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US Officer visits Papuan Village, 1942

US Officer visits Papuan Village, 1942

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US Officer visits Papuan Village, 1942

Here we see an American officer visiting a Papuan village at some point during 1942, with one of the village's long houses in the background.

Lidice: The Annihilation of a Czech Town

Lidice was a small Czech town located about 12 miles (20 km) from Prague. In June 1942, German forces annihilated Lidice. They razed the town to the ground and murdered or deported its residents. The annihilation of Lidice was an act of revenge for the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich, a prominent Nazi official.

Key Facts

On May 27, 1942, two members of the Czechoslovak resistance mortally wounded Reinhard Heydrich, a top Nazi leader. Heydrich died on June 4, 1942.

In retaliation for Heydrich’s death, the Nazis chose to annihilate the Czech town of Lidice. German police and SS officials shot the men and deported the women and children. The Germans tried to remove all traces of the town’s existence.

The annihilation of Lidice became an international symbol of Nazi war crimes and brutality.

Beginning on the night of June 9 – 10, 1942, German police and SS officials destroyed the Czech town of Lidice in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia (the German-occupied Czech lands). The Nazis destroyed Lidice as a reprisal action for the assassination and death of Reinhard Heydrich , a high-ranking Nazi leader. The Germans falsely claimed that two families from the town of Lidice were somehow connected to the assassins and the Czech resistance.

In Lidice, the Germans shot the men of the town, and then deported most of the women and children. Next, they burned the town to the ground. They promised to obliterate the name of Lidice from the map of Europe.

The destruction of Lidice and the brutal treatment of its inhabitants was widely reported internationally. Lidice became a symbol of Nazi Germany's wartime brutality.

The Untold Story of the Vengeful Japanese Attack After the Doolittle Raid

At midday on April 18, 1942, 16 U.S. Army bombers, under the command of daredevil pilot Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle, thundered into the skies over Tokyo and other key Japanese industrial cities in a surprise raid designed to avenge the attack on Pearl Harbor. For the 80 volunteer raiders, who lifted off that morning from the carrier Hornet, the mission was one-way. After attacking Japan, most of the aircrews flew on to Free China, where low on fuel, the men either bailed out or crash-landed along the coast and were rescued by local villagers, guerrillas and missionaries.

That generosity shown by the Chinese would trigger a horrific retaliation by the Japanese that claimed an estimated quarter-million lives and would prompt comparisons to the 1937-38 Rape of Nanking. American military authorities, cognizant that a raid on Tokyo would result in a vicious counterattack upon free China, saw the mission through regardless, even keeping the operation a secret from their Pacific theater allies. This chapter of the Doolittle Raid has largely gone unreported—until now.

Long-forgotten missionary records discovered in the archives of DePaul University for the first time shed important new light on the extent to which the Chinese suffered in the aftermath of the Doolittle raid.

In the moments after the attack on Tokyo, Japanese leaders fumed over the raid, which had revealed China’s coastal provinces as a dangerous blind spot in the defense of the homeland. American aircraft carriers not only could launch surprise attacks from the seas and land safely in China but could possibly even fly bombers directly from Chinese airfields to attack Japan. The Japanese military ordered an immediate campaign against strategically important airfields, issuing an operational plan in late April, just days after the Doolittle raid.

Survivor accounts point to an ulterior objective: to punish the Chinese allies of the United States forces, especially those towns where the American aviators had bailed out after the raid. At the time, Japanese forces occupied Manchuria as well as key coastal ports, railways and industrial and commercial centers in China.

Target Tokyo: Jimmy Doolittle and the Raid That Avenged Pearl Harbor

The dramatic account of one of America’s most celebrated— and controversial—military campaigns: the Doolittle Raid.

