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    Ambasi Oro Province Papua New Guinea (PNG)

Location
Lat 8° 16' 0S Long 148° 10' 60E  Ambasi is located on the north coast of New Guinea. To the north is Cape Ward Hunt and to the south is the Opi River.

Prewar
During 1903, the Anglican Church moved their mission headquarters from Ioma to Ambasi and established the Ambasi Mission (Ambasi Anglican Mission) at this location.

Wartime History
During early 1942, the Australian Army established a small base at Ambasi manned by roughly a dozen Papuan Infantry Battalion (PIB) soldiers commanded by an Australian Army Lieutenant Smith and a Sergent. Also, a signal station (spotter station) manned by three Australian Army enlisted men: Sgt Robert Hugh "Ray" Hanna, Cpl Harry Douglas Palmer and Pvt Ralph John Holyoake who reported on activity in the vicinity by radio.

After the Japanese landing at Gona on July 21, 1942 they pulled back from Ambassi to another position further inland and continued making radio reports. On July 29, 1942, the spotters aided four American airmen who were shot down attacking Japanese shipping including Dean and La Rocque from A-24 Dive Bomber 41-15766. On August 2, 1942 Hague pilot of P-400 Airacobra BX232 also joined them. Together, the entire group attempted to bypass Japanese forces and walk to safety.

During the afternoon of August 2, 1942 they met up with Reverend James Benson, nurse May Hayman and teacher Mavis Parkins from Gona Mission Station and attempted to evade the Japanese. On August 8, 1942 they were attacked by the Japanese and all were killed and two woman captured and later executed. Only Reverend Benson was later taken prisoner and survived the war as a prisoner detained at Rabaul.

A-24 Dive Bomber 41-15766
Crashed July 29, 1942

P-400 Airacobra BX232
Pilot Hague crashed August 2, 1942

P-400 Airacobra AP290
Pilot Dore crashed August 2, 1942

References
Letters from the Papuan Bush 1942-1946 by Reverend Stephen Romney Gill (map)
Prisoner's Base and Home Again page 31-32
"It was, I remember August 8th [1942] and I had decided to tell the Sisters of my decision the next day; when late that afternoon, there walked into our camp two Australian soldiers, Corporal Palmer and Corporal Hannay. They had, I think been stationed at the Ambasi signal station."
Thanks to Edward Rogers for additional information

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Last Updated
August 25, 2018

 

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