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Lat 10° 43' 0S Long 152° 22' 0E Deboyne Island Group are located inside Deboyne Lagoon in the northwestern of the Louisiade Archipelago bordering the Coral Sea. Also known as the Deboyne Group or Deboyne Islands. The Deboyne Island Group is comprised of Panapompom Island, Nivani Island, Panaeati Island (Panniet) and Panuwaiyayapuna Island. To the northeast is Misma Island. To the southeast are the Redlick Islets. To the west are the Torlesse Islands and beyond Milne Bay on the eastern tip of New Guinea.
On May 6, 1942 ten Japanese ships entered Deboyne Lagoon including the Kamikawa Maru, a destroyer, cruiser, and transports occupied the area. The Japanese captured eight in the area (three Australian Army signalers and five natives) who became Prisoners Of War (POWs) and established Deboyne Seaplane Base as a forward seaplane operating area used during the Battle of the Coral Sea. The Japanese code for Debonye was "RXE".
On May 7, 1942 a seaplane operating from Deboyne managed to located the U.S. Navy support Group (one battleship, two cruisers three destroyers) 78 miles south of Deboyne at 12:40pm. After the sinking of Shoho two of her aircraft ditched into Deboyne Lagoon near each other: one A6M2 Zero and one A5M4 Claude.
On May 8, 1942 one A6M2 Zero piloted by PO2c Okura Shigeru from the 14th Shotai from Zuikaku ditched into Deboyne Lagoon. Around 3:30pm, G4M1 Number 2271 Tail F-378 ditched into Deboyne Lagoon.
On May 10, 1942 the remaining Japanese withdrew from the Deboyne Lagoon. For nearly a week afterwards, American aircraft continued to bomb the area, unaware the Japanese had withdrawn.
American missions against Deboyne
April 10, 1942–May 16, 1942
During late May 1942 and early June 1942, Australian Army personnel aboard MV Laurabada including Lt Mac Rich and Ivan Chapman arrived at Deboyne. During July 1942, an Australian Technical Rece Party including photographer Lindsay Smooker visited the Deboyne area to inspect the Japanese wreckage.
Large lagoon that surrounds the Deboyne Island Group. Deboyne Seaplane Base was used by the Japanese during May 6-10, 1942 during the Battle of the Coral Sea.
Large island in the center of Deboyne Lagoon. Borders Panaete Island to the north and Nivani Island to the south.
Nivani Island is a small island with a 94.5m elevation and partly forested. The island is situated about a half mile south of Panapompom Island.
Panaeati Island (Panniet)
Largest island at the northern edge of Deboyne Lagoon, densely forested with a conical peak 221m tall. A Wesleyan Mission is located on the western point.
Small island to the east of the Calvados Chain with several shipwrecks. Borders Maneiul Reef.
The First Team (1984) pages 205, 207, 257, 268, 341
The number of aircraft the possibly ditched in the lagoon varies in several sources. The First Team page 262 states that four were lost (plus one ditched at Deboyne?)
The Campaigns of the Pacific War page 53 states ten of the torpedo aircraft were shot down, and quotes the war diary of 25th Air Flotilla as one of its sources.
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