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    Bitapaka War Cemetery (Rabaul War Cemetery) East New Britain Province PNG
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David Paulley 1982

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Click For Enlargement
Justin Taylan 2000

Location
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"

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 during that Battle of Bitapaka September 11, 1914 were the first buried at Bitapaka:
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) 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. Today, it is maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC).

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.

References
CWGC - Rabaul (Bita Paka) War Cemetery

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Last Updated
January 9, 2018

 

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