The United States had neither boots on the ground nor faith that the Chinese military could repel any farther advances by occupying Japanese forces. Details of the destruction that would soon follow—just as officials in Washington and Chungking, the provisional capital of China, and even Doolittle, had long predicted—would come from the records of American missionaries, some of whom had helped the raiders. The missionaries knew of the potential wrath of the Japanese, having lived under a tenuous peace in this border region just south of occupied China. Stories of the atrocities at Nanking, where the river had turned red from blood, had circulated widely. When the Japanese came into a town, “the first thing that you see is a group of cavalrymen,” Herbert Vandenberg, an American priest, would recall. “The horses have on shiny black boots. The men wear boots and a helmet. They are carrying sub-machine guns.”

Wreckage of Major General Doolittle's plane somewhere in China after the raid on Tokyo. Doolittle is seated on wreckage to the right. (Corbis)

Vandenberg had heard the news broadcasts of the Tokyo raid in the mission compound in the town of Linchwan, home to about 50,000 people, as well as to the largest Catholic church in southern China, with a capacity to serve as many as a thousand. Days after the raid letters reached Vandenberg from nearby missions in Poyang and Ihwang, informing him that local priests cared for some of the fliers. “They came to us on foot,” Vandenberg wrote. “They were tired and hungry. Their clothing was tattered and torn from climbing down the mountains after bailing out. We gave them fried chicken. We dressed their wounds and washed their clothes. The nuns baked cakes for the fliers. We gave them our beds.”

By early June, the devastation had begun. Father Wendelin Dunker observed the result of a Japanese attack on the town of Ihwang:

“They shot any man, woman, child, cow, hog, or just about anything that moved, They raped any woman from the ages of 10 – 65, and before burning the town they thoroughly looted it.”

He continued, writing in his unpublished memoir, “None of the humans shot were buried either, but were left to lay on the ground to rot, along with the hogs and cows.”

The Japanese marched into the walled city of Nancheng at dawn on the morning of June 11, beginning a reign of terror so horrendous that missionaries would later dub it “the Rape of Nancheng.” Soldiers rounded up 800 women and herded them into a storehouse outside the east gate. “For one month the Japanese remained in Nancheng, roaming the rubble-filled streets in loin clothes much of the time, drunk a good part of the time and always on the lookout for women,” wrote the Reverend Frederick McGuire. “The women and children who did not escape from Nancheng will long remember the Japanese—the women and girls because they were raped time after time by Japan’s imperial troops and are now ravaged by venereal disease, the children because they mourn their fathers who were slain in cold blood for the sake of the ‘new order’ in East Asia.”

At the end of the occupation, Japanese forces systematically destroyed the city of 50,000 residents. Teams stripped Nancheng of all radios, while others looted the hospitals of drugs and surgical instruments. Engineers not only wrecked the electrical plant but pulled up the railroad lines, shipping the iron out. A special incendiary squad started its operation on July 7 in the city’s southern section. “This planned burning was carried on for three days,” one Chinese newspaper reported, “and the city of Nancheng became charred earth.”

Over the summer, the Japanese laid waste to some 20,000 square miles. They looted towns and villages, then stole honey and scattered beehives. Soldiers devoured, drove away, or simply slaughtered thousands of oxen, pigs, and other farm animals some wrecked vital irrigation systems and set crops on fire. They destroyed bridges, roads, and airfields.“Like a swarm of locusts, they left behind nothing but destruction and chaos,” Dunker wrote.

Four of the American fliers who raided Tokyo grin out from beneath Chinese umbrellas that they borrowed. (Bettmann/Corbis)

Those discovered to have helped the Doolittle raiders were tortured. In Nancheng, soldiers forced a group of men who had fed the airmen to eat feces before lining up ten of them for a “bullet contest” to see how many people a single bullet would pass through before it stopped. In Ihwang, Ma Eng-lin, who had welcomed injured pilot Harold Watson into his home, was wrapped in a blanket, tied to a chair and soaked in kerosene. Then soldiers forced his wife to torch him.

“Little did the Doolittle men realize,” the Reverend Charles Meeus later wrote, “that those same little gifts which they gave their rescuers in grateful acknowledgement of their hospitality— parachutes, gloves, nickels, dimes, cigarette packages—would, a few weeks later, become the telltale evidence of their presence and lead to the torture and death of their friends!”

