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    Gasmata (Gasmatta, Surumi, Tsurumi) West New Britain Province Papua New Guinea
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USAAF Sept 9, 1943
Location
Lat 6° 16' 60S Long 150° 19' 60E  Gasmata is located on the southern coast of New Britain. Borders Thilenius Harbor (Gasmata Harbor), Malangrut Island and Awrin Island and the mouth of the Anwek River. Also known as "Gasmatta". The Japanese referred to this location as "Surumi" or "Tsurumi". Today located in West New Britain Province in Papua New Guinea (PNG).

Prewar
The Gasmata area was developed into a coconut palms plantation harvesting copra. A road spanned eastward to Lindenhafen (Linderhaven).

Wartime History
On February 9, 1942 at 2:50am Kinryu Maru and Kozui Maru enter Gasmata Harbor. By 3:35am their troops are loaded aboard Daihatsu landing craft that land without resistance No. 2 Maizuru Special Naval Landing Force (No. 2 Maizuru SNLF) plus airfield engineers from the 8th Base Force that occupy Gasmata and Gasmata Airfield. Afterwards, both ships remain anchored in Gasmata Harbor.

On February 11, 1942 the ships are bombed at low level by three Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Hudsons that score hits causing damage and casualties aboard both ships. This was the first Allied air raid against Gasmata. The Hudsons are intercepted by four A5M4 Claudes that shoot down Hudson A16-91 pilot W/Cdr John M. Lerew and Hudson A16-126 pilot F/O Graham Ian Gibson. Afterwards, both ships undergo repairs with Kinryu Maru departing that night. On February 13, 1942 Kozui Maru departs with a Japanese garrison of 170 personnel remaining at Gasmata to establish a base.

Afterwards, targeted by Allied bombers and fighters for the next two years. The remaining Japanese personnel withdraw before the area was occupied by the Australian Army on March 28, 1944.

Allied missions against Gasmata
February 11, 1942–February 5, 1944

On October 2, 1943 a PT-Boat from Kiriwina lands an group of Australian, American and natives at Ablingi Harbor, west of Gasmata to collect intelligence for two weeks, and afterwards were successfully extracts them. On March 28, 1944 the Australian Army occupies the Gasmata area.

Gasmata Airfield (Surumi, Tsurumi)
Prewar airfield captured and expanded by the Japanese, abandoned by March 1944

Hudson A16-126
Missing over Gasmata on February 11, 1942 discovered March 5, 2008

Hudson A16-101
Pilot Nicolay crashed March 4, 1942

A6M2 Model 21 Zero
Piloted by Tokushige. Missing in the mountains near Gasmata August 17, 1942

Japanese Merchant Ship
Sunk off Gasmata

Hudson A16-165
Pilot Erwin crashed March 4, 1942

Beaufort Mark VIII Serial Number A9-188

Pilot Forrest MIA May 21, 1943 over Gasmata, possibly crashed into the sea, 4 missing

Beaufort Mark VIII Serial Number A9-204
Pilot Allanson crashed September 4, 1943 by anti-aircraft fire over Gasmata

Beaufort Mark VIII Serial Number A9-183
Pilot Anderson crashed September 5, 1943 wreckage located April 1946 remains recovered

Beaufort Mark VIII Serial Number A9-186
Pilot Wiggins MIA September 5, 1943 by anti-aircraft fire, 4 missing

Beaufort Mark VIII Serial Number A9-374
Pilot Woollacott MIA September 5, 1943 by anti-aircraft fire, 4 missing

B-24D Liberator 42-41043
Pilot Harris MIA December 16, 1943 presumed lost at sea, 10 missing

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Last Updated
April 4, 2021

 

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