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    Kalai East New Britain Province Papua New Guinea (PNG)
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Justin Taylan 2012

Location
Kalai is located on the western side of Henry Reid Harbor inside Wide Bay. To the north is Brown Island and the Melkong River. Connected by a track along the coast of Wide Bay. To the southeast is Cape Turner.

Prewar
Kalai Plantation was planted with coconut palms for copra. Also, Kalai Roman Catholic Mission with a brother in residence was established at Kalai.

Wartime History
Australian soldiers from "Lark Force" retreating southward from Rabaul. During late January - February 1942 Australians overnighted at Kalai Plantation and were looked after and fed by the Roman Catholic Brother in charge of the mission. Later, occupied by the Japanese.

June 11, 1944
(RAAF) 23 Beauforts from 6, 8 and 100 Squadron bomb Japanese positions on Kalai.

February 15, 1945
(RAAF) During the morning Beauforts led by a Boomerang bombed and strafed Japanese positions on the northern edge of Kalai Plantation. They attacked for half an hour then artillery from the 2/14th Field Regiment opened fire for the first time during the New Britain campaign. Afterwards, the 14th Battalion and 32nd Battalion occupied Kalai and found the Japanese had withdrawn. From Kalai the 14th/32nd Battalion moved onward to Kamandram.

Brian Bennett adds:
"Years ago the then manager of Kalai Plantation wrote to me in regard to his knowledge of aircraft wrecks in the area and mentioned the remains of a K1-61 in the plantation and the wreckage of B-17E 41-2429."

Ki-61 Tony
Crashed into Kalai Plantation

References
Rabaul – 1942 page 63

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Last Updated
August 25, 2018

 

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