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    Nambariwa (Nabarewa, Nabarowa) Morobe Province Papua New Guinea (PNG)

Location
Lat 5° 58' 20S Long 147° 22' 24E  Nambariwa village is located near the north coast of New Guinea at an elevation of 334' / 101m. To the west is Sio. To the east is Gneisenau Point. Alternate spellings include Nabarewa or Nabarowa. Wartime approximate coordinate: Lat 5.56 South, Long 147.22 East.

Wartime History
Occupied by the Japanese Army as part of the escape route for the Japanese Army 20th Division withdrawing from Lae along the north coast of New Guinea.

On June 21, 1943 the crew of B-25C "Geronimo" 41-12980 came ashore and reached Nambariwa village. Cpl Robert L. Lemons, wounded by anti-aircraft fire died and was buried at the village. The other two crew members: 1st Lt. Harlan L. Reid and Captain Raymond A. Tabb were captured by the Japanese and taken to Madang. Both were likely executed at Amron and remain Missing In Action (MIA).

On December 24, 1943 PT Boats PT-191 and PT-152 spotted what appeared to be a barge off Gneisenau Point. Closing, they saw another object that looked like a large barge and the first "barge" proved to be a submarine roughly 100' in length. On the beach, a picket boat was seen with a pile of stores on the beach in sacks. Both PT boats opened fire on the "submarine" and noted a loud hissing noise of compressed air escaping and sank by the bow with the stern facing the beach, sinking into 4' of water. Afterwards, the gunners targeted the barge and picket boat and were claimed as unservicable.

During the middle of January 1944, Gneisenau Point was occupied by the U. S. Army. Afterwards, Major Throsby and Lt. George Vanderbilt, USNR intelligence officer from PT Boat Squadron 12 investigated the "submarine" sunk by the PT Boats. The wreckage was found heeled over (tilted to the side) at a depth of 8'. The submarine measured 104' in length and had fixed horizontal stabilizers to be towed by a submarine plus a heavy bollard aft for towing, likely this was a Unkato (cargo transporting tube).

During February 1944, Lt. MacGregor of the Australian New Guinea Administrative Unit (ANGAU) investigated a native report that there was a grave of an American airmen at buried at Nabarowa village or Nabarewa at roughly Lat 5.56 South, Long 147.22 East. Interviewing the locals, they reported seeing an American bomber hit over Kalasa and ditched into the sea north of Sio, and that four crew members swam ashore. While crossing the river north of Sio, one man (Sgt Ray E. Smith) drowned and his body was washed out to sea. Another was wounded in the groin and left knee and later died of his wounds. After buring their comrade, 1st Lt. Harlan L. Reid and Captain Raymond A. Tabb were captured by the Japanese and transported to Madang.

Postwar, the grave was located and disinterred and temporarily buried as "Unknown X-1" at USAF Cemetery at Finschafen, No. 1 at grave 50. Later, these remains were subsequently identified as Cpl Lemons. His remains were identified by the field by the laundry marking "R. L." on his flight jacket, physical characteristics and a dental comparison from his army records.

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Last Updated
August 25, 2018

 

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