Madang 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 aircraft. 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 later.