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    Faisi Island Western Province Solomon Islands
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USN c1943

Lat 7° 4' 0S Long 155° 52' 0E  Faisi Island is located in the Shortland Islands in Western Province in the Solomon Islands. The island is roughly rectangular in shape and borders Shortland Harbor and Kulitana Bay and Shortland Island to the west. To the south is the Tuha Channel and Poporang. To the north is Coconut Island.

Prewar History
Faisi Island was claimed by the Germans, but was never developed. On June 7, 1895 Nicholas Tindal purchased the island from the Germans for 600 Reichmarks as a wedding gift to his wife, Minnie Thursa Louise McDonald, who he married that same year. The couple established a trade store on the island, and developed a freehold plantation (1899-1903) on the 120 acre island. Later, they also developed plantations at Lofong and Bumbuggiai Point on Shortland Island plus Tambatamba on the northeast coast of Choiseul Island, purchased in 1897. They built a family home on the southern tip of the island, trade store and copra drying facilities using native bush materials. They had two children born on the island in 1898, and it is likely these were the first European children born in the Shortlands. The family planted a mango tree that survived storms and the war.

Later, the family mortgaged their plantations to Burns Philip that further developed Faisi Island into a trading post and build quarters for plantation worker along the eastern coast. When Nicholas Tindal died traveling to Sydney on January 4, 1901, Burns Philip paid off the family's debts and acquired Faisi for 1,000 Pounds on December 31, 1906.

Faisi Island was desirable to Burns Philip because the island had a mature and productive copra plantation and an excellent harbor and anchorage area. The company improved dock, and the Burns Philip manager resided in the former Tindal family home and other buildings continued to be used as a trading store, at the end of the Burns Philip steamship route, and remained in operation until the start of the Pacific War in early 1942.

At the start of the Pacific War, the British government ordered all European inhabitants to be evacuated by boat from the Solomon Islands.

Wartime History
Faisi Island has the distinction of being the first island in the Solomons Islands occupied by Japanese during World War II.

On March 30, 1942 around 2:00am, Japanese vessels entered Shortland Harbor and landed two Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF) platoons in the early morning and met no resistance in the area. One platoon remained in the area to begin establishing Shortland Harbor Seaplane Base.

Nearby Shortland Harbor was used as the Shortland Seaplane Base. Japanese forces were based on Faisi, including the 300 personnel of the 851st Kokutai, who lived on the island, occupying the former plantation buildings. Anti-aircraft guns were emplaced on Faisi to defend the area.

American missions against Faisi
February 4, 1942 - January 16, 1944

Today
After the war, the island was returned to local people. Owned by Solomon Islander Sir George Lepping until he passed away. Today, the island is uninhabited.

F1M2 Pete
Chris Cox recalls:
"I saw a Pete in about 20' feet near Faisi but it was starting to edge on being invisible. You could see it but it was not very clear from the surface."

References
The Early European Settlers of the Solomon Islands, page 352, 365

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Last Updated
January 11, 2018

 

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April 11, 1943

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