9° 5' 60S Long 152° 49' 60E Woodlark Island is located in Milne Bay Province in Papua New Guinea (PNG). Surrounded by the Solomon Sea. To the southwest is Milne Bay on the eastern tip of New Guinea. To the west is D'Entrecasteaux Islands. To the northwest is Kiriwina Island.
On June 30, 1943 Americans forces occupied
Woodlark and Kiriwina during
a surprise landing by Army and Marine
troops and the 60th Construction Battalion "Seabees". They met
little opposition, and sporadic harassing air raids that did only
minor damage. Quickly, the island was developed into a forward
airbases. 20th Construction Battalion "Seabees" built 30 miles of roads on the
island, housing facilities, eight wooden buildings, nine quonset
huts, a small hospital, and a saw mill.
By November 1, 1943 all construction projects were completed. A detachment
of the 60th Construction Battalion "Seabees" remained for maintenance until March 1944.
Veteran R. E. Spicer recalls:
"I spent about 6 months
at Woodlark Island as a Marine in 1943. I still remember the big bay
with the coral reef breakers about half mile out. We would swim
in this bay area and the water was so clear you could see the shells
on the bottom in 12 feet of water. We were there when the CBs built
the air strip. Although we went to many islands after that this
most beautiful place remains in my memory. I even remember a cave
that had human bones in it at end of this long beach where the
land extended further out into the bay. Would you be able to supply
any pictures of this area today?"
Borders Woodlark Island, Guasopa Bay is the principal harbor on the island, accessible through two passages.
LSTs could enter the bay. Later, pontoon barges were established
for a PT Boat pier and repair work on landing craft and picket boats
were preformed here. The airfield on Woodlark was built by American forces along the bay.
Narewa Airfield (Guasopa, Woodlark Airfield)
American built airfield, still in use today as Woodlark Island's only airfield
Do you have photos or additional information to add?
July 12, 2017