were first attested at the mainland centers
by Col WALSTAB en route to Rabaul via those areas a few days before
first enlistments at Rabaul which occurred on 19th or 20th September
1939. The response of the young and not so young able-bodied men was
immediate and enthusiastic in every centre where detachments were
formed. Within 10 days 200 Volunteers were attested at Rabaul
response from other centers were just as enthusiastic. Close to 600
Territory Residents enlisted with the NGVR but at no time did the
Effective strength exceed 350. This was due to the constant discharge
of personnel of all ranks for enlisting in the AIF either in Australia
or with one of the many detachments which left the Territory for that
purpose, with NGX numbers. With the exception of Officials of the
District Services Department of the Territory - who for some unknown
reason did not join the NGVR - the Unit was representative of a
splendid cross-section of the community of the Territory.
The following initial appointments were made from the Reserve of Officers
Officer - Maj (Lt Col) Charles
- 2nd in
Command (2IC)- Maj (Capt) Harold
- Adjutant -
VX108390 Lt (Lt Col) John Charles
- A Company
Commanding, (OC) - NG4053 Lt (Capt)
John Harold McKenzie EDWARDS.
DCM/MC/MM (World War 1) (Deceased 1 July 1942 aboard
MONTEVIDEO MARU as a Civilian).
Lt (Aussie) GRAY
Commanding,(OC) - Capt (Maj) C. DUCHATCH.
- 7. Capt
- 8. NG2017
Lt (Maj) Edmund William JENYNS. MID.
Medical Officers -
Maj Norman Bennington WATCH;
Capt (Maj) Phillip James WOODHILL and
Lt (Capt) Claude Geoffrey KILNER.
in 1940 NG2000 Sgt William Manning EDWARDS was promoted to Lieut OC
Coastal Detachment. (Later in the War he was appointed to CO (Lt Col)
1 New Guinea Infantry Battalion and on Formation of the Pacific
Islands Regiment (PIR) at end of 1944 was appointed its First
Commanding Officer (Colonel).
Jan 1940, Lt John Charles MULLALY was appointed Adjutant and
Quartermaster of Unit pending the availability of a Staff Corps
Officer for that appointment (None eventuated).
may be of interest to personnel of the PNGVR to know that later in the
War the initial Adjutant of the NGVR as then CO of the Depot
Battalion, PIR was Parade Commander of the first Royal Review ever to
be held in Papua or New Guinea. The occasion was the visit to the
Depot at NADZAB in June 1945 of HRH the Duke of Gloucester who
reviewed the Unit which, a few weeks later, became 3 New Guinea
Infantry Battalion. HRH visited the Royal Papuan Constabulary at LAE
two days later.
August or September 1940 after six or seven weeks of intensive
training (in the conduct of which the Unit had been greatly
assisted by two Australian Instructional Corps (AIC) Instructors
who were allocated in June 1940 from Australia - WO2 UMPHELBY
(Maj) and "Barney" BARNARD (Capt) - the following
personnel were appointed to commissioned Rank as Lieutenants with
the Unit -
Rifleman (Rfn) James Clarence ARCHER (Rabaul).
Sgt Henry (Harry) Thomas WYATT and
Sgt Gordon RUSSELL (Coastal Detachment) and
Ian McLEARN and
Sgt Hugh McMillan LYON (later Maj, 2IC; 1 NGIB)
HQ was set up in a small bungalow at the corner of Casuarina Avenue
and Kamerere Street, Rabaul at the end of Sep 1939.. It contained also
the Armory and Q-Store. A splendid Parade Ground with Training Huts
and Equipment Stores was established in the Botanical Gardens within a
matter of a few days. An excellent Rifle Range for Rifle, Lewis and
Vickers Machine Gun practice was made in the Lakunai-Matupa Farm
Tactical Exercises were carried out also in this area and elsewhere.
