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Lark Force on Rabaul

Japanese landing near Vulcan, Rabaul by Geoffrey Mainwaring,  1970

Japanese marines attack Rabaul

Men of the 2/22nd Battalion AIF

During March and April 1941, the 2/22nd Battalion (Lark Force) arrived in Rabaul, New Britain, to protect the airfield and seaplane anchorage and to provide an observation post. 

These different tasks led to separate small defensive localities such that, when the Japanese landed on 23 January 1942, their many times stronger force was able to drive the Australians out of their positions.


The Australians took various escape routes and a substantial number found their way back to Australia. Of those who were captured, at least 141 were executed at the Tol Plantation on 4 February 1942, and more than 1000 died on 1 July 1942 when the Montevideo Maru, on which they were being shipped to Japan, was torpedoed.

The Rabaul 1942/45 Memorial


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Digger History:  an unofficial history of the Australian & New Zealand Armed Forces