On 8 April 1944, the 11th Division had assumed command from 7th Division
of all units in the Ramu Valley. The headquarters of the 11th Division
had just been established at Dumpu, detachments of the headquarters
having been flown in from the former site at Dobodura. Elements of the
11th Division, Milne Force as it was then known, had taken a major part
in the fighting in August 1942 when the Japanese were decisively
defeated at Milne Bay. The GOC at that time was Major General C A
Clowes. In January 1943, the division transferred to Moresby, remaining
until July when it left Ward's Drome to fly to Dobodura, where it
remained until the move to Dumpu. On 12 September 1943, the 11th
Division came under command of Major-General A J Boase.

The aggressive patrolling which had been Australian policy in the Ramu
Valley went on, and patrols from the 15th Brigade thrust forward along
the Bogadjim road. Reports received at this time indicated that the
enemy was thickening his outpost-line to a radius approximately five
miles south-west and south-east of Bogadjim. These positions covered all
tracks into Bogadjim south of the Gori River. One of Australian patrols
pushed between enemy defensive positions, reaching a point half a mile
from Bogadjim village without meeting any enemy. This lack of depth to
his defences, coupled with native and other reports of activity in Erima
Plantation, probably directed at shifting dumps of stores behind Madang,
suggested that this movement would soon be complete. Natives from
Bogadjim encountered about this time were found to be wearing Japanese
clothing and equipment. They declared that there were no Japanese in
Bogadjim, but many in Erima Plantation, a statement which was accepted
with reservations.

On 13 April one platoon of the divisional carrier company was flown from
Gusap to Kaiapit, then ferried by five Piper Cub aircraft to Wantoat to
investigate reports of the presence of the enemy in the immediate
vicinity. In a sharp clash next day the carrier company engaged
approximately twenty Japanese. The enemy fled leaving four killed. One
Australian was wounded. Further patrols were sent out to investigate a
native report that large numbers of the enemy were in the fertile
cultivated land at the headwaters of the Wantoat and Ikwap rivers. The
patrol returned to Wantoat on 15 April to report that a small body of
Japanese was moving north. Later the patrol captured four prisoners.
Meanwhile patrols from the 57th/60th and 58th/59th Battalions were
active over a wide area, on either side of and along the Bogadjim Road.
Contact was made with the Americans at Sungum and communications
established. New enemy positions were located at Rereo, Redu, Wenga and
a village 1000 yards north-north east of Alibu One. One patrol, avoiding
the enemy positions one mile south of Kaliko, reached the coastal track
just east of Kaliko, and observed a small party of enemy approaching
from the direction of Bonggu. Another patrol, using a devious route to
the enemy position south of Kaliko, drew fire and then withdrew. On the
return journey an enemy ambush 800 yards south of the position was
observed and bypassed. It was evident that the speed of the advance of
units of the 15th Brigade up the Bogadjim Road from Bridge Six had
interfered with the enemy's evacuation of the area between the Kabenau
and Mindjim rivers. Some, at least, of the rearguard troops from this
area were taken out by barge from the vicinity of Kaliko, a course which
could not have been over attractive to the enemy, because of fear of
attack by aircraft and patrol torpedo boats. Reports also indicated that
the enemy was reluctant to use the coast route for withdrawal from the
Erima-Amele area. Instead he used a track from Amele to Rambu to Amron.
Routine patrols from the 57th/60th Battalion entered Bogadjim on 17
April to find an American patrol examining gun-positions in the
abandoned enemy beach defences. Routine patrols were, at this stage,
operating throughout the Bogadjim area. On 22 April patrols of the
57th/60th Battalion discovered six six-wheeled ammunition trucks, and
fifty cases of ammunition at Balama, while between the Palpa and Gori
rivers sixteen trucks, wrecked by Allied strafing, were located.

On 23 April approximately 450 troops of 8th Brigade landed at Bogadjim
and amalgamated with a patrol from the 15th Brigade, thus uniting
coastal forces of the 5th Division and inland forces of the 11th
Division. Extensive patrolling continued throughout the Bogadjim area,
each successive patrol getting nearer and nearer to Madang. 

No enemy opposition had been encountered north of Bogadjim. All eyes were now
focused on Madang. 

On 25 April a patrol of the 57/60th Battalion, with
one platoon from the 30th Battalion, entered and occupied Madang. South
of Madang resistance came from a small rear party of Japanese equipped
with automatic weapons and one horse-drawn mountain-gun. Australian
patrol engaged the enemy, forcing him to withdraw. The mountain-gun,
because of insufficient depression, was ineffective, the shells
whistling harmlessly over the heads of the advancing Australian troops.

On entering Madang the patrol found abandoned dumps of ordnance and
signals stores and equipment, as well as a hospital and its medical
equipment. Evidence of the eagerness of the Japanese to escape is shown
in the fact that in the advance from Bogadjim to Madang only two were
encountered. These were taken prisoner. Madang had been well plastered
by Australian aircraft and showed every sign of a hasty departure.
Australian bombing had been, if any thing, too good, and rather defeated
Australian purpose as the aerodrome was unserviceable for Australian own

On 27 April the 15th Brigade began to move, its headquarters
and some units travelling by air to Saidor, and other groups on foot to
Bogadjim. The air moves were completed by 3 May, and on that day the
brigade passed from the command of the 11th Division to the 5th
Division. Advice was received from New Guinea Force on 15 May that the
Ramu Valley was to be cleared of Australian units with the exception of
11th Division Carrier Company, which was to move from Gusap to Dumpu.
The 11th Division was to move to Wau, which it did, via Lae, four days