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Ken Barber 1944
Google June 20, 2016
Lat 2° 49' 60S Long 171° 40' 60W Canton Island is the largest and most northern island in the Phoenix Island surrounded by the Pacific Ocean. Also spelled Kanton. Located about 1,500 mile to the southwest of Christmas Island. The atoll is a low, narrow rim of land enclosing a large shallow lagoon. Canton Island is 4.5 miles wide at the widest point from east to west and narrows at the southeast tip, which is nine miles to the furthest northwest point. Prewar and during World War II, part of the Gilbert Islands. Today located in the Republic of Kiribati.
Americans and British occupied the island in two separate camps. On March 3, 1938 President Roosevelt placed Canton and Enderbury under jurisdiction of the Department of the Interior. In April 1939, when Canton and Enderbury were placed under joint British and American control for fifty years, and "thereafter until such time as it may be modified or terminated by mutual consent". During 1938 and 1939 Pan American Airways laid developed the airfield and dredged the lagoon. Afterwards, Pan Am flying boats used Canton as a refueling stop for flights from Hawaii via the South Pacific to New Zealand.
Canton Airfield was an important refueling stop for aircraft being ferried from Hawaii via Palmyra to Canton, then via Fiji and Nouméa to Australia. The island was known for having only one palm tree and one runway.
On November 1, 1943 Canton Island was bombarded by thirteen shells fired by Japanese submarine I-36.
Charles Martin Quartermaster 3/c, USS Natchaug
Erik Andal recalls:
Arthur Hembree adds:
Thomas F. Equels adds:
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