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    Matupi Island (Matupit) East New Britain Province Papua New Guinea (PNG)
Click For Enlargement
January 5, 1943

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5th AF November 2, 1943

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Justin Taylan 2007
Location
Lat 4° 15' 0S Long 152° 10' 60E  Matupi Island is located to the south of Rabaul. Borders Simpson Harbor to the west and Matupi Harbor to the east. To the north is Lakunai Airfield. At the northern tip of Matupi Island was a causeway bridge that connected the island to the southern tip of the Gazelle peninsula. Also spelled "Matupit".

Wartime History
On January 23, 1942 occupied by the Japanese and developed into a supply area to support the adjacent Matupi Seaplane Base and Lakunai Airfield to the north. During 1944, targeted by Allied bombers. Occupied by the Japanese for the duration of the Pacific War until the official surrender of Japan in September 1945.

Allied mission against Matupi Harbor
January 23, 1944–October 15, 1944

Today
Postwar, volcanic eruptions have deposited substantial ash that has added landmass to Matupi Island connecting it to the mainland and changing the shoreline and shape slightly since the war.

Matupi Seaplane Base
Seaplane mooring area used by the Japanese during the war

H6K5 Mavis
Sunk in shallow water off Matupi Island

A6M5 Model 52 Zero Manufacture Number 4323
Salvaged in 1971 from the water, destroyed in fire in San Diego

B-25D "Fifi" 41-30311
Pilot Wilkins crashed November 2, 1943

Matupi Island Massacre / Matupi Mass Grave
During 1942, Allied personnel were executed by the Japanese and buried in a mass grave on Matupi Island, near the base of Tavurvur. Postwar, this mass grave was investigated and exhumed by a RAAF Searcher Team led by S/L Keith Rundle during May - June 1947 and June-July 1950. The bodies of 30 Allied aviators were recovered, including 15 Australians. Some had been beheaded, others had gunshot wounds.

Matupi mass grave remains recovered and identified include:
1. Flying-Officer Ross Bryan O'Loghlen navigator Beaufort A9-262
2. Flight Lt Geoffrey Hubert Vincent pilot Beaufort A9-244
3. Sgt David Stuart Brown pilot P-40E A29-38
4. L.A.C. Ernest John McDonald armour Catalina A24-18
5. L.A.C. John Joseph Burns rigger Catalina A24-18
6. Corporal Alfred Roland Hocking asst engineer Catalina A24-18
7. Flying-Officer Allan Leslie Norman pilot Catalina A24-18
8. Flying-Officer Francis O'Connell Anderson navigator Catalina A24-18
9. Corporal Alfred Henry Lanagan engineer Catalina A24-18
10. L.A.C. William Murdoch Parker radio Catalina A24-18
11. Warrant-Officer John Pretty Bailey navigator Beaufort A9-244
12. L.A.C. Vernon Holloway Hardwick asst radio Catalina A24-18
13. Flying-Officer Frederick Arthur Donald Dierecks co-pilot Catalina A24-18
14. 2nd Lt Henry A. Keel pilot B-25C Mitchell 41-12462 dogtag and remains found
15. 1st Lt. David S. Hunter pilot P-400 Airacobra

Today
During 1984, five youths from Matupit island were blown to pieces when they tried to tamper with a 1,000 kilogram unexploded wartime bomb on the island.

References
Advocate "Murdered Servicemen's Bodies Found Near Rabaul" July 15, 1950
The National "Papua New Guinea Warning on Live Bombs" April 4, 2001

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Last Updated
November 14, 2018

 

Map
Map
March 18, 1943
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