Remembering Rabaul as scene of bloodiest battle

National, Normal

The National, Friday 26th April 2013

 RABAUL was the scene of one of the longest and bloodiest battles during the Pacific War and this needs to be remembered in Australia and Papua New Guinea, a military officer said on Anzac Day. 

A dawn service was held yesterday at the Rabaul Retired Service League cenotaph.

A parade by members of the PNG Royal Constabulary began from the Rabaul Yacht Club to the Cenotaph.

Lt Col Steve McConnell from the Australian Defence Force staff in Port Moresby said Anzac Day was important for Australia, PNG and New Zealand to commemorate the invasion of Gallipoli and those brave ex-servicemen who fought for their countries.

He said this was one reason why Australia and PNG had held long associations and would continue to do so.

The occasion was also dedicated to a long term Rabaul resident and WWII Coast watcher Sgt Mathew Bernard Foley who died last month after a long illness.

Foley was a coast watcher signaler in a small party positioned in the Baining Mountains overlooking the Japanese base at Rabaul during World War Two.

Foley was able to thwart bombing raids on American bases by notifying the Allies of all flights going north-west.

Foley met surviving war veterans over the years who travelled from Australia to Rabaul to reminisce.