the book tip..........got a copy on order.

    This is a great book with some previously unseen photos (by me anyway)
     
  16. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER

    Memorial plaque at Henderson


    [​IMG]









    Although I have been to Henderson many times, I can't remember seeing this plaque though most times it was in transit at 0300 on my way to Kiribati (Tarawa).
     
  17. spider

    spider Very Senior Member

    Although I have been to Henderson many times, I can't remember seeing this plaque though most times it was in transit at 0300 on my way to Kiribati (Tarawa).

    The plaques are outside the new terminal, also there are 3? inside the domestic (or old terminal).

    There is also now a memorial garden at Henderson.

    Once I dig up some more of my old photos I will post (if interested) :)
     
  18. spider

    spider Very Senior Member

    Attached Files:

  19. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER

    Post away Spider. As I said I lost all of mine when my computer crashed a few years ago.
     
  20. spider

    spider Very Senior Member

    LUNGA, GUADALCANAL, SOLOMON ISLANDS. 1943-10-13. (?1945). LIEUTENANT COMMANDER I. PRYCE-JONES, ROYAL AUSTRALIAN NAVY VOLUNTEER, PRESENTING SERGEANT YAUWIKA (YAWIKA), A NATIVE POLICEMAN OF THE BRITISH SOLOMON ISLANDS PROTECTORATE DEFENCE FORCE, WITH THE LOYAL SERVICE (NEW GUINEA POLICE FORCE) MEDAL. NOTE THE STRIPES TAPED TO HIS BARE ARM TO SHOW HIS RANK IN THE NATIVE CONSTABULARY. HE WAS CHIEF COASTWATCHING SCOUT ON BOUGAINVILLE. THE PRESENTATION IS BEING MADE IN FRONT OF NATIVE SCOUTS AND ALLIED INTELLIGENCE BUREAU (COASTWATCHERS) PERSONNEL. THE EUROPEANS INCLUDE SUB LIEUTENANTS M. J. C. STUART AND A. M. ANDERSEN, LIEUTENANTS H. MARSDEN, BEAUMONT, R. S. BASTIN, T. SEXTON, A. S. MACDONALD AND L. A. WALKER. THEY WERE ALL MEMBERS OF THE NAVAL INTELLIGENCE DIVISION, RAN, (RESPONSIBLE FOR THE COASTWATCHERS). PRYCE-JONES WAS THE DEPUTY SUPERVISING INTELLIGENCE OFFICER, SOLOMON ISLANDS.


    http://cas.awm.gov.au/screen_img/306831

     

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