A missionary with the United Church of Canada, the Reverend Bill Mitchell traveled in the region, organizing aid on behalf of the Church Committee on China Relief. Mitchell gathered statistics from local governments to provide a snapshot of the destruction. The Japanese flew 1,131 raids against Chuchow—Doolittle’s intended destination—killing 10,246 people and leaving another 27,456 destitute. They destroyed 62,146 homes, stole 7,620 head of cattle, and burned 30 percent of the crops.

“Out of twenty-eight market towns in that region,” the committee’s report noted, “only three escaped devastation.” The city of Yushan, with a population of 70,000 —many of whom had participated in a parade led by the mayor in honor of raiders Davy Jones and Hoss Wilder—saw 2,000 killed and 80 percent of the homes destroyed. “Yushan was once a large town filled with better-than-average houses. Now you can walk thru street after street seeing nothing but ruins,” Father Bill Stein wrote in a letter. “In some places you can go several miles without seeing a house that was not burnt.”

That August, Japan’s secret bacteriological warfare group, Unit 731, launched an operation to coincide with the withdrawal of Japanese troops from the region.

In what was known as land bacterial sabotage, troops would contaminate wells, rivers, and fields, hoping to sicken local villagers as well as the Chinese forces, which would no doubt move back in and reoccupy the border region as soon as the Japanese departed. Over the course of several meetings, Unit 731’s commanding officers debated the best bacteria to use, settling on plague, anthrax, cholera, typhoid, and paratyphoid, all of which would be spread via spray, fleas, and direct contamination of water sources. For the operation, almost 300 pounds of paratyphoid and anthrax germs were ordered.

Technicians filled peptone bottles with typhoid and paratyphoid bacteria, packaged them in boxes labeled “Water Supply,” and flew them to Nanking. Once in Nanking, workers transferred the bacteria to metal flasks—like those used for drinking water— and flew them into the target areas. Troops then tossed the flasks into wells, marshes, and homes. The Japanese also prepared 3,000 rolls, contaminated with typhoid and paratyphoid, and handed them to hungry Chinese prisoners of war, who were then released to go home and spread disease. Soldiers left another 400 biscuits infected with typhoid near fences, under trees, and around bivouac areas to make it appear as though retreating forces had left them behind, knowing hungry locals would devour them.

Major General Doolittle's fliers in China after the Doolittle Raid on Tokyo of April 18, 1942. (Corbis)

The region’s devastation made it difficult to tally who got sick and why, particularly since the Japanese had looted and burned hospitals and clinics. The thousands of rotting human and livestock carcasses that clogged wells and littered the rubble also contaminated the drinking water. Furthermore, the impoverished region, where villagers often defecated in holes outdoors, had been prone to such outbreaks before the invasion. Anecdotal evidence gathered from missionaries and journalists shows that many Chinese fell sick from malaria, dysentery, and cholera even before the Japanese reportedly began the operation.

Chinese journalist Yang Kang, who traveled the region for the Takung Pao newspaper, visited the village of Peipo in late July. “Those who returned to the village after the enemy had evacuated fell sick with no one spared,” she wrote. “This was the situation which took place not only in Peipo but everywhere.”

In December 1942, Tokyo radio reported massive outbreaks of cholera, and the following spring, the Chinese reported that a plague epidemic forced the government to quarantine the Chekiang town of Luangshuan. “The losses suffered by our people,” one later wrote, “were inestimable.” Some of Unit 731’s victims included Japanese soldiers. A lance corporal captured in 1944 told American interrogators that upward of 10,000 troops were infected during the Chekiang campaign.

“Diseases were particularly cholera, but also dysentery and pest,” an American intelligence report stated. “Victims were usually rushed to hospitals in rear, particularly the Hangchow Army Hospital, but cholera victims, usually being treated too late, mostly died.” The prisoner saw a report that listed 1,700 dead, most of cholera. Actual deaths likely were much higher, he said, “it being common practice to pare down unpleasant figures.”

