9° 5' 60S Long 160° 9' 0E Tulagi Island is part of the Florida
Island Group, north of Iron Bottom Sound and Guadalcanal. Tulagi Harbor is the anchorage to the east and Macambo Island. Japanese called the location "Tsuragi".
The British colonial government was based
here prior to WWII, fleeing before the Japanese arrived. A small number
of Japanese worked on Tulagi prior to the war, in Marine industries. There was a strong suspicion of
Japanese "yellow peril" leading up to the war and what the Japanese
were doing in the mandated islands so the British watched them fairly
closely. A coast watcher, Gordon Train (married to Vera Atkinson) stayed behind on Tulagi and was lost on a flight to the Shortland Island, to warn of the imminent invasion.
The Japanese 3rd
Kure Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF) landed on Tulagi to establish
a seaplane base there (on the adjacent islands of Gavutu and Tanambogo) without
resistance on May 3, 1942 and garrisoned it, and
established a seaplane base at nearby Gavutu (also referred
to as Tulagi Seaplane base) in the area.
Seaplane Base (Gavutu, Gabutsu)
Prewar seaplane base used by RAAF and British. Occupied by the Japanese, liberated by Marines.
American missions against Tulagi
May 4 - August 7, 1942
Liberated as the first phase
of the Guadalcanal campaign, by
Corps on August 7, 1942 meeting fierce resistance from the
Japanese defenders. By nightfall of the following
day, Tulagi was declared secure, but for several days,
and small groups continued to be flushed from hiding places and hunted
down by patrolling
Three U.S. Cemeteries were established on Tulagi: USN & USMC Cemetery #1 (White Beach), USN & USMC Cemetery #2 (Police Barracks) and USN & USMC Cemetery #3 (Chinese Barracks). Later, these graves were exhumed and transported to American Cemetery Guadalcanal.
After the war, the of colonial government moved to Honiara to utilize the infrastructure left by American forces. Tulagi became a quite provincial capital. The facilities left in the area by the US Navy are still used to this day, with pontoons and overhaul areas on the island still used for small craft.
Located on the northeastern portion of the island. Waritme PT Boat base.
On August 7, 1942 at 08:00, two battalions of U.S. Marines, including the 1st Raider Battalion under Lieutenant Colonel Merritt A. Edson (Edson's Raiders), and the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines (2/5) made an unopposed landing on the western shore of Tulagi at "Blue Beach". Not a single landing craft of the first
wave was able
them hung up on coral at distances from 30 to well over 100 yards
from the beach line, and the assault personnel waded ashore against
through water initially from waist to armpit deep, and immediately
occupied the high ground of the ridges. Today, the Anglican (Episcopalian)
church of the Central Province (Tulagi and the Floridas) is located at this location. View of Blue Beach Eastward and Blue Beach Westward.
District Residence House
Located on one of the higher ridges on the island, only the original staircase and stair posts remain. The house was rebuilt post war, and was abandoned in 2003.
This high ground was the main Japanese defensive position and headquarters on Tulagi, with tunnels and fighting positions built in the area. After the battle, Americans also defended this hill with machine guns for anti-aircraft defense.
Roadcut (The Cutting)
This prewar roadcut into one of the ridges was heavily defended by the Japanese, who built cover into its side walls, most of these are covered over with sediment.
One entrance is located on an overgrown hillside. It opens into a deceivingly large tunnel area inside. Another is located on the Catholic church property, this tunnel has two entrances The second entrance is partially filled.
Thanks to Ewan Stevenson, Peter Flahavin and John Innes for additional information.
Do you have photos or additional information to add?
May 3, 2016