The Rabaul Navy POW Compound was located in the W. R. Carpenters building on Malaguna Avenue at Rabaul in East New Britain Province (ENBP) in Papua New Guinea (PNG). Also known as the "81st Naval Guard Unit POW Camp" or "Keibitai POW Camp" or "Japanese Navy POW Camp at Rabaul" or "Navy POW Camp Rabaul" or "Rabaul Naval Prison Camp"
The W. R. Carpenters building was built prewar and used as the company headquarters and as a trade store serving Rabaul.
During January 1942, occupied by the Japanese. Immediately, this building became the headquarters for Keibitai (Naval Special Police) of the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN), 8th Base Force (Eighth Base Force) 81st Naval Guard Unit (81st Naval Garrison Unit).
During early 1942 Allied Prisoners Of War (POW) were detained at this location. Allied prisoners detained by the Keibitai at this location were beaten and interrogated harshly. They were given very little food and no medical treatment.
In early 1943, the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) 6th Kempeitai (Military Police) established the Rabaul Prisoner Compound (Rabaul POW Prison) that operated until early March 1944 then all prisoners were moved to the Tunnel Hill POW Camp.
Between 1942-1945, the Keibitai at Rabaul was responsible for many war crimes and prisoner executions. On January 14, 1944 a group of seventeen prisoners were taken from the camp an executed and buried in a mass grave on Matupi Island in a killing that became known as the "Matupi Island Massacre".
Only a few prisoners who were transfered to the Japanese Army Kempeitai (military police)
at Rabaul or were transported to Japan and survived the Pacific War. The rest of the prisoners detained by the Keibitai were either executed or died in captivity.
Known Prisoners Of War detained by the Keibitai 81st Naval Guard Unit at Rabaul
- 2nd Lt. Jack K. Wisener bombardier B-17F "Georgia Peach 41-24454 crashed June 13, 1943 POW detained by the 81st Naval Guard Unit beaten and interrogated repeatedly then transported to Japan and survived
- 2nd Lt. John A. Bailey co-pilot B-25C Mitchell 42-32255 crashed November 23, 1943
- 1st Lt. Ernest A. Naumann and SSgt Paul J. Cascio, Jr. from B-17E "Texas #6" 41-9207 crashed June 1, 1943 POW June 21, 1943. Both were tortured for information and denied food or medical care. Around November 12, 1943 Cascio was transported to Japan with a group of prisoners and survived.
On November 25, 1943 Naumann and eleven other Allied POWs were taken to the outskirts of Rabaul and executed.
- 1st Lt. David S. Hunter pilot P-400 Airacobra crashed July 22, 1943 POW arrived Rabaul early August 1942, executed August 31, 1942 at Matupi Island.
- 1st Lt.
Edward A. Croker pilot TBF Avenger 06452 POW September 16, 1943 executed February 21, 1944.
- F/Lt Geoffrey H. Vincent pilot Beaufort A9-244 POW October 21, 1943 executed November 25, 1943 Matupi
- W/O John P. Bailey navigator Beaufort A9-244 POW October 21, 1943 executed November 25, 1943 Matupi
- F/O Allan M. Brown W/AG Beaufort A9-244 POW October 21, 1943 to Japan Feb 17, 1944 survived
- F/O Charles W. Vincent W/AG Beaufort A9-244 POW October 21, 1943 executed November 25, 1943 Matupi
The Siege of Rabaul by Henry Sakaida
Target Rabaul (81st Naval Garrison Unit) pages 52, 61, 64, 74, 241, 253, 255-256, 265, 295, 320, 363 (Appendix A - The Prisoners of Rabaul)
Thanks to Henry Sakaida and Edward Rogers for additional information.
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March 4, 2019