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Lat 8° 3' 0S Long 156° 31' 60E Ranongga Island is located at the western edge of "The slot". To the east is Ghizo Island. In wartime documents and maps spelled "Ganongga Island" or "Gannonga Island".
During 1943, the Japanese briefly had a small staging base on Ranongga. During the Munda campaign, Ranongga Island was at the western edge of the combat.
American missions against Ranongga Island (Ganongga)
July 9, 1943–August 26, 1943
Wartime village located on the coast of Ranongga. Likley what is now called Emu Harbor at the northern tip of Ranongga Island. Wartime spelling: Buki village on Buki Island. The Japanese maintained a small barge base at this location. The base personnel withdrew to Kolombangara on September 19-23, 1943.
American missions against Buri
June 23, 1943 (13th AF, USN) Eight B-25s from 69th BS and half dozen TBF Avengers with an escort of 24 F4U Corsairs from VMF-122 and VMF-213. It is recorded they dropped six 2000 pound bombs on Buri village. (doesn't equate with the number of bombers; however, the diary scribe may have been making a point of just recorded the larger bombs which were 'daisy cutters') They also severely strafed the area. The raid was poorly led and the weather was also very poor. The TBFs bombed very low under the cloud ceiling and one TBF was damaged by its own bomb blast. References: TF-33 War Diary entry; VMF-213 War Diary; Strike Command War Diary; Isolation of Rabaul.
Discovered underwater during 2002
Discovered after 2007 tsunami, reported as PT Boat, proved to be Japanese barge
American Remains Found on Ranonga Island
In 2006, locals discovered the remains of an American buried on the island, with his dog tag. The remains belong to Seaman 1st Class, General Preston Douglas, 2960771 was a crew member of the USS Helena (CL-50) sunk July 1943 in the Kula Gulf. He had been buried with dog tag on him in a shallow grave about 200 yards from the beach, he was officially declared dead on August 10, 1945. The locals have no stories about him. It is a mystery as to how he got there, died and who buried him. During the middle of September 2006, a team from JPAC recovered his remains.
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - General P. Douglas "remains have been recovered"
FindAGrave - S1 General Preston Douglas (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - General Preston Douglas (Gollihon Cemetery)
Thanks to John Innes and Ewan Stevenson for additional information
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