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    Toma East New Britain Province Papua New Guinea (PNG)

Location
Lat 4° 22' 58S Long 152° 9' 48E  Toma village is located on the Gazelle Peninsula inland and to the south of Karavia Bay and Rabaul, 19km to the east is Bitapaka (Bita Paka). Connected by the Toma Road that runs roughly east to west.

World War I
On August 6, 1914, the German Governor and administration moved to Toma. At this location, Toma Hostel, a sanatorium built at this location on a hilltop.

German forces withdrew to this location after their defeat at Bitapaka on September 11, 1914. German forces including governor Eduard Haber retreated to Toma, in hopes the German East Asia Squadron would rescue them. Instead, they were followed by Australian Army and surrounded Toma

During September 14-17 the Australians conducted the Siege of Toma, bombarding the area a 12 pound field gun while HMAS Encounter shelled a nearby ridge. Realizing the situation was futile, the governor Haber officially surrendered German New Guinea on September 17, 1914. The last 40 German soldiers with 110 natives surrendered on September 21, 1914.

Prewar, Toma Plantation planted with coconut palms harvesting copra was established at this location.

Wartime History
Occupied by the Japanese during January 1942. The Japanese referred to this location as "Dōmā" or Toma. At this location, the Japanese had a wireless station and radar. During the Japanese occupation, Toma was used as a hospital.

On January 5, 1943 at 11:44 hrs (Tokyo Time) reported enemy aircraft at 348°, 72 km and 330°, 120 km. Reference: Field Diary and Battle Reports No. 3 Bty, 50th Field A/A Gun Bn, Nov '42 - Jan 43 / Allied Translator and Interpreter Section South West Pacific Area - Enemy Publications No. 22 Part One, 29 June '43. Page 5, 5 Jan 43.

On March 6, 1943 At 0258 hrs (Tokyo Time) received report from Toma that signals were received and calibrated to be 310° 160km, but conditions since have become obscured. At 0319 hrs it changed to 120° - 221 km. At 1239 hrs a large enemy airplane appeared South of No. 1 base, flying towards Rabaul at a height of 4000m. At 1315 hrs a large enemy airplane appeared south of Ulamona, flying in an easterly direction, at a height of 3000m. At 1530 hrs a large enemy airplane appeared in a northeasterly direction, at the height of 4000m. Reference: Field Diary of 15 Field Machine Cannon Battery 27 Nov 42 to 30 Jun 43 / Allied Translator and Interpreter Section South West Pacific Area - Enemy Publications No. 175 Part One, 31 Aug 1944. Page 5, 5 Jan 1943.

Until September 1945, occupied by the Japanese forces.

References
AWM - Toma by Chas Bryant 1923 (artwork)
AWM - Hospital ward, Toma (artwork)

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Last Updated
August 25, 2018

 

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