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    Alexishafen (Alexishaven) Madang Province¬†Papua New Guinea (PNG)

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USAAF 1943

Location
Lat 5° 4' 60S Long145° 48' 0E ¬†Alexishafen is located on the north coast of New Guinea bordering Sek Harbor including Megas Island, Admosin Island and Sek Island. To the west is Alexishafen Airfield and to the northwest is Danip and Danip Airfield (Alexishafen II). Connected via the North Coast Road southward to Madang. To the north is Bostrem Bay. Also sometimes spelled "Alexishaven" in prewar or wartime references.

Prewar
During the German administration of New Guinea, the Catholic chuch estabilshed the Alexishafen Catholic Mission at Alexishafen.

Wartime History
During the night of December 18, 1942. the Japanese Army occupied Madang. During the night of December 23, 1942 the Japanese landed in barges at Alexishafen without opposition. Initially, the Japanese Army officer assigned to the assured the Catholic missionaries were unharmed and allowed to go about their business, but were guarded by the Japanese.

The Japanese Army developed the Alexishafen area into a base and airfield area. The Japanese occupied and explanded Alexishafen Airfield (Danip, Alexishafen II) and built a larger runway to the south for bombers known as Alexishafen Airfield (Alexishafen I). The Alexishafen area was defended by anti-aircraft gun batteries.

During late 1942 until April 1944, Allied aircraft bombed and strafed the area, destroying the Alexishafen Catholic Mission Cathedral and netralized both airfields. During the middle of April 1944, as Australian forces neared, the Japanese mined and set booby traps along the North Coast Road then withdrew from the area.

American missions against Alexishafen
December 18, 1942 - April 15, 1944

On April 26, 1944 the Australian Army 5th Division, 30th Battalion liberated Alexishafen, without resistance, while the 35th Battalion continuing to advance northward along the coast. Many supply dumps and abandoned equipment were captured in the area. The Allies used Alexishafen and Sek Harbor to support operations along the north coast.

Today
The Catholic church is still the primary landowner in the Alexishafen area. Postwar, many areas were returned to grazing areas for cattle and agriculture, protecting the war relics from scrapping. Today, squatters live on the outskirts.

References
Madang page 147
Maria Kramer in Alexishafen (where she still lives today), she recalled that one morning she rose as usual to prepare for 6 am Mass, and looked outside 'and the whole station was just occupied by Japanese. They came in overnight and in the morning when we all got up, there they were. The whole place just covered in Japs. They came in barges, no trouble, no fight, nothing."

North Coast Road
Built by the Germans, this road runs north to south connecting Alexishafen to Madang in the south. During April 1944, mined by the Japanese using aerial bombs and booby traps. Due to heavy bombing, the trees along the road were riddled with shrapnel and were unusable for timber postwar.

Alexishafen Airfield (Alexishafen I, Strip No. 2)
Japanese built airfield, second strip

Danip Airfield (Alexishafen II, Strip No 1)
Prewar airfield used by the Catholic Mission

Ki-61 Tony
Crash site, majority scrapped, main spar and shattered remains only

Half Track
Displayed at road junction near Catholic mission. Nearby is the mount for a 75mm Anti-Aircraft Gun (mount only).

Alexishafen Catholic Mission (St. Fidelis College)
Prewar Catholic Mission. During 1942, led by Bishop Wolfe with seventy missionaries including sisters who chose not to evacuate when the threat of Japanese invasion loomed. Occupied by the Japanese during early January 1943.

During the war, the Japanese had a battery of four 75mm Type 88 Anti-Aircraft guns emplaced at the point overlooking Sek Harbor. The mission was totally destroyed by air raids and retreating Japanese. They had stripped the mission building and destroyed many of its relics.

B-25D "Jelly Belly 2nd" 41-30516
Pilot Thompson crashed September 9, 1943 crew killed in crash

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Last Updated
May 22, 2017

 

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