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

Click For Enlargement
USAAF November 1943
Location
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 between 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 - April 15, 1944

Talili Bay Massacre
After the heavy Allied bombing of Rabaul, on March 5, 1944 a group of twenty-one Allied prisoners were taken from Tunnel Hill POW Camp to Tallil Bay and executed in retribution for the heavy Allied bombing by the Japanese. Other sources state that forty Allied prisoners were executed, this is incorrect. This incident was known as the Talili Bay Massacre.

Postwar, to cover up this atrocity, the Japanese claimed that approximately forty Allied prisoners were killed by Allied bombing during an air raid while at Talili Bay after being evacuated from Tunnel Hill and their bodies were cremated. This was a lie to cover up the massacre. The remains of the Americans were transported to the United States and on March 21, 1950 buried at Jefferson Barracks in a group burial section 78, graves 930-934.

Talili Bay Massacre victims include:
1. Major Ralph Cheli Medal of Honor B-25D 41-30117 executed Mar 3/4, 44
2. 2nd Lt Thomas F. Doyle B-24D 41-24101 executed March 3/4, 1944
3. 2nd Lt Alston F. Sugden B-24D 41-24101 executed March 3/4, 1944
4. Sgt Raymond J. Farnell Jr. B-24D 41-24101 executed March 3/4, 1944
5. Sgt Michael H. Kicera, B-25D 41-30094 executed March 3/4, 1944
6. TSgt John M. Barron, B-25D 41-30094 executed March 3/4, 1944
7. SSgt William C. Harris, B-25D 41-30094 executed March 3/4, 1944
8. Major Frederick K. Koebig navigator B-24D "Pretty Praire Special" 41-24186 remains recovered postwar
9. 1st Lt Anthony Kuhn bombardier B-24D "Pretty Praire Special" 41-24186 remains recovered postwar
10. SSgt Lawson Stewart engineer B-24D "Pretty Praire Special" 41-24186 remains recovered postwar
11. Cpl Vincent Wasilevski assistant engineer B-24D "Pretty Praire Special" 41-24186 remains recovered postwar
12. SSgt Edward T. Constantin gunner B-24D "Pretty Praire Special" 41-24186 remains recovered postwar
13. SSgt Romulus F. Mull gunner B-24D "Pretty Praire Special" 41-24186 remains recovered postwar
14. Lt. Joseph W. Hill, P-40F 41-19838 executed March 3/4, 1944
15. Capt Alexander Rae Berry TBF Avenger 06109 executed March 15, 1944
16. 1st Lt. Andrew J. Borders, Jr. P-40F 41-14107 executed March 3/4, 1944
17. 1st Lt. John P. Cox P-38H 42-66892 executed March 3/4, 1944
18. 2nd Lt. Herschel D. Evans B-25D 41-30561 executed March 3/4, 1944
19. 1st Lt. Donald L. Stookey B-25D 41-30561 executed March 3/4, 1944
20. 1st Lt. Walter T. Mayberry F4U 02351 executed March 3/4, 1944
21. Pfc Paul F. McCleaf SBD-5 36230 executed March 3/4, 1944

Postwar

After the war, Japanese munitions collected in the area from tunnels were dumped into Talili Bay off the present day Kula Lodge. The dumped material included shells, armaments and other war refuse.

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.

References
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."

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Last Updated
December 10, 2018

 

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