75th Anniversary Retaking of Lae 1943-2018
Seventy-five years ago, following on from the defeat of the Japanese in Papua, the Allied Forces comprising of United States & Australian soldiers, sailors and airman began their offensive to drive the Japanese from New Guinea. In 1943 a series of operations paved the way for General Douglas MacArthur’s to advance into Dutch East Indies and the Philippines.
Other battles in Australian history such as Gallipoli and Kokoda, can some time overshadow other military achievements. However, the battles in New Guinea involved five Australian divisions including militia forces along with a large part of the RAAF and an even larger contingent of the Royal Australian Navy.
While many Australians know the names of the Papuan campaigns, names like Kokoda, Milne Bay and Buna, how many are familiar with the names of the battles fought in New Guinea. Name such as Komiatum, Bobdubi Ridge, Sattelberg, Kaiapit, Finschhafen or Shaggy Ridge. These are name which are now the battle honours of many Australian units and hard-won victories that ultimately liberated New Guinea and paved the way to final victory to the Pacific.
Join historian David Howell as we visit the key points of the Salamaua-Lae campaign. Through a unique blend of adventure, master story telling and living history, David will bring to life the events of 1943 as he accompanies you on this once in a lifetime pilgrimage. This tour will visit the isthmus at Salamaua and take in both Yellow and Red beaches where the Australian 9th Division came ashore 75 years ago before attending the official commemorative service at the Lae War Cemetery on 16 September.
Suitable for all ages and fitness levels.
Day 1- 13 September 2018
On arrival in Port Moresby we will be met by historian David Howell before transferring to the domestic terminal and our flight to Lae. Landing at Nazdab we will then make our way to our hotel. The group will meet in the hotel lobby at 6pm before moving to dinner in the main conference room. Over dinner David will give a presentation on Operation Postern, the Allied retaking of Lae.
Day 2- 14 September 2018
After a buffet breakfast, we will gather in the main foyer before boarding our air-conditioned bus. We will then drive to Red & Yellow Beach, the landing ground on which the Australian 9th Division came ashore. This was the first major amphibious operation undertaken by the Australian Army since Gallipoli and your historian will bring to life the events of 1943. We will then return to the hotel for lunch. In the afternoon we will tour the township of Lae taking in the Japanese caves under Mt Lunamen and visiting the Amelia Earhart Memorial. Dinner will be served in the main dining room. (B, L, D)
Day 3- 15 September 2018
Early breakfast this morning as we head down to the wharf at the Lae Yacht Club. We will then board our board our pleasure craft for a relaxing ride to Salamaua. Upon arrival your historian will bring to life the many stories pertaining to the fighting in the area, including the story of Flight Lieutenant William Newton VC. We will also explore the many remnants left over from the war and have a unique village experience including a traditional Sing Sing. Our boat will unload our picnic lunch which will be taken near the famous Salamaua isthmus and the sheltered beach makes for good swimming. For those who would like to accompany David on a short walk we will visit Coastwatchers Ridge. The civilian cemetery is also worth a visit. Our boat will be standing by to return us back to Lae, then on to the hotel for a leisurely afternoon and our evening meal. (B, L, D)
Day 4- 16 September 2018
Today marks the 75th anniversary of the Allied recapture of Lae. After our buffet breakfast we will board our bus to the Lae War Cemetery. Here we will attend the official commemorative service as we remember all those who served during the Campaign. You are encouraged to wear your own and/or relative’s medals and we will have an opportunity to lay a wreath during the service. After the service we will have plenty of time to tour the cemetery. Your historian will recall the stories of some of those who are buried here. Like Lieutenant Albert Chowne VC MM. The cemetery is located adjacent to the Botanical Gardens and there will also be time to stroll through the grounds and ideal location for quiet contemplation. We will return to the hotel for lunch, in the afternoon you can relax and avail of the many facility at the hotel there will be opportunity to visit the local Melanesian arts & craft market where you can buy some traditional souvenirs. Tonight, we will have our last dinner at the hotel. (B, L, D)
Day 5- 17 September 2018
Sadly, our Lae Tour comes to and end after breakfast. We will transfer to the domestic airport for our return trip Port Moresby before boarding our international flight back to Australia. (B)