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23 May 2008

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I am overseas at present, but Pastor Cyril Pascoe is still alive and has good and reliable memory on the wonderful part that the locals played.

The Coastwatchers could no way have survived without them. Home on Wednesday if you are interested.

Many Americans died, as well as Australians; my mother's cousin was shot down 16 June 1944.

We do not know of any
American war memorial on Bouganville dedicated to all of those who gave their lives in WWII.

LtCol Michael D Schelter USAF RET

Visited Bougainville 2007. Family lived there 1970-1975 father (John) was a kiap. Found one poorly kept memorial on Sohano - difficult to find - engulfed by bushes. By contrast the Japanese had a number of well kept memorials. Also struck by the lack of recognition of the contribution of locals.

I understand that it is estimated that 65,000 Japanese were on the islands when the Americans attacked in late 1943. When the Australians took control in 1944 the number had shrunk to 41,000 although this number was twice the Australian strength. During the Australian Bougainville campaign 8,500 Japanese were killed in action or died of wounds and 9,000 died of disease or illness. 23,500 Japanese surrendered to the Australians in September 1945.

During the whole of the Bougainville campaign, 516 Australians were killed or died of wounds and 1,572 were wounded.

I understand that during the war there was a cemetery at Wakuni - but after the war these graves were exhumed and re-burried at the War Cemetery in POM.

I would like to see an appropriate memorial or memorials in Bougainville - recognizing - all of those who served, casualties, civilians (such as the coast watchers) and most importantly the locals.

Dr. David Tierney

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