The three-month campaign across Chekiang and Kiangsi Provinces infuriated many in the Chinese military, who understood it as a consequence of a U.S. raid designed to lift the spirits of Americans. Officials in Chungking and Washington had purposely withheld details of the U.S. raid from Chinese ruler Chiang Kai-shek, assuming the Japanese would retaliate.

“After they had been caught unawares by the falling of American bombs on Tokyo, Japanese troops attacked the coastal areas of China, where many of the American fliers had landed,” Chiang cabled to Washington. “These Japanese troops slaughtered every man, woman and child in those areas. Let me repeat—these Japanese troops slaughtered every man, woman and child in those areas.”

News trickled out in American media in the spring of 1943 as missionaries who witnessed the atrocities returned home. The New York Times editorialized, “The Japanese have chosen how they want to represent themselves to the world. We shall take them at their own valuation, on their own showing. We shall not forget, and we shall see that a penalty is paid.”

The Los Angeles Times was far more forceful:

To say that these slayings were motivated by cowardice as well as savagery is to say the obvious. The Nippon war lords have thus proved themselves to be made of the basest metal …

Those notices, however, did not get much traction, and the slaughter was soon forgotten. It was a tragedy best described by a Chinese journalist at the time. “The invaders made of a rich, flourishing country a human hell,” the reporter wrote, “a gruesome graveyard, where the only living thing we saw for miles was a skeleton-like dog, who fled in terror before our approach.” 

Excerpted from Target Tokyo: Jimmy Doolittle and the Raid that Avenged Pearl Harbor by James M. Scott. Copyright © 2015 by James M. Scott. With permission of the publisher, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. All rights reserved.

PNG administered as a single territory

August 31, 1945

During the World War II, Japanese forces occupy PNG, but are eventually pushed back by Australian and Allied forces.

Major battles include the Kokoda Track Campaign which saw Australian forces clash with Japanese troops in bloody battles in difficult jungle terrain.

After World War II, PNG is administered by Australia as a single territory as mandated by the League of Nations and United Nations Trust Territory.

In 1951, a 28-member Legislative Council is set up by Australia, as well as a judiciary and public service.

In 1964, the Council is replaced by an elected House of Assembly.

The Bougainville independence movement begins to stir in the 1960s amid the first exploration of the island's mineral resources conducted by a subsidiary of miner Rio Tinto.

When the Nazis Invaded the Hamptons

Edward John Kerling and George John Dasch, two of the eight Nazi saboteurs captured by the FBI.

(Credit: Bettmann/Getty Images)

The night was especially dark as U.S. Coast Guard seaman John Cullen patrolled the sand dunes of Amagansett, New York, shortly after midnight on June 13, 1942. Regulations in effect after the United States entered World War II six months earlier had already imposed blackouts on the village nestled in the Hamptons, and the thick fog that blanketed the east end of Long Island made it even more difficult for Cullen to see.

The 21-year-old “sand pounder” listened to the Atlantic Ocean lap up on the shore when the figures of four suspicious men suddenly crystallized in the fog. Of course, any men on the beach in violation of the nighttime curfew were by definition suspicious, but something was particularly odd about these men who claimed to be local fishermen who had run aground.

Mugshots of saboteurs George John Dasch, Geinrich Harm Heinck and Richard Quirin.

(Credit: Bettmann/Getty Images)

The group’s leader, who gave his name as George John Davis, didn’t seem dressed for the part in his fedora, red zippered sweater and tennis shoes. The self-proclaimed fisherman then refused to return to the nearby Coast Guard station with Cullen. Perhaps realizing that there was nothing more he could possibly do to arouse suspicion, the ringleader blurted, “Look, I wouldn’t want to kill you. You don’t know what this is all about.” The faux fisherman pulled out a wad of bills from a tobacco pouch lodged in a pocket of his wet pants and said, 𠇏orget about this, and I will give you some money and you can have a good time.”

Cullen heard one of the men speaking in a foreign language before $260 was shoved in his hands. Unarmed and outnumbered, Cullen used his discretion and began to return to the Coast Guard station a half-mile away. Once out of eyeshot in the fog, his gait quickly sped up into a sprint.

