Caledonia is an idyllic French speaking archipelago, to the east
of Australia. The island has staggering
largest coral barrier reef in
the world. Divided into three provinces: North Province (province Nord), South Province (province Sud) and Loyalty Islands Province (province des îles Loyauté).
Vichy French Threat Investigated
Prewar, New Caledinia was a French
colony with a Vichy French government. During late February 1942 the country was identified as a possible
to Australia and a small force from the 2/3rd Independent Company (commando) led by Matheson who spoke French landed to ascertained
American Staging Area
Considered safe, New Caledonia
became a major American Allied staging base and a ferry
point for aircraft flying from Hawaii to Australia. On March 12, 1942 the first American troops arrived in New Caledonia. During its height, 40,000 American
servicemen were based in New Caledonia, and also as a rest and hospital
area for combat troops. As the war progressed, fewer came thru the
island, as other more forward bases were established. The local
people (Kanaks) were employed on the US bases observed relatively good
and were paid real wages for the
first time, one of the reasons the colony's status was changed
to 'French overseas territory' post war.
Close to two hundred thousand residents
are an ethnic blend of
Melanesian, European, Wallisian, Polynesian and Indonesian live there.
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February 4, 2018