Pacific Wrecks
Pacific Wrecks   Donate Now  
Search Chronology Locations Aircraft Vessels Missing In Action (MIA)
    Tulagi Island Central Province Solomon Islands

Click For Enlargement
USN August 7, 1942

Click For Enlargement
Justin Taylan 2003

Click For Enlargement
IJN February 14, 1942

Click For Enlargement
Justin Taylan 2003

Click For Enlargement
Justin Taylan 2003

Click For Enlargement
Justin Taylan 2003

Lat 9° 5' 60S Long 160° 9' 0E  Tulagi Island is part of the Florida Island Group, north of Iron Bottom Sound and Guadalcanal. To the east borders Tulagi Harbor and Macambo Island. Japanese referred to this location as "Tsuragi".

Wartime History
The British colonial government was based here prior to WWII, fleeing before the Japanese arrived. A small number of Japanese worked on Tulagi prior to the war, in Marine industries. There was a strong suspicion of Japanese "yellow peril" leading up to the war and what the Japanese were doing in the mandated islands so the British watched them fairly closely. A coast watcher, Gordon Train (married to Vera Atkinson) stayed behind on Tulagi and was lost on a flight to the Shortland Island, to warn of the imminent invasion.

Japanese Occupation
On May 3, 1942 as part of "Operation MO", the invasion of Tulagi and Port Moresby, the invasion force arrives at Tuglagi Harbor and Okinoshima disembarks the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) 3rd Kure Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF) without opposition on Tulagi to establish a seaplane base there (on the adjacent islands of Gavutu and Tanambogo) without resistance on May 3, 1942 and garrisoned it, and established a seaplane base at nearby Gavutu (also referred to as Tulagi Seaplane base) in the area.

Tulagi Seaplane Base (Gavutu, Gabutsu)
Prewar seaplane base used by RAAF and British. Occupied by the Japanese, liberated by Marines.

American missions against Tulagi
May 4 - August 7, 1942

American Liberation
On August 7, 1942 during the first phase of the Guadalcanal campaign, U. S. Marine Corps (USMC) landed on Tulagi and met fierce resistance from the Japanese defenders. By August 8, 1942 at nightfall, Tulagi was declared secure, but for several days, individual Japanese and small groups continued to be flushed from hiding places and hunted down by patrolling Marines.

After the battle, three U.S. Cemeteries were established on Tulagi: USN & USMC Cemetery #1 (White Beach), USN & USMC Cemetery #2 (Police Barracks) and USN & USMC Cemetery #3 (Chinese Barracks). Later, these graves were exhumed and transported to American Cemetery Guadalcanal.

After the war, the of colonial government moved to Honiara to utilize the infrastructure left by American forces. Tulagi became a quite provincial capital. The facilities left in the area by the US Navy are still used to this day, with pontoons and overhaul areas on the island still used for small craft.

Located on the northeastern portion of the island. Waritme PT Boat base.

Blue Beach
On August 7, 1942 at 08:00, two battalions of U.S. Marines, including the 1st Raider Battalion under Lieutenant Colonel Merritt A. Edson (Edson's Raiders), and the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines (2/5) made an unopposed landing on the western shore of Tulagi at "Blue Beach". Not a single landing craft of the first wave was able to set its passengers directly ashore. All of them hung up on coral at distances from 30 to well over 100 yards from the beach line, and the assault personnel waded ashore against no opposition, through water initially from waist to armpit deep, and immediately occupied the high ground of the ridges. Today, the Anglican (Episcopalian) church of the Central Province (Tulagi and the Floridas) is located at this location. View of Blue Beach Eastward and Blue Beach Westward.

District Residence House
Located on one of the higher ridges on the island, only the original staircase and stair posts remain. The house was rebuilt post war, and was abandoned in 2003.

Hill 281
This high ground was the main Japanese defensive position and headquarters on Tulagi, with tunnels and fighting positions built in the area. After the battle, Americans also defended this hill with machine guns for anti-aircraft defense.

Roadcut (The Cutting)
This prewar roadcut into one of the ridges was heavily defended by the Japanese, who built cover into its side walls, most of these are covered over with sediment.

Japanese Tunnels
One entrance is located on an overgrown hillside. It opens into a deceivingly large tunnel area inside. Another is located on the Catholic church property, this tunnel has two entrances The second entrance is partially filled.

Thanks to Ewan Stevenson, Peter Flahavin and John Innes for additional information.

Contribute Information
Do you have photos or additional information to add?

Last Updated
May 22, 2017


Map 1943
    All rights reserved.  
  Pacific Wrecks Inc. is a non-profit 501(c)(3) charity dedicated to bringing home those Missing In Action (MIA) and leveraging new technologies in the study of World War II Pacific and the Korean War.  
Facebook Twitter YouTube Google Plus Instagram
Forum Updates People Museums Reviews Submit Info How You Can Help