Cullen burst into the station, awoke his colleagues and pronounced, “There are Germans on the beach!” The Coast Guardsman had indeed encountered four Nazis, but he wasn’t aware that they had just come ashore in a rubber boat laden with explosives, cash and intentions of sabotage.

Mugshots of saboteurs Werner Thiel Ernest Peter Burger and Hermann Neubauer.

(Credit: Bettmann/Getty Images)

Even before the United States entered World War II, German military intelligence had developed a plan codenamed Operation Pastorius— in honor of Franz Daniel Pastorius, who in 1683 had launched the first permanent German-American settlement in Germantown, Pennsylvania, now part of Philadelphia—to secretly infiltrate the East Coast and sabotage American war efforts. Walter Kappe, a German army lieutenant who had spent several years in the United States, recruited the saboteurs, all of whom spoke fluent English and had lived in the United States for a time.

The recruits attended a “sabotage camp” at an estate outside Berlin where they learned to make bombs, incendiary devices and even timers constructed from “just dried peas, lumps of sugar and razor blades,” according to a report by British intelligence agency MI5. They visited factories and transportation facilities to learn about infrastructure vulnerabilities.

FBI “Wanted” poster for Nazi saboteur Walter Kappe.

(Credit: Bettmann/Getty Images)

The saboteurs were tasked with disseminating anti-war propaganda and destroying American bridges, railroads, waterworks, factories, reservoirs and power plants. According to MI5, they were also “instructed to carry out small acts of terrorism such as the placing of incendiary bombs in suitcases left in luggage depots and in Jewish-owned shops.” However, they were told to avoid causing deaths or injuries 𠇊s this would not benefit Germany.”

The first cell of four Nazi saboteurs departed a German submarine base at Lorient, France on May 26, 1942. The next four-man group left two days later. The saboteurs were given $175,200 in United States currency sewn into the lining of duffel bags, enough to finance two years of operations, as well as handkerchiefs with the names of Nazi sympathizers in America written in invisible ink.

Operation Pastorius experienced a rocky start when the U-boat carrying the saboteurs to Amagansett ran aground on a sandbar 100 yards off the Long Island coast. Unnerved by their unexpected encounter with Cullen, the saboteur cell led by 39-year-old George John Dasch, the Nazi who had given the alias of George John Davis to Cullen, hastily changed into shabby fishermen’s clothing hidden in duffel bags, buried its equipment in the sand for retrieval later and disappeared into the scrub beyond the beach.

Coast Guard officer John C. Cullen receives the congratulations of Rear Admiral Stanley V. Parker in recognition of his service.

Latimer House – a very secret war

This article was written by Helen Fry and is published here with her permission.

Latimer was a very secret place the prisoners entered and left in closed vans, so they never knew where they were. We didn’t want the Swiss Red Cross nosing around ,’ Former intelligence officer, Dr John Whitten

During WW2, Latimer House became the centre of highly top secret activities run by MI5 and MI6 under the obscure name Combined Services Detailed Interrogation Unit (CSDIC). It masked as a supply depot as No.1 Distribution Centre and no one locally knew its true activities. Even Parliament was not privy to its existence. British Intelligence realised that the most important assets in wartime are the prisoners who hold a wealth of information. The challenge was how to get the most valuable information about of them. Interrogations were not necessarily productive, so it was decided to secretly bug the conversations of the prisoners in their cells. Latimer House became pivotal as the unit’s headquarters from May 1942. Thousands of German prisoners, including Hitler’s Generals, would pass through Latimer House between 1942 and 1945. During the course of the war, this unit bugged the conversations of over 10,000 German prisoners-of-war, all recorded in over 100,000 transcripts that now survive in the National Archives. The prisoners had no idea that they were being overheard and spoke freely to each other, thus giving away lots of important information and secrets about the war in the air, at sea and on land. The intelligence gleaned at Latimer and its sister sites aided the intelligence from Bletchley Park and enabled Britain to win the war.

