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    Duvira (Maimba) Oro Province Papua New Guinea (PNG)

Duvira Mission was located inland from Duvira Bay and Duvira village along the Duvira Creek, near the north coast of New Guinea. To the east is the Mambare River and further east is Cape Ward Hunt. Also known as "Maimba".

Prewar History
On July 21, 1924, Reverend Stephen Romney Gill established an Anglican mission at Duvira known as "All Saints Mission Station" or "Duvira Mission". The mission included a church, mission house, power house, workshop, hospital-dispensary, water supply system and a punt (sports field).

Wartime History
On July 30, 1942 Duvira Mission was bombed by Japanese aircraft for the first time.

On August 3, 1942 Duvira Mission was spotted by three Japanese aircraft, two dropped five bombs. One hit near the northeast corner of the mission house, causing a large crater and damaging the building's veranda and caved in the roof from dirt that was thrown upward. Three bombs fell at the northeast corner of the mission, destroying a coconut palm tree that belonged to Borai. Another bomb fell to the side of Robert's house, destroying the structure and uprooting a mango tree and coconut tree. The last bomb feel at the football field at the foot of the hill.

As the war moved closer to Duvira, Reverend Gill relocated his camp further inland to a new camp location known as "X", located down the hill, southwest of the mission station. Then to "X1" further away and afterwards to "X2" closer to the Mambare River, then a third time to "X3" further inland and finally "X4" furthest inland.

During 1942-1943, native people in the vicinity loyal to Reverend Gill aided nine American aviators and escorted them to Reverend Gill at Duvira mission.

On December 30, 1942 5th Air Force A-20s strafe forces in the Duvira Creek.

On January 26-27, 1942 natives brought the crew of Hudson A16-106 to Duvira over two days and were aided by Reverend Gill. After resting for three days, the crew trekked up the Mambare River on January 29, 1942 bound for Ioma roughly 70 miles away, arriving on February 1, 1942.

The next aviator was Sgt Ranta a crew member aboard B-17E Flying Fortress 41-2435 that crashed on August 2, 1942. Next, the seven crew members from B-26 "Dixie" 40-1496 that force landed August 7, 1942 arrived at Duvira. With Gill's assistance, the group of aviators walked to Garaina Airfield and were flown back to Port Moresby and returned to duty.

On November 28, 1942 Lt. Don Sutliff pilot of P-40E Warhawk 41-5610 that crashed on November 22, 1942 was brought to Duvira and was later transported back to Port Moresby.

Reverend Romney Gill wrote:
" 5 p.m., boys arrived to say that an airman - an American - was being brought to me... He [had] spent six nights in that swamp, before he at last struck the Mamba [River]. The emergency articles, which should have been in the 'chute seat were missing, so he suffered much. ... I had Lt. Sutcliffe [sic] with me for nearly sixteen days so we got to know each other. ... Considering the hardships he had been through, he recovered very quickly, but a dose of fever laid him down for several days."

On January 10, 1943 Reverend Gill met a crew member of B-26 “Yeah!” 40-1421 ditched January 7, 1943 into Hercules Bay.

Reverend Gill Diary extract, January 10, 1943:
“An American airman was brought up from the coast at 6pm. I spoke to him for a few minutes a the Tamata crossing. He then went on to Ioma. Boys carried him on an improvised strecher. He was one of a crew of six of a B.26, which had its engines knocked out by ackack fire over Lae. The plane came down into the sea just before reaching this coast. The others were either killed or drowned. He seems to have come ashore near the Eia, and was found by P.I.B.s and villagers at the Gira [River] Mouth.”

On December 31, 1942 another Japanese air raid completely destroyed Duvira Mission.

On April 6 1943 John B. McKenna, Assistant District Officer, Mambare District visited the site of the Duvira Mission and found it "totally destroyed with all their contents, and nothing of value remains to be salvaged."

Letters from the Papuan Bush 1942-1946 by Reverend Stephen Romney Gill
"On July 30, 1942 Duvira Mission was first bombed by Japanese aircraft. On December 31, 1942 another Japanese air raid completely destroyed Duvira Mission."
Statutory Declaration John B. McKena, Assistant District Officer, 8 April 1943

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Last Updated
September 17, 2020


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