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Japanese Surrender at Rabaul and Wewak
via Australian Army Campaigns in New Guinea

Surrender at Rabaul
On September 6, 1945 aboard Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Glory in St George's Channel between New Britain and New Ireland, the General Officer Commanding First Australian Army (Lt-General V A H Sturdee) accepted the surrender of Lt-General Imamura and Vice-Admiral Kusaka, who were in command of about 139,000 Japanese in New Britain, New Ireland, New Guinea, the Solomons and adjacent islands.

At the head of the gangway the Japanese party was met by the deck officer (Lt-Colonel L K Shave), the master-at-arms and a guard of Royal Marines. The party was disarmed and their name cards collected. Soon afterwards the ship's company paraded in two ranks on the flight deck of the carrier. On the starboard side of the flight deck had been placed a table and behind it stood General Sturdee. On either side of him and a little to the rear were Major-General K W Eather, General Officer Commanding Eleventh Division, and the commander of the Glory (Captain W Buzzard, RN). Near by were the interpreter (Captain Worth) and Major N. J. F. Wright, personal assistant to the GOC, holding the surrender documents, and high-ranking Navy, Army and Air Force officers.

General Imamura, a squat, middle-aged officer, halted before the table and saluted. He was instructed to hand over his sword, which he did by placing it on the table in front of General Sturdee.

The terms of surrender, other orders, and instructions were then read and translated. On receiving orders to sign the document General Imamura explained through interpreters that he could not sign also for the Japanese Navy. This point was quickly settled by the ordering of Admiral Jininchi Kusaka to sign for the Navy. The Japanese were handed Japanese lettering brushes for signing. General Imamura added his signature in English, below the Japanese characters.

Three copies were signed, one for Australia, one for HMS Glory, and the third for the Japanese. The document was completed by the affixing of General Sturdee's signature. General Imamura made a speech in Japanese which was translated sentence by sentence. It was to the effect that the Japanese appreciated the consideration which had been shown to them and that they would immediately implement the orders given by the Australian commander. During the ceremony the flag of the Australian general (a Union Jack with the Royal Cipher centred) flew from the mast-an unusual sight on a British ship.

Surrender at Wewak
The General Officer Commanding 6th Division (Major-General H. C. H. Robertson) called a parade of representatives of every unit of the 6th Division on September 13, when a simple ceremony was staged on the Wom Airfield at Cape Wom (Wom). The Japanese commander of the Japanese 18th Army, Lt General Adachi, arrived in jeeps at the southern end of the strip and moved slowly forward until they were twenty yards in front of the table at which General Robertson was seated. The instrument of surrender was read by the interpreter to Adachi, who then affixed his signature. It was completed by the addition of the Australian general's signature. The Japanese officers then handed over their swords, placing them on the table.

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