Plans to convert the site at Latimer began a year earlier in 1941. Such was the importance attached to it, that Prime Minister Churchill ordered an unlimited budget to be spent on converting the estate for ‘secret purposes’. The equivalent of £21 million in today’s money was spent on setting up operations here. This included the construction of special buildings to house the M Room (a room with special listening and recording equipment), several interrogations rooms and administration block. The cell blocks were constructed along a long north-south corridor, divided down the whole centre by a breeze block wall. At each end was a telescopic, steel-slatted security grille. A central watchtower with gun slits overlooked the whole complex which became known as ‘the spider’. After D-Day and the capture of so many POWs, it was necessary to construct another ‘cage’ on lawns near ‘the spider’. Security around the site was extremely tight, enclosed by a barbed wire perimeter fence and two checkpoint entrances. Photography was strictly forbidden and no one could enter without a special permit.

Colonel Thomas Kendrick at his desk in Latimer House (PHO3638)

The head of the unit was Colonel Thomas Kendrick, a senior member of MI6, who had undertaken spying missions for the British Secret Service in Europe in the 1920s and 1930s. Across three sites, including Latimer, Kendrick had a thousand staff. He had around 200 intelligence officers, men and women, who carried out interrogations or compiled intelligence reports and other administrative duties, plus 80-90 secret listeners.

Fritz Lustig, one of the “secret listeners” (PHO3639)

The secret listeners were stationed in the ‘M Room’ from where they listened in to the conversations of the prisoners in their cells. They had to be fluent German speakers such that by 1943, most of them were German-Jewish refugees who had fled Nazi Germany and were serving in the British Army. (Read Fritz Lustig‘s obituary here.)

Latimer House held many of Hitler’s German Generals for a few days before they were transferred to more permanent wartime accommodation at the stately house of Trent Park, Cockfosters in North London. British Intelligence realised that it was more productive to ‘befriend’ the Generals than try to extract information by threats.

Latimer interrogation block (at the top of the King’s Walk) (PHO3644)

A General was sometimes taken for a walk with an intelligence officer in the fields around the estate or the King’s Walk which has changed little since then. Along the King’s Walk, and in some privacy, it was hoped that the German Generals might discuss military matters with the British officer, and that they would part with respect and empathy for each other. It was hoped that a mutual understanding might lead the General to inadvertently give something away about Nazi Germany. At one time, the gardener at Latimer boasted no fewer than 15 German Generals helping him to dig the vegetable garden.

The non-commissioned officers (only the men are secret listeners in this photo) (PHO3640)

There is an oral tradition that Rudolf Hess, Hitler’s Deputy, was held at Latimer House for a short time, probably during 1942 before he was moved to Abergavenny in Wales. Hess was the highest ranking German prisoner ever held by British Intelligence after his failed solo flight and crash landing in Scotland on 10 May 1941. Lots of controversy surrounds why he came to England and whether it was with the knowledge of Hitler. Hess wished to negotiate peace with Britain to end a war which he believed Britain could not win. Hess’s conversations were bugged, too, and only some of these transcripts appear to have been declassified. It is possible to see the room in which Hess was reputedly held at Latimer. Interestingly, it turns out to be next to Kendrick’s office on the first floor of the house.

Naval Intelligence Division at Latimer, led by Lt.Commander Cope

Intelligence gathered at this site proved critical for the outcome of the war. Here, the secret listeners overheard details of the development of Hitler’s ‘secret weapons’ – the deadly V1 (doodlebugs) and V2. The M Room staff gathered an impressive amount of intelligence on all aspects of the Nazi war machine. In themselves, the tens of thousands of snippets of information may seem obscure, but when placed in the overall jigsaw, it gave an impressive knowledge of the enemy. It ranged from details of German battle plans to communication codes used at sea, construction and technology on board U-boats and battleships, new technology on German aircraft, the strength of enemy armed forces and their training, aerial and magnetic torpedoes, production of enemy aircraft, conditions in Germany, tanks, “S” boats, aerodromes in German-occupied countries, navigation on aircraft, parachute troops, and even details about Hitler’s personal movements and daily habits. These are just some examples of the vast range of material that was gathered and passed to intelligence chiefs. Much of Latimer’s wartime past remained shrouded in mystery until extensive research by historian Helen Fry in her books, The M Room: Secret Listeners who Bugged the Nazis (2013) and Spymaster: The Secret Life of Kendrick (2014).

