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Merle Farland
Methodist Nurse in the Solomon Islands

Click For EnlargementNew Zealander Merle Farland was formally a piano teacher who became a nurse during the Great Depression. During 1938, she was assigned to the Solomon Islands as a Methodist missionary.

In 1942, when civilians were evacuated from the Solomons, she decided to say at her post at Bilua village on Vella LaVella, and was 36 years old. During the Japanese occupation, She aided coastwatcher Jack Keenan and Henry Josselyn and assisted the crew of B-17F 41-24531.

On December 3, 1942, it was requested that she relocate to Segi. Using a native canoe she arrived on December 6, 1942. There, she assisted coastwatcher Donald Kennedy, operating his teleradio. The first message she received was ordering her to be evacuated. Regardless, on December 16, 1942 assisted another B-17 crew.

On December 20, 1942 a U. S. Navy PBY Catalina from VP-91 piloted by Paschal that landed at Segi, withdrawing Farland, 13 Solomon Island Police (SIP) and fourteen Japanese Prisoners of War (POWs) flying them to Tulagi Seaplane Base.

U. S. Navy PBY Catalina from VP-91 piloted by Paschal landed at Segi, withdrawing Farland, 13 S.I.P. and fourteen Japanese prisoners, returning them to "Ringbolt" Florida Islands near Tulagi.

Based on her sudden appearance in the American base and her vague resemblance to a famous aviatrix, a false rumor began that she was Amelia Earhart. This myth was repeated by some veterans.

References
Lonely Vigil page 112-115, 117, 138-139, 144

 

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