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A brief sketch of the fate of 3000 Indian pows in New Guinea

  • AU PMB MS 1249
  • Collectie
  • 1943-1945

Captain Singh, of the Dogra regiment, relates that the Indians "left Singapore on 5 May 1943 in seven parties each consisting of about 600 - three of the parties went to New Britain and the other four came to New Guinea", ie. Wewak.

Professor Hank Nelson gave the PMB a cover note on Singh's 'Brief Sketch', as follows: "Singh wrote another brief account of his time in New Guinea as a prisoner of war of the Japanese, 'The Experiences of an Indian Prisoner of War in New Guinea", The Infantry Journal, Vol.1, No.1, July 1949, pp.56-62. In the journal article he notes that the 'irony of fate reached its climax' when of the eleven Indians who survived with the Japanese until the end of the War, nine were put on an aircraft to fly them out of New Guinea and it crashed, killing all nine. Singh, who was not on the flight, was then the only survivor. From the 3,000 Indians originally landed in the Sepik in May 1943 another 191 had survived, liberated by advancing Australians before the end of the War. One of these men, Sepoy Bachan Singh, provided evidence for the Tokyo War Crimes Trials."

Professor Nelson adds that “a copy of Chint Singh’s reminiscences written in Wewak is in the UPNG Library and (I think) the Australian War Memorial.”

The document is a roneoed typescript, 61ppp., dated 4 Nov 1945. It was passed to the PMB by Professor Donald Denoon, who worked at the University of Papua New Guinea. At the time, the author was unable to be contacted. The author's son, Narinder Parmar, has since been identified.

Singh, Captain Chint

Report By Lieutenant W.J. Read Ranvr on coastwatching activity Bougainville Island, 1941-1943

  • AU PMB MS 1245
  • Collectie
  • 1974

Jack Read joined the Australian administration of the Mandated Territory of New Guinea as a Cadet in 1929. He worked as Patrol Officer in most parts of the Territory, having covered New Britain and the mainland from the Sepik River to the Morobe Goldfields, but had not been located in Bougainville until his appointment in November 1941 as Assistant District Officer in charge of the Buka Passage Sub-District, under District Officer Merrylees. Following the Japanese entry into the War on 8 Dec 1941, Read helped evacuate most European residents from Buka, established inland dumps of emergency provisions and shifted his administration to Bougainville island just before a Japanese attack on the Sub-District HQ on Sohano island on 24 January 1942. Following the winding up of civil administration in February 1942, Read, the only remaining government representative, was appointed Lieutenant in the Australian Navy under Lt Commander Feldt with instructions to remain in Bougainville as a coastwatcher.

Photocopy of original typescript. Parts I-XI and appendices A-L, includes detailed contents list; Ts., foolscap, 148pp. Appendix M, ‘Map of Bougainville’, missing. Front sheet signed by Jack Read and dated 9 July 1974.

Read, W.J.

“The Flying Priest”. Fr Glover’s account of his flying experiences in New Guinea, mainly during the Pacific War, including the evacuation to Kainantu and his attempted flight to Thursday Island.

  • AU PMB MS 1233
  • Collectie
  • 1936-1942

Fr John Glover was an Australian secular priest, trained at St. Patricks Seminary, Sydney. Fr Glover began learning to fly with Butler Air Transport Co while a Parish Priest at Cootamundra, NSW, in 1936. Fr Glover moved to New Guinea with the Divine Word Mission (SVD) n 1938 where he recommenced flying aircraft for the Mission in 1940. After the Japanese attacks on Lae, Wau and Bulolo, in January 1942, Fr Glover joined the New Guinea Volunteer Rifles. He helped to evacuate Europeans from the Markham Valley piloting a Spartan 2-seater and a Fox-Moth 4-seater re-built and maintained by Karl Nagy, who had been Guinea Airways’ chief engineer. He served in the Middle East as Chaplain 2nd/1st Btn 6th Division AIF. Returning to New Guinea after the War he was killed while crash landing a plane at the Catholic Mission at Mingende in 1948.

Memoir by Fr Glover of his flying experiences in New Guinea, mainly during the Pacific War, Ts., p/c, 27pp, annotated. Includes accounts of pre-War air operations in Lae and Wau and of ferrying European civilians from the coast to Kainantu and Mt Hagen to escape the Japanese occupation. Fr Glover also tells the story of his attempted flight with Karl Nagy in a Fox-Moth bi-plane over the Owen Stanley Ranges to Horn Island, off Cape York, to arrange evacuation of the refugees in the Highlands.
A note on the memoir explains that it was found in a clean-up at Mascot, NSW, by John Baker, a former employee of Butler Air Transport, who gave it to A.R.W. (Jim) Hoile, who passed it on to Adrian Leydon, Secretary of the New Guinea Volunteer Rifles-ANGAU Association.
This microfilm also includes Mr Leydon’s research file on Fr Glover consisting of correspondence with the SVD Mission at Mt Hagen and others, published articles and biographical documents, 1989-2003.