Corresponding set-ups were established at Goldfields and Mainland
Coastal Areas. Training Parades were held on Tuesday evenings and
during weekends. They were attended with regularity and enthusiasm
which did not wane. Army Forms in abundance soon reached the Unit but
it was months before up-to-date Training Manuals and Pamphlets (including
Pam 18) put in an appearance and not till Jun 1940, with the arrival
of the two AIC Instructors, that we had the advantage of 1st class
unbounded enthusiasm compensated for lack of technique. Backyard
training several nights a week supplemented the usual official
Parades. In the view of the role of the Unit the aim was efficiency
for all personnel in the use of all weapons available to it. This was
certainly attained by the great majority of the Volunteers. Their
standard of Education, Intelligence and Character qualified fully 75%
of members as potential Officers. Of the survivors of the RABAUL
Invasion and those at SALAMAUA and LAE fully that percentage held
Commissioned Rank of varying degrees in one or other Army Branch of
the Services at the termination of hostilities.
provided the Armed Escort for Enemy Aliens dispatched from the
Territory in Sept 1939 for internment in Australia. The Unit provided
similar escorts on two following occasions within the next few months.
Action Stations, to comply with the Units Role, were located at
strategic points along the shores of Blanche Bay and several night
exercises related thereto had been carried out by the end of 1940.
Lack of Unit transport was overcome with the co-operation of various
business firms and individuals, loaning trucks and utilities for the
purpose. Similar facilities were made available to other detachments.
for prospective NCO's to replace wastage caused by enlistment with AIF
were held by all Detachments at regular intervals.
Detachment carried out a forced night march in Battle Dress from Wau
to Salamaua during Christmas 1940/41 in record time. The return trip
was done by air.
to be outdone; Coastal Detachment shortly afterwards did the trip from
Lae to Salamaua and return in one weekend.
is fitting that a tribute should be made to the practical and material
assistance given to NGVR in it's earlier days by Inspector
"Sandy" SINCLAIR who, at that time, was Drill Instructor to
the New Guinea Native Constabulary at Rabaul. It was valuable material
and greatly appreciated, particularly at times to a somewhat harassed
Adjutant. "Sandy" Sinclair later held the appointment of
Officer in Charge of the Royal Papuan-New Guinea Constabulary at
in 1941, the 2/22nd Infantry Battalion arrived at RABAUL and further
NGVR Training was gradually merged with that of that Battalion. Only a
few NGVR survived the war, they being Officers of the Unit. The rest
of the NGVR were lost when they were placed aboard the Japanese leased
Liner MONTEVIDEO MARU and were being taken back to Japan when an
American submarine - USS Sturgeon - seeing the lone ship, with no
escort, and thinking it was loaded with supplies for Japan, sank
were no survivors except for approx 20 crew who, making it to the Philippine
Mainland were then killed by guerilla fighters.
- Amongst those
members of the NGVR who survived the Battle for Rabaul, Lae and
Salamaua are -
458 Lt James Clarence ARCHER; (later Assistant
Secretary of the Territories Department, Canberra, ACT.
457 Lieut Claude Geoffrey KILNER; (Adjutant, NGVR,
April 1941 to Capture of Rabaul).
Rifleman Richard Edward Paul DWYER; (later Director of
Agriculture, Port Moresby, PING.)
262 Lt Col James Irwin CROMIE; (Adjutant NGVR for a
time after Jap occupation of Lae and Salamaua and later
Solicitor, Port Moresby, PNG).
Lt Col Allan Gordon CAMERON; Capt and Adjutant 2/22
Infantry Battalion and late of Phillip Island, Victoria).
455 Col William Manning EDWARDS; (OC Coastal
Detachment, NGVR at occupation of Lae and Salamaua; He escaped
and served through to the end of the New Guinea Campaign).
Carl GUNTHER; Medical Officer Bulolo Gold Dredging
Company and OC C Company, Wau, Bulolo, NGVR.
Chinese Contribution to the NGVR.
|Bitapaka, New Guinea.
1945-11-04. Private Shui Hong, now of 118 General Hospital, who
served with the New Guinea Volunteer Rifles in New Guinea, has a
reunion with his family.
the formation of the NGVR in Sep 1939, the Chinese Community of New
Guinea were very keen to play a part in it. There was no provision for
their enrolment with the Unit.
Regimental Medical Officer (RMO) Maj Norman Bennington WATCH,
suggested they form an Auxiliary Stretcher Bearer Unit which could be
unofficially attached to NGVR. This was organised early in 1940 under
the guidance of the RMO and his most efficient medical WO2 NGX496 WO2
Bob Kennedy MSM. It was a most capable and efficient Unit of about 40
young Chinese Residents of Rabaul.
WO2 KENNEDY was executed by the Japanese at the fall of RABAUL; Norman
WATCH was captured and spent the rest of the war at ZENTJU Camp in
Japan and Died in Sydney NSW in 1951.