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    Kandrian West New Britain Province¬†Papua New Guinea (PNG)

Mark Reichman 2008

Mark Reichman 2008

Lat 6° 13' 0S Long 149° 33' 0E ¬†Kandrian is located on the southern coast of New Britain in West New Britain Province. Postwar, Kandrian became the provincial outpost and police station.

20mm Anti-Tank Gun Type 97
Displayed at Kandrian

Gave of Anglican Priest Barge
Memorial to Barge with the inscription:
"In Memory of John Frederick Barge
Priest and Martyr

The Martyrs of Papua New Guinea, page 69-70
"After the Japanese invaded New Britain and captured Rabaul, Roman Catholic Priest who decided to leave asked John Barge to come with them, but he declined. Bernard Moore was also given a chance to leave, but after finding that John Barge was remaining, he made his own decision to stay.

Once the local people took John Barge to a cave where they said he could hide if the Japanese came. It was so low that he had to crawl into it. He retorted that he would die on his feet if it came to that, but he would not be caught 'like a rat in a hole'. He continued to serve his people for more than a year after the Japanese occupation.

In October 1943 the missionary house at Pomete was sighted from a Japanese destroyer. A landing force found John Barge going about his daily work quite openly. The Japanese, who seemed friendly, took him aboard the destroyer telling the local people they would help him get medical supplies and bring him back. But after the ship had rounded the next point, he was taken ashore. Two local people hiding in the bush saw him executed 'with shot and sword'. The local people buried him on the spot, marking his grave with a border of coral."

Mark Reichman adds:
"That's a pretty good account of what happened with Barge as that is what I have heard from the locals. I had a guy tell me he was an eye witness to the event as he stood on the Japanese ship. I can ask the son of one of the men who buried him. He probably has the best accurate story today. For 10 years I lived right next to the village Pomete where he was taken from. His grave is not there, like the account says, they took him around a point into Arung Bay on the peninsula side."

Grave of Anglican Priest Bernard Moore
Tomb of Father Bernard Moore at Kumbum, with the inscription: "The burial was done by Nicodemus an Rongwe man and a few ladies. Everybody run away because of the war."

The Martyrs of Papua New Guinea, page 31
"Bernard Moore, who had given his assistance to people to escape, was strangled to death by some unknown war collaborator, before the Japanese arrived at his place."

Mark Reichman adds:
"He was from Kumbun Island near Arawe and it was his boat that helped [RAAF Wing Commander John] Lerew and six others get to Finschafen. His story is that after helping Lerew but before the Japanese came, the locals found him locked in his house laying on his bed in full Priestly garb dead. No one knows how he died."

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Last Updated
August 25, 2018


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