Glover, John Corbett (1909-1948)

Papers on the Catholic Diocese of the Caroline Islands

  • AU PMB MS 1222
  • Collectie
  • 1670-1999

Fr Francis Hezel came to Micronesia as a Jesuit scholastic in 1963, taught at Xavier High School for three years, and then returned to the US for three years of theological studies. When this was finished, Fr Hezel returned to Micronesia in 1969 to resume teaching at Xavier High School. In 1973 Fr Hezel was appointed principal of the School. He continued as the top administrator there until 1982, when he moved to the mission center to work as full-time director of the Micronesian Seminar which was based in Chuuk for ten years and subsequently on Pohnpei. Between 1992 and 1998 Fr Hezel also served as Jesuit regional superior in Micronesia.

While Fr. Francis Hezel was studying theology at Woodstock College, MD, during the late 1960s, he inherited the then small collection of books that young Jesuits who had returned from Micronesia pored over in an effort to prepare themselves for their eventual return to the islands. During the summer of 1968, one year before his ordination, Fr Hezel was admitted into the East-West Center program where he took courses in Pacific history and wrote a bibliographic essay on the history of the Catholic Church's engagement in Micronesia that was not long afterwards published in Journal of Pacific History (Vol.5, 1970). That kicked off Fr Hezel’s career in local history and motivated him to find still more about church activities in the islands. The result can be found in his files and most of what fills the shelves of the Micronesian Seminar library.

Two series of the files have been microfilmed, as follows:
Series I. General. Bibliographies, archival sources, chronologies, lists of missionaries.
Series I, cont. Jesuit Mission – Marianas, Guam.
Series I, cont. Jesuit Mission – Marianas, Guam.
Series I, cont. Spanish Capuchins in the Carolines, 1885-1905.
Series I, cont. Gilberts, Marshalls and Nauru.
Series II. Documentation of Catholic Missions in Micronesia in the 20th Century.

Most of the early documents in these two series are photocopies from Jesuit and Capuchin archives in Europe and elsewhere, together with English translations of some of the Spanish and Latin originals. There are a number of original mission documents among the more recent material, such as church statistics, mission station reports, the Mission Bulletin, house diaries, records of the Mercedarian Sisters, and accounts of WWII experiences, including the execution of Spanish SJs in Palau. There are also unpublished manuscripts on the history of the mission by Fr Thomas McGrath, Fr. Higinio Berganza, Fr Callistus Lopinot, Fr Faustino Hernández, Fr. John Curran and Fr Hezel.
<b>See Finding aids for details.</b>

Hezel, Francis X., Sj

Ramale album

  • AU PMB MS 1219
  • Collectie
  • 1945-2009

Pat Johnson is the daughter of Major Charles Bates, MC. Ramale, in New Britain, Papua New Guinea, was a Prisoner-of-War camp during World War II. The album covers the story of the release of Catholic priests, nuns and civilians from captivity on 14 September 1945 after internment by the Japanese. Pat’s father, Major Charles Dowson Bates, MC, was the officer-in-charge of the party that released the Ramale captives.

The Ramale album is a “scrapbook” style album created by Pat Johnson. It includes the original manuscript of a song titled “Sons of Australia” composed by Father Jos. Reischl, a Missionary of the Sacred Heart, with words by Sr Adela, when liberated from the Ramale prisoner of war camp on New Britain in 1945. The manuscript was presented by Father Jos. Reischl to Pat’s mother through Major Charles Dowson Bates in appreciation of their release. "Sons of Australia", referred to as the 'Ramale Anthem' was performed (with vocal) by the Salvation Army Melbourne Staff Band at the dedication of the Rabaul and Montevideo Maru National Memorial on 1 July 2012, at the Australian War Memorial by Her Excellency, Ms Quentin Bryce, AC CVO, Governor General of Australia.
The album includes Sr Theodeberta’s account of her war years at Vunapope/Ramale where she refers to Psalm 46 written by Fr Reischl. Psalm 46 was also presented to Major Charles Bates and is included in this collection.
There are copied extracts of Gordon Thomas’ diary who was interned in Rabaul during World War II. The album also includes extracts from books, newspaper clippings and printouts of pictures and information from the Internet (mainly the Australian War Memorial online photographic database) that relate to the Ramale Prisoner-of-war camp.
OF JESUS OF HILTRUP: Reports from New Ireland and New Britain, New
Guinea, 1937-1950. 1 reel. (Available for Reference.)

