BY NATALIE CHOLOHEI
THE stories of battles in World War II should remind people that freedom should not be taken for granted.
Australian Consul General for Lae Paul Murphy said this during the commemoration of the Huon Peninsula campaign at the Scarlet Beach in Finschhafen district over the weekend.
“The sacrifices by the Australian soldiers 75 years ago have formed the bedrock for the freedom we now have,” he said.
Mr Murphy said the Huon Peninsula campaign was a major battle to liberate Finschhafen and Huon Peninsula from Japanese occupation in Sept, 1943.
“The campaign began with an amphibious landing here at the Scarlet Beach on Sept 22, 1943 and that was the opening salvo in a series of battles which raged for six months,” Mr Murphy said.
Katika community leader Fabian Mala said history was created on Scarlet Beach on that very day with the landing of the Australian Army Infantry’s 9th Division that led to the liberation of Finschhafen and contributed to the allied forces victory in PNG during WWII.
“Finschhafen was strategic as it served as the only linkage to the enemy build up on New Britain Island so it had to be cleared first and thanks to the heroics of the Australian Army’s 20th, 26th and 24th brigades which successfully landed, fought and conquered Finschhafen, Sattleberg and Wareo,” he said.
The allied forces continued further north for 97 days, ending the campaign in Alexishhafen in Madang in April 24, 1944 which led to the surrendering of the Japanese forces afterwards.
The commemoration of the Huon Peninsula has marked the last celebration of the four major battles in Morobe province during WWII in which the Australian Consulate Genera in Lae had hosted since January this year.
The Battle of Wau was commemorated in January 30; the liberation of Salamaua on September 8; liberation of Lae on September 9; and Huon Peninsula campaign on September 22.