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New Caledonia Island is located in the South Pacific to the east of Australia. In French spelled Nouvelle-Calédonie. The island has tall mountains, and the second largest fringing coral reef in the world. Prewar and during the Pacific War French colony administered by France. Today, New Caledonia is divided into three provinces: North Province (Province Nord), South Province (Province Sud) and the Loyalty Islands Province (Province des îles Loyauté) and is designated a special collectivity overseas territory (d'outre-mer) of France.
On June 22, 1940 after the surrender of France New Caledonia had a Vichy French Government. During late February 1942 the island was identified as a possible threat to Australia and a small force from the Australian Army 2/3rd Independent Company (Commando) led by Matheson who spoke French landed to ascertained the island's loyalties and it was deemed to be safe.
On March 12, 1942 the first American personnel arrived on New Caledonia. The island was developed into a major American Allied staging base and a ferry point for aircraft flying across the Pacific or bound for Australia. During its height, 40,000 American servicemen were based in New Caledonia, and also as a rest and hospital area for combat troops. As the Pacific War progressed, Allied bases moved forward and Allied personnel in New Caledonia declined. During World War II, local people dubbed "kanaks" were employed by the Americans and had relatively good relations and were paid real wages for the fist time. Postwar, France changed the status of New Caledonia to a French Overseas Territory.
Postwar, New Caledonia became a French Overseas Territory. Today, New Caledonia has nearly two hundred thousand residents are an ethnic blend of Melanesian, European, Wallisian, Polynesian and Indonesians. Today, divided into three provinces: North Province (province Nord), South Province (province Sud) and Loyalty Islands Province (province des îles Loyauté).
North Province (Province Nord)
Plaine Des Gaiacs located on the western coast of New Caledonia, Plaine Des Gaiacs Airfield.
Koumac located on the western coast of New Caledonia.
Paita located inland and north of Gomen Bay included Camp Paita New Zealand War Cemetery.
South Province (Province Sud)
Nouméa capital of New Caledonia and the provincial capital of South Province.
Nouméa Harbor borders Nouméa.
Ousassio Hill (Kimball Hill) located near Nouméa.
Mount Mou located inland from Nouméa.
Bourail (Boureil, Burail) located inland from the western coast includes Bourail New Zealand War Cemetery.
Loyalty Islands Province (province des îles Loyauté)
Loyalty Islands located to the east of New Caledonia.
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