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by A. P. H. Freund
Lutheran Homes Inc.  1989
200 pages
photos, illustrations, maps
ISBN: 0731670450
Cover Price: $25.00
Language: English

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Missionary Turns Spy
Pastor A. P. H. Freund's Story of His Service with the New Guinea Coast Watchers in the War Against Japan, 1942-1943

Missionary Turns Spy is the memoirs of Australian Pastor A. P. H. Freund who was a Lutheran missionary who arrived January 1936 at Finschafen in New Guinea. He was posted to Awelkon Mission on Umboi Island (Rooke Island) in the Siassi Islands between New Guinea and New Britain.

During 1940, Royal Australian Navy (RAN) Lt. Commander Eric Feldt who was formally a district officer in New Guinea visited Rooke Island to recruit Europeans and missionaries to serve as a coastwatcher and would be provided a Teleradio 3B radio designated station VLD6 and fuel. At that time, the perceived threat was from German raiders operating in the Pacific but as the months past, also the threat of aggression from Japan. The work was voluntary without pay or compensation, aside from free use of the radio equipment.

As a coastwatcher at Awelkon Mission at an elevation of 1,700' on Rooke Island, Freund was able to observe the Vitiaz Strait and Dampier Strait on clear days could see New Guinea and New Britain. On December 7, 1941 Freund was at Salamaua when news of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was received and evacuation orders were issued for all European women and children in the Territory of New Guinea. That same day, he learned his mother had passed away in Australia. Although he initially believed the order to evacuate was premature, on December 25, 1941 his wife Dora and two son were transported to Salamaua Airfield and flown aboard a DH.84 Dragon Rapide to Port Moresby then to Australia.

On January 10, 1942 Freund made his first coastwatcher radio report when he observed a large Japanese flyingboat flying at roughly 1,000' and only a few hundred yards off the island. Every few days, more planes were observed culminating in the January 21, 1941 Japanese air strike against locations in New Guinea including Lae, Salamaua and Madang.

Review by Justin Taylan  

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Last Updated
September 21, 2023

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