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Aussies Land at Jacquinot Bay

11 OCT 1944: World War II and the Australians land at Jacquinot Bay, New Britain. The Australians’ arrival opened the successful New Britain campaign in which a small Militia force successfully contained the large Japanese garrison holding Rabaul. Jacquinot Bay is a wide harbor located on the southern coast of New Britain. Borders Mal Mal (Malmal) village. To the west is the border with West New Britain Province and Gasmata. To the northeast is Wide Bay.

During early April 1942, MV Laurabada rescued 156 Australian soldiers and civilians that had gathered at Pal Mal Mal after fleeing Rabaul and transported them to Port Moresby. Afterwards, occupied by the Japanese until abandoned during the middle of 1944.

During August 1944, the Australian Army 6th Brigade landed at Jacquinot Bay and began construction of an airfield, base and divisional areas around Jacquinot Bay. The only means of moving from one point to another was by barge, and these were fully employed unloading the larger ships. Company “B” of the US 594th Engineer Boat and Shore Regiment, was the only American unit involved in the operation.

By the end of November 1944, advanced headquarters of the Fifth Division, under the command of Major-General A. H. Ramsay was established at Jacquinot, and 6th Brigade had handed over the defense of the area to the 13th Brigade, which arrived from the Northern Territory.

During late 1944, the 594th Engineer Boat & Shore Regiment “B” Company was based at Jaquinot Bay and used to transport troops and supplies along the southern coast of New Britain, including landing the 14/32nd Infantry Battalion at Keip Plantation at Wide Bay on January 28, 1945. During January 1945 the Australian Army 13th Brigade, commanded by Brigadier E G H McKenzie) were camped at Jacquinot Bay. At the end of the war, RAAF No. 311 radar station arrived at Jacquinot Bay. More;

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