Johnson, Patricia

New Guinea Journal transcript

  • AU PMB MS 1204
  • Collectie
  • Sep 1943-Apr 1947

John Cranston McInerney was born in 1916, grew up on the land near Koorawatha and Cowra, NSW, and went to school at St Patrick’s College, Goulburn. He graduated from Sydney University Medical School in 1941, enlisted in the Australian army in September that year, serving as a Medical Officer ranked as Lieutenant in the 2nd 14th Light Field Ambulance in New Guinea and then as Captain in the 2nd 2nd Commando Squadron. He went back to New Guinea after the war, learnt to fly and became District Medical Officer at Wewak. He died after his Auster aircraft crashed into the sea at Vanimo, March 1953.

This journal was mostly written in New Guinea, September 1943 till July 1944, much of it in the Chimbu, Eastern Highlands, Wahgi Valley and Ramu River areas. As well as accounts of Dr McInerney’s military experiences, the journal includes Kuman vocabularies, notes on legends, customs and practices of the Dengla-Maguagu people and an account of stone axe making by Dom people in the Wahgi Valley.
The original is a black-covered A5 notebook with a small area of water damage at the top of each page. This damage must have happened before 1953, as John McInerney has in places re-written over the washed-out area. His handwriting, in both ink and pencil, is very small and difficult to decipher. The microfilm of the original Ms. is in the Mitchell Library, Sydney. The Mitchell Library and National Library of Australia also have a copy of this typescript which is transcribed from much enlarged photocopies of the original Ms. The black notebook is presently in the care of Gavan McInerney and Sally McInerney.

Mcinerney, John Cranston (1916-1953)

Reports from New Ireland and New Britain, New Guinea

  • AU PMB MS 1191
  • Collectie
  • 1937-1950

The Missionaries of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (MSC) were founded in France in 1854. In 1881 the Sacred Heart Missionaries relocated to Hiltrup in Germany, having been expelled from France, and in the same year the first MSC South Seas Missions were established. In 1884 German protectorates in Melanesia and Micronesia were proclaimed. The Congregation of Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was recognised in 1900. Pioneer MSC Sisters worked in the Marshall Islands from 1902 till 1919 when they were expelled by the Japanese. MSC Sisters also travelled to New Britain in 1902, but five were killed by Baining tribesmen in August 1904. Nevertheless the MSC Sisters’ activities in New Guinea expanded well beyond the Vunapope Mission in New Britain to New Ireland, Tanga, Lihir and Anelaua Islands where they were in charge of schools, hospitals, dispensaries and baby welfare clinics.

Photocopies of documents held in the MSC Hiltrup Archives (Archiv Missionssch-western vom hist. Herzen Jesu, Hiltrup, Westfalia), together with English translations, including:
Reports on the volcanic eruption in Rabaul, May 1937, when the Vunapope Mission station was used to house many evacuees, by Gordon Thomas, Fr. H, Nollen MSC, Sr. Potentiana MSC, Sr. Karola MSC, and Sr. Plazida MSC.
Reports on experiences of the Sisters in New Ireland during the Japanese occupation by Sr. Gustave MSC and Sr. Brigitta MSC.
Reports on other Sisters’ experiences in New Guinea during World War II by Sr. Theodoretis MSC, Sr. Theodeberta MSC, Sr. Dorothea MSC and the MSC Sisiters at the Leper Station at Anelaua, together with extracts from the MSC journal Montaschefte and some photographs taken at the Ramale Japanese prison camp in New Ireland.
The documents are translated from German and Dutch by Sister Brendan, Sister Brigid Kissane, Dymphna Clark and Mrs Olga Watters. See Finding aids for details.

Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus of Hiltrup

Papers relating to plantations in Wuvulu, Bouganiville and Buka, Papua New Guinea

  • AU PMB MS 1184
  • Collectie
  • 1923-2000

Fred Palmer Archer was born in Melbourne in 1890 and died in 1977. He was with the first Australian Imperial Force, came to New Guinea in 1923 and later took over Jame Plantation, Buka Passage, in the Bougainville District of the Territory of New Guinea. Jame Plantation was one of the ex-German plantations sold by the Commonwealth Government in 1926/27 to returned soldiers. He was appointed a civilian coast watcher in the Buka-Bougainville area at the outbreak of the War in the Pacific and evacuated to Guadalcanal and then Australia in 1943. He joined the British Solomon Islands Defence Force in September 1943 and transferred to ANGAU in early 1945. After the War he returned to his plantations in New Guinea where he became one of the Territory’s most successful and influential planters.

