Pacific Wrecks
Pacific Wrecks    
  Missing In Action (MIA) Prisoners Of War (POW) Unexploded Ordnance (UXO)  
Chronology Locations Aircraft Ships Submit Info How You Can Help Donate
    Bitapaka War Cemetery (Rabaul War Cemetery) East New Britain Province PNG
Click For Enlargement
Click For Enlargement
David Paulley 1982

Click For Enlargement
Click For Enlargement
Justin Taylan 2000

Bitapaka War Cemetery (Rabaul War Cemetery) is located at Batapaka (Bita Paka) in East New Britain Province in Papua New Guinea (PNG). Also spelled "Bita Paka War Cemetery". Today, it is maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC). In total, the cemetery includes 648 identified graves plus unknown burials.

World War I History
During the Battle at Bita Paka on September 11, 1914, one German and about 30 Melanesians were killed, and one German and 10 Melanesians wounded; 19 Germans and 56 Melanesians were captured. Six Australians were killed and five wounded. The dead were buried at Bita Paka, their graves forming what would later become the Bita Paka War Cemetery.

World War I Graves
The six Australians killed September 11, 1914 during the Battle of Bitapaka were the first buried at this cemetery:
Able Seaman William G. V. "Billy' Williams, AN&MEF - AA. B. 3.
Able Seaman John Courtney (alias, John E. Walker), RAN, AA. A. 5
Captain Brian C. A. Pockley, Australian Army - AA. A. 1
Able Seaman John E. Walker, AN&MEF - AA. A. 5
Able Seaman H. W. Street, AN&MEF - AA. A. 15
Lt. Commander Charles B. Elwell, Royal Navy - AA, A, 11

Memorial to AE-1
This memorial is dedicated to the crew of Royal Australian Navy (RAN) E-Class Submarine HMAS AE-1 (AE1) missing in action off Rabaul on September 14, 1914 without a out a trace. All hands went missing. The circumstances of its loss has never been determined and the submarine has never been found.

World War II History
During 1945 after the Australian Army occupation of the Rabaul area, the Bitapaka War Cemetery was established by the Australian Grave Services.

Tablets to the Unknown (Rabaul Memorial)
Several large tablets and a memorial list the names of the unknowns memorialized at the cemetery, without headstones. Also known as the "Rabaul Memorial".

The graves and tall plaques that list the missing in action and buried dead are silent reminders to the brutal Japanese occupation, that used its prisoners as slave labor, or shamelessly killed them in atrocious crimes or even used them for bayoneted practice. Many of the plaques on the ground read simply the quote: "Known Unto God" as many remains were buried in mass graves by the Japanese and impossible to identify.

There are graves of British, Pakistani, Nurses, Papuans, Indians, Fijians, Muslims and Allied airmen who were either captured in Rabaul, or transported to Rabaul as prisoner labor. Also, the age of the deceased 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21. There are also Victoria Cross recipients buried here.

CWGC - Rabaul (Bita Paka) War Cemetery

Contribute Information
Do you have photos or additional information to add?

Last Updated
February 13, 2019


  Discussion Forum Daily Updates Reviews Museums Interviews & Oral Histories  
Pacific Wrecks Inc. All rights reserved.
Donate Now Facebook Twitter YouTube Google Plus Instagram