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Lat 3° 39' 43S Long 152° 27' 12E Namatanai is located on the northern coast in the roughly the center of New Ireland. Also known as Namatani, Namatania, Namatano, Namatami and Namatenei. Borders Fangalawa Bay. Located to the northwest 35 miles away is Kavieng. Prewar and during the Pacific War located in the Territory of New Guinea. Today Namatanai is the district capital of Namatanai District. Today, located in Namatanai Rural LLG, Namatanai District, New Ireland Province in Papua New Guinea (PNG).
Prior to the start of the Pacific War, six Australian Army 1st Independent Company commandos commanded by Cpl W. S. Rodgers were stationed at Namatanai. Before the Japanese landings, the commandos moved inland.
On January 28, 1942 the Goya Maru landed Japanese troops at Namatanai and searched the station and Namatanai village but found no one and departed. The area was not visited by the Japanese again until June 5, 1943 when the civilian administration arrived. Ten days later on June 15, 1943 a Chinese resident, Mr. Leong Cheung was shot in public in Namatanai.
American missions against Namatanai
March 17, 1944–May 28, 1944
Namatanai was occupied by the Japanese until the official surrender of Japan in September 1945. On September 19, 1945 HMAS Swan (U74) anchored at Fangalawa Bay near Namatanai and to accept the surrender of Japanese forces on New Ireland and to investigate the fate of the estimated 87 European civilians on New Ireland during the Japanese occupation. Only seven were found to be alive: Rudolf Diercke at Namatanai and Father Gerard Peekel and five Catholic sisters at Fangalawa Bay. Of the remaining eighty, with a few exceptions, no trace was ever found.
Brian Bennett visited in 1985:
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