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    Talili Bay East New Britain Province Papua New Guinea (PNG)
Click For Enlargement
USAAF April 29, 1941

Click For Enlargement
USAAF November 1943
Talili Bay is located on the north coast of the Gazelle Peninsula of New Britain in East New Britain Province in Papua New Guinea. To the east is Rabaul and offshore to the northwest is Watom Island. Bordering to the south is Kula.

Wartime History
During the Pacific War, Talili Bay was occupied by the Japanese during late January 1942 until their surrender in September 1945. During the Japanese occupation, Talili Bay was used primarily by barges and small ships.

American missions against Talili Bay
March 26, 1944–June 9, 1944

Talili Bay Massacre / Tunnel Hill Massacre / Tunnel Hill Incident
On March 4, 1944 and March 5, 1944 two group of prisoners were removed from Tunnel Hill POW Camp and walked to Tanoura at the edge of Talili Bay and executed. This incident became known as "Talili Bay Massacre", Tunnel Hill Massacre" or "Tunnel Hill Incident".


After the surrender of Japan in September 1945 during postwar cleanups, Japanese munitions collected from tunnels in the vicinity were dumped into Talili Bay off Kula Lodge. The dumped material included shells, armaments and other war materials.

F1M2 Pete
Sunk into Talili Bay off Tavui

A6M2 Model 21 Zero
Sunk as a dive site in the 1980s

F4U Corsair Serial Number NZ5274

Pilot Thomson MIA June 20, 1944

TBF Avenger Serial Number NZ2521
Pilot Trolove crashed May 31, 1944

Japanese Barges
There is the wreckage of several barges sunken in shallow water near the Kula Lodge.

Perpetuation of Testimony of Former 1st Lieut. James A. McMurria
"Q. The Japanese authorities claim that approximately forty (40) Allied prisoners were killed during an air raid while they were being evacuated from Tunnel Hill and sent to Watom Island which is located in Talili Bay. Whether or not this is a fact seems highly improbable. State how the prisoners were removed from the cave at Tunnel Hill after the bombing of Rabaul City. (This point is very important because the Japanese claim that the Allied prisoners were killed during an air raid and all at one time). When the prisoners were removed from the cave at Tunnel Hill POW Camp, were they removed in two separate groups, at an interval of approximately one day, and [why] were they blindfolded and hand-cuffed? Who removed the Allied prisoners? Was it the Kempai Tai guards, and were there any Kempai Tai officers present? What was the date and time of day? Were any of the prisoners who were removed from the cave on the verge of death? After the forty Allied prisoners were supposed to have been killed by bombs during an air raid, were any injured prisoners or injured guards brought back to the Tunnel Hill POW Camp?
A. In answering these questions, I wish to say that there were not forty prisoners removed from the cave. There were approximately twenty-one prisoners. They were blindfolded, tied and handcuffed by members of the Japanese Kempai Tai. They were split into two groups. One group was marched away at approximately 1000 hours, 4 March 1944 and the second group was marched away at approximately 1000 hours, 5 March 1944. It was not possible for all these prisoners, being separated into two groups and marched away at a one day interval, to have been killed all at one time. Yes, I would say that some of the prisoners were on the verge of death. We were not even allowed to mention the incident from the time of occurrence on. No prisoners were ever brought back and the guards never came back."
Hostages To Freedom The Fall of Rabaul (1995) by Peter Stone pages 296 (map)

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Last Updated
June 15, 2019


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