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    Namatanai New Ireland Province Papua New Guinea (PNG)

Location
Lat 3° 39' 43S Long 152° 27' 12E  Namatanai is located on the northern coast in the middle of New Ireland Province in Papua New Guinea. Located to the norwest is 35 miles away is Kavieng, in approximately the middle of New Ireland. Also known as Namatani, Namatania, Namatano, Namatami and Namatenei.

Wartime History
Prior to the start of the Pacific War, six Australian Army 1st Independent Company commandos commanded by Cpl W. S. Rodgers were stationed at Namatanai. Before the Japanese landings, the commandos moved inland.

On January 28, 1942 the Goya Maru landed Japanese troops at Namatanai and searched the station and Namatanai village but found no one and departed. The area was not visited by the Japanese again until June 5, 1943 when the civilian administration arrived. Ten days later on June 15, 1943 a Chinese resident, Mr. Leong Cheung was shot in public in Namatanai.

American missions against Namatanai
March 17, 1944–May 28, 1944

Occupied by the Japanese for the duration of the war. On September 19, 1945 HMAS Swan (U74) arrived at Namatanai and anchored at Fangalawa Bay to accept the surrender of Japanese forces on New Ireland and to investigate the fate of the estimated 87 European civilians on New Ireland during the Japanese occupation. Only seven were found: Rudolf Diercke at Namatanai and Father Gerard Peekel and five Catholic sisters at Fangalawa Bay. Of the remaining eighty, with a few exceptions, no trace was ever found.

Namatani Airfield
Small wartime airfield, still in use today

Tank Dump
At the end of the war, Australian forces dumped Japanese tanks over the edge of of a cliff. Since then, the area has been used as a rubbish dump. The dump included Type 95, Type 97 and amphibious tanks. There were some dismounted coastal guns too.

Brian Bennett visited in 1985:
"I went there and visited this site. There was a rotted tank on the reef and a larger pile stacked up with rubbish around it. I climbed down into the dump and got inside one of the tanks that was upside down and hard to get inside. Shining a torch, the interior was perfect - all the paint and lights still there. It was still leaking oil too. They all had their original exterior paint and Kanji and numbers on some too. The smaller weapons were missing, but the main guns were there still."

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Last Updated
August 25, 2018

 

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