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    Mission Hill (Boy's Town) East Sepik Province Papua New Guinea (PNG)
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AWM Sept 7, 1945

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Frank Anderson 1971

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Justin Taylan 2004

Location
Mission Hill (Boy's Town) is a hill with a 90 meter elevation at the summit located to the south of Wiruri inland from Wewak Town (Wewak Point) and overlooks Wewak Airfield (Wiruri, Wewak Central).

Prewar
In 1912 Catholic missionaries established their mission at this location and named the feature "Mission Hill".

Wartime History
After the Japanese landings on December 18, 1942 at Wewak to Wirui, this hill was occupied. During the Japanese Army occupation of Wewak, Mission Hill was the site of the 18th Army Headquarters at Wewak. The hill was emplaced with anti-aircraft gun batteries and positions.

By the middle of May 1945, the Australian Army approached the Wewak area. On May 10, 1945 after the Australian Army captured Wewak Town (Wewak Point) the 2/4th Infantry Battalion swung inland towards Wirui and Mission Hill (Wirui Mission) to clear the foothills of the the Prince Alexander Range. On May 15, 1945 Private Edward Kenna earned the Victoria Cross at Mission Hill.

Postwar
The property is owned by the Catholic church, and relics there were not scrapped like in other part of Wewak during the post war years. In 1959, Catholic Bishop Leo Arkfeld founded "Boy's Town" at this location, as a home for wayward boys that was in operation until the 1970s.

Today
Today, Mission Hill retirement center for Catholic missionaries, also a church is located at the top of the hill, and a Japanese War Memorial. Trenches, caves, old gun emplacements and tunnels still remain in the area.

Japanese War Memorial
Japanese War Memorial built in the 1960s with a panoramic view over the Wewak area. At this location, the remains of many Japanese were buried in a large mass grave. Postwar, these remains were exhumed and returned to Japan. Helmets, guns and other relics are displayed on the monument that were collected in the area.

The monument has inscriptions in Japanese and English. The memorial reads in English: "In memory of the brave soldiers who paid the supreme sacrifice for their countries Japan, Australia American and New Guinea during World War 2 From 1941-1945. We sincerely hope that or men will never again engage in war but that a deep spirit of friendship may exist between all"

Installed sometime after 2000 are memorial plaques to the Australian Army Victoria Cross (VC) earned in the area, including a Pte Edward Kenna on Mission Hill and Lt Albert Chowne at Dagua.

Type 88 (1928) 75mm AA Gun Battery
Battery of six of Type 88 75mm anti-aircraft guns in revetments. There are many bomb craters nearby and near misses around the revetment. Most of the guns are in excellent condition and appear undamaged. The two furthest from the road have their barrels knocked off and lying to the side from either war damage or vandalism.

Trailer and War Debris
There is a trailer, possibly for range finding equipment nearby. Although it is undamaged a near miss bomb crater to the side of it probably knocked it out of action.

There was a large amount of wartime debris scattered around Mission Hill. Much was left where it was abandoned, or pushed over the sides of the hill. (Australian and Japanese) Trucks, 55 gallon drums, tankers and motorcycle bits are located amongst more modern piles of rubbish and tin cans.

References
FindAGrave - Rev Fr Leo Clement Arkfeld (photo, grave photo)
AWM - Wirui Mission Battle honours
AWM - 2/4th Australian Infantry Battalion

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Last Updated
August 25, 2018

 

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