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    Rabaul (Bita Paka) War Cemetery East New Britain Province PNG
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David Paulley 1982

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Justin Taylan 2000
Location
Lat -4.40651, Long 152.2995  Rabaul (Bita Paka) War Cemetery is located at Batapaka (Bita Paka) in East New Britain Province in Papua New Guinea (PNG). Also known as Bitapaka War Cemetery or Rabaul War Cemetery In total, the cemetery includes 652 identified graves plus unknown burials from both World War I and World War II. Today, maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC).

World War I History
During the Battle at Bita Paka on September 11, 1914, one German and about 30 Melanesians were killed, and one German and 10 Melanesians wounded; 19 Germans and 56 Melanesians were captured. Six Australians were killed and five wounded. The dead were buried at Bita Paka, their graves forming what would later become the Bita Paka War Cemetery.

World War I Graves
The six Australians killed September 11, 1914 during the Battle of Bitapaka were the first buried at this cemetery:
Able Seaman William G. V. "Billy' Williams, AN&MEF - AA. B. 3.
Able Seaman John Courtney (alias, John E. Walker), RAN, AA. A. 5
Captain Brian C. A. Pockley, Australian Army - AA. A. 1
Able Seaman John E. Walker, AN&MEF - AA. A. 5
Able Seaman H. W. Street, AN&MEF - AA. A. 15
Lt. Commander Charles B. Elwell, Royal Navy - AA, A, 11

Memorial to AE-1
This memorial is dedicated to the crew of Royal Australian Navy (RAN) E-Class Submarine HMAS AE-1 (AE1) missing in action off Rabaul on September 14, 1914 without a out a trace. and all hands went missing. The circumstances of the loss were never determined and the submarine was found in December 2017.

World War II History
During 1945 after the Australian Army occupation of the Rabaul area, the Bitapaka War Cemetery was established by the Australian Grave Services. The graves include Australian, British, Pakistani, Nurses, Papuans, Indians, Fijians, Muslims and others whose died at Rabaul or in East New Britain. The age of many of the deceased are between 16-21. The cemetery includes the graves of several who earned the Victoria Cross (VC). Many graves simply read: "Known Unto God" others are collective graves with more than one individual.

Rabaul Memorial (Tablets to the Unknown)
The Rabaul Memorial is comprised of tablets with brass plaques that list the names of Commonwealth personnel that have no known grave and remain listed as Missing In Action (MIA). The Rabaul Memorial is also known as the "Tablets to the Unknown".

References
CWGC - Rabaul (Bita Paka) War Cemetery

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Last Updated
February 11, 2021

 

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