The papers include: letters from Fred Archer to his family and friends, mainly from Wuvulu Island, Manus District, and from Jame Plantation in Buka, 1923-1928; Report on coast watching activitiy, Bougainville Island, 1941-1943, by W J Read; Archer’s Solomon Islands war-diaries, 1943. There is also a series of subject files, A-Z, arranged by Mrs Mary Roberts from the Archer papers for her biography of Fred Archer. The files cover many aspects of Archer’s post-War career, including some material on the Planters Association of Bougainville and the history of the Planters Association of New Guinea. A series of files of correspondence and other documents relating to Hakau Plantation in Bougainville, 1935-1967, is also microfilmed. <b>See Finding aids for details.</b>

Archer, Fred Palmer (1890-1997)

Diary of an escape from Salamaua, Territory of New Guinea

  • AU PMB MS 1181
  • Collectie
  • 22 Jan-19 Feb 1942

Robert Melrose was born in Hay, NSW, on 5 April 1890. He served as a Telegraphist in the Royal Australian Navy on HMAS Yarra in New Guinea waters. He joined the civil administration of the Mandated territory of New Guinea as a Patrol Officer on 9 May 1921. He served initially as an Assistant District Officer to Colonel John Walstab in Kavieng, New Ireland, 1921-1924, than became District Officer at Manus 1924-1926, Aitape 1926-1931, Kavieng 1931-1933, Rabaul and Salamaua until 1936/37, and then at Rabaul till late 1941, when the Department of District Services and Native Affairs was transferred to Lae with the Administrator. At that time Robert Melrose was Assistant Director, then Director, of the Department.
Robert Melrose returned to the Territory after the War as Government Secretary based in Port Moresby. He sufferred a massive heart attack and returned to Australia in April 1949. During his retirement, Melrose served on a Committee interviewing applicants for government posts in PNG and also served as Honorary Secretary/Treasurer of the newly formed Retired Officers Association of PNG till his death in September 1959.
<BR><P>(Note by Geoff Melrose.)

In January 1942 two parties evacuated Lae and Salamaua in front of the appoaching Japanese forces. One group of young fit people, led by Nick Penglase, went via Wau, Waria valley to Buna and Kokoda. The remaining group of 34, led by Robert Melrose, travelled by pinnace and canoe to Morobe and Buna and then overland to Kokoda.
<BR>Diary of escape from Salamaua, Territory of New Guinea. Ms (faint pencil and pen), 22 Jan-19 Feb 1942
<BR>Transcript of diary, 22 Jan-19 Feb 1942, by Geoffrey Melrose. Ms., p/c.
<BR>Notebook and letterbook (letters-out), Apr-Jul 1941, Feb 1942
<BR>Notebook: list of personnel, stores, provisions and expenditure, n.d.

Melrose, Robert (1890-1952)

Interview transcripts

  • AU PMB MS 1179
  • Collectie
  • 1973

In June 1973, as Professor of Human Geography in the Research School of Pacific Studies at the ANU, Gerry Ward wrote W. F. Straatmans, a field researcher in Papua New Guinea, instructing him to carry out interviews with Danny Leahy and Jack Fox who were amongst the first Europeans in the Highlands of New Guinea. Pim Straatmans had had long personal relationships with both interviewees.
The interviewees recall pre-War and War-time conditions and tell stories regarding transport, airstrip construction, native labour, gold digging methods, sing sings in the Highlands, Edie Creek, Maprik, Bena Bena, Wewak and Sepik regions, including Danny Leahy's account of rescuing nuns and priests from Catholic mission stations on the Sepik during the War. They remark on some of Danny Leahy's photographs, recalling the deaths of Fr Mauschhauser and Br Eugene in the Chimbu, contact with Fr Van Baar, Fr Ross and Fr Schaefer, and the rivalry between the Catholic and Lutheran missions. They comment on the kiaps Robert Melrose and Jim Taylor and on the hanging of Ludy Schmidt in Rabaul.
In the transcript of a further interview with Chris Ashton of the ABC, Jack Fox, who had been in New Guinea with the Australian occupation forces in 1914, recalls the expedition and German resistance.

Transcripts of Pim Straatmans' interview with Jack Fox and Danny Leahy, November 1973, and Chris Ahton's interview with Jack Fox, also in 1973, together with related papers and a photograph of Jack Fox. See Finding aids for details.

Fox, John R and Leahy, Daniel

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