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Admiralty Islands in 1942
" We were first ! "
Unit History of Australian No.1 Independent Company


The First Independent Company's demise was almost completed except for No.3 Section still operating on Bougainville Island for many more months against the invading Japanese. There was also No.2 Section and Platoon HQ on Vila, defending against Vichy French sentiments. Also forming and training The New Hebrides Volunteer Defence Force as the Imperial Japanese thrust extended south into British and French Polynesia, the Solomons, wherever, plus there were stragglers from New Ireland filtering south away from the enemy acquired island garrisons. No.3 Independent Company was on New Calendonia for the same reasons, security and training. This Australian Imperial Force formation disembarked from the Great War veteran - HMAS Adelaide.


The capture of Manus Island, 1942

No.4 Section arrived on Manus Island in early November 1941, conveyed on the Indus Star, a 70-ton vessel powered by a three cylinder Ruston marine engine, speed about eight knots, purchased by Major Wilson from Oscar Rhondahl of Kokopo, decendant of the Queen of Rabaul, for 10,000-pounds, which included the half-German skipper and Chinese engineer....

  The capture of Manus Island, 1942



Medical Patrol on Manus Island, 1942

A short story about the patrol during which a doctor treated the local villagers on Manus island in late 1941 and starts off describing the tropical islands coral reefs, the little children and swimming and sailing. Then the letter moves onto the Medical Patrol, telling of two soldiers and the medical officer on walkabout through areas solely occupied by the indigenous population and how they never encountered or were reminded that western civilization was not so far away....

  Medical Patrol on Manus Island, 1942



The Australian Imperial First Independent Company Dispositions in January 1942

  The Australian Imperial First Independent Company Dispositions in January 1942



Structure of an Australian Independent Company, 1942

The Australian Independent Companies were based on the British commando formation and the first units given this deceptive name were trained by British officers of No.104 British Military Mission, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Mawhood, in the art of survival field craft, rigging explosives, setting demolitions, practicing various weapons drill, learning how to kill the enemy silently and to dabble in wireless-radio expertise at the Tidal River Camp situated in the wilderness of Wilsons Promontary in Victoria....

  Structure of an Australian Independent Company, 1942


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Copyright Graham Donaldson 1999-2000
Forgotten Campaign: The Dutch East Indies Campaign 1941-1942

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