Monday, July 23, 2007

Bitapaka War Cemetery

Yesterday we visited the Bitapaka War Cemetery outside Kokopo. It is a memorial to the thousand Allied servicemen who were killed in and around Rabaul in World War I, and mainly WWII. Service men from Australia, India, Holland, Fiji, Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea are buried here.

During the Second World War, there were 97 000 Japanese troops stationed here, thousands of allied POW's, and 800 Japanese and Korean prostitutes. The Japanese planned to make Rabaul their major supply base for their invasion of PNG and then south to Australia. As you can imagine we have many historical sites and relics from this terrible time in our history.

This cemetery is administered by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and is set in beautifully manicured lawns and gardens with huge rain trees flanking the entrance.

10 comments:

Ame said...

Hi Jules!

Aaaaaaaahhhhhhh, finally making my way for blog visits! Thanks for visiting!

Beautiful shot you have here...I lost my Dad in April so it's especially touching...

Take care, see ya 'round the blogosphere! LOL!

Ame
=)

Ame said...

Forgot to mention...he served over in France, Germany and the UK during WWII...

Very proud of him...and at least he made it home...unlike so many of our war heroes...

=)

CaBaCuRl said...

A fascinating post, Jules, I had no idea of the importance of Rabaul in WW1.I've found every war cemetery I've visited to be a calm, peaceful place, just right for reflection.

Laura said...

Bitapaka is such a calm, beautiful place - I loved the huge rain trees at the entrance - are they still there? Do you get out to the Pidgins or Duke of York Islands much? I'd love to see some pics from there.

Down to the last few days of packing/sorting befoer my move to Beijing. I've seen that school your friend wll be teaching at on the net - looks nice. Don't know whether I'll teach yet - wnat to learn Mandarin first. I think hubby can keep me in the manner to which I have become accustomed for a while! LOL!

Mme Benaut said...

Jules, thank you for showing this. I think most of us know at least someone who fought in New Guinea.
Also, I read on our blog that you are from Toowoomba - my brother is working in Toowoomba at the moment where he spends part of the week before commuting back to the Sunshine Coast where his wife and son live.

lv2scpbk said...

Thanks for your comment about my sisters horse. I have to agree with you about space.

This is such a nice shot how the stones are angled and draw your eye toward the cross.

Jules said...

Ame - So sorry about your Dad - but he was one of the lucky ones wasn't he? Did he talk much about his experiences?

Laura - Yes the rain trees are still there - will be posting them later in the week. We get to Pidgins quite often so keep an eye out for those posts. Duke of Yorks are also wonderful but harder to get out to as I don't like going in a banana boat - I am a chicken!!!! Please keep visitng when in Beijing - would love to hear about it!!

Mme Benaut - what a co-incidence. I was actually born and raised in Roma but went to Uni and then lived in Toowoomba for 20 years - gulp!!!! It is a very beautiful city.

Steve G said...

Nice post. I enjoyed reading the history at the URL you listed.

Hyde DP said...

some nice googling you did on the question at Hyde DP - there is some follow up comment back there.

Neva said...

Very peaceful view.....thanks for all the info on it!