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    Nuguria Island Group Autonomous Region of Bougainville Papua New Guinea (PNG)
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M Freeman 1944

Location
Lat 3° 19' 60S Long 154° 45' 0E  The Nuguria Island Group (Nuguria Atoll) is located at the northernmost tip of the Solomon Islands chain.  Located approximately 50 miles northeast of Rabaul. Include Nugarba Island (Nugava, Paobau), Peiti Island (Wreck Island) and the Malum Islands. At the center of the atoll is Nuguria lagoon.

Wartime History
Nuguria was located along the aerial ferry route for Japanese aircraft flying from Truk to Rabaul. The Japanese did not maintain a garrison at this location. During 1942-1943 several Japanese aircraft crashed or force landed in the vicinity.

On February 20, 1942 a 4th Kokutai G4M1 Betty ditched after being damaged attempting to bomb Task Force 11 (TF 11) USS Lexington and ditched off Nugarba Island.

On April 27, 1943, Twenty-seven Ki-61 Tonys from the 68th Sentai departed Truk on a ferry flight to Rabaul in two groups, each lead by a pathfinder Ki-46.   Of the first group's 13 planes: 2 returned to Truk, 2 went MIA, one landed at Kavieng and the remaining eight ditched at Nuguria Atoll. The second group arrived at Vunakanau Airfield safely, while the first group never arrived. Later, the Navy  send a vessel to the atoll, all they found was only one of the pilots [identity unknown] in bloodstained clothes.

On April 9, 1944 US Navy PT Boats patrolled Nuguria. During July 1944 PT-124 visited Nuguria and investigated the crashed Betty for intelligence value.

Today
Nuguria Atoll is a remote location rarely visited by outsiders.

John Douglas adds:
"Kevin Baldwin, has a dive boat, and went to Nuguria to find them [in 1990s]. He said that the planes seem to have landed outside the atoll in deep water. They couldn't find any trace of them. The locals remembered the incident. When I told him about one survivor. he agreed with me, but said that the locals had killed the rest, leaving one survivor who was also beaten up by the locals."

Nugarba Island (Nugava, Paobau)
Small island in the Nuguria group

G4M1 Betty
Pilot Ono ditched February 20, 1942

Peiti Island (Wreck Island)
Small island in the Nuguria group

Malum Islands
Small island in the Nuguria group

References
The Lost Squadron by Alfred Weinzierl

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Last Updated
August 25, 2018

 

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