A contingent of American intelligence officers were based at this wartime site, too, working alongside Kendrick’s team of interrogators. Kendrick himself was involved in the training of US intelligence officers of the OSS (Office of Strategic Services and forerunner of the CIA). It was within the perimeters of Latimer that American Ambassador, John Winant, had his country residence. During the war and after, the American Embassy was effectively relocated to a farmhouse on the Latimer estate. Near the Great White Farm (now demolished), stood a plain, yellow and light-reddish brick farmhouse which served as Winant’s residence, and from where he conducted affairs of state. He was a very close friend of Winston Churchill who was known to have spent many weekends with him at the country farmhouse at Latimer, which is located roughly halfway between London and Churchill’s wartime country residence at Ditchley.

Latimer House – the “spy house” – as it is now (PHO3645)

After the war, Latimer House became a joint Defence Training College situated in the various buildings on the estate. But the house is rumoured to have had a very secret post-war history that has yet to be uncovered. Links to intelligence beyond WW2 and into the Cold War are made in suggestions that it contained a training school for MI6. Locals believe that the Secret Service training centre placed at Sarratt by John Le Carré’s in his novels Smiley’s People, and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is really a veiled reference to Latimer House which is situated only a mile from Sarratt. Furthermore, when the estate was purchased in the 1980s, a clause was added to the conveyance about a secret tunnel behind a wall in the basement of the main house. That wall was not to be touched for 50 years… Latimer continues to hold many coveted secrets that may one day be finally revealed.

See also information about two books about Intelligence and Interrogation.

What Makes a Warrior? History Tells Us to Look at the WWII Pacific Theater

When it comes down to it, individual willpower and strong leadership make a huge difference.

Even in an age when modern armies plunge into battle laden with technology, firepower, and all the meals ready to eat they could eat, it all comes down to the blood and toil of human beings—and those who lead them make a huge difference.

It was a hot, wet, miserable December for the 32d Infantry Division in 1942. The Japanese held two impregnable defensive positions on the swampy lowland along a narrow strip of the northeastern coast of Papua New Guinea. The westernmost location included Buna Mission, the pre-war government station, and Buna village, a half-mile northwest of the station. Division commander Edwin Harding called this position the Urbana Front, named for Corps commander Robert Eichelberger’s birthplace.

The men on the Urbana Front were a spent force. Eichelberger had to relieve Harding and most of the division’s leadership. Eichelberger believed that the most promising course was to pressure the flank of the village between that position and the mission.

Eichelberger appointed Brigadier General Albert W. Waldron as the acting division commander. Eichelberger and Waldron each accompanied a platoon for this attack. Waldron led from the front, determined “to show them that I didn’t give a damn.” He was hit in the shoulder by a bullet and knocked off his feet by an explosion.

In minutes, more than half the company was dead or wounded in foul pools of a blood-red swamp. With Waldron down, Eichelberger would serve both as the corps and division commander for the remainder of the battle. At times he had to act more like a company commander or even a squad leader. He was in the thick of the mud, blood, and sweat of war.

Meanwhile, now acting platoon leader Staff Sergeant Herman J. F. Bottcher was ordered to advance his platoon. Before he fell wounded, Waldron had watched the sergeant methodically prepare for the advance. Bottcher set up a machine gun position to clear the trees of snipers. Meanwhile, he called for demolition material to be brought up to blow the enemy breastworks that guarded the Japanese flank.

An enemy round landed amid the four men carrying the charges, killing two instantly. Bottcher was undeterred, deciding to root out the positions using his infantry alone. He led the remnants of the platoon forward, pausing to spot, outflank, and clear each enemy bunker that blocked his path.

Every time Bottcher’s men wiped out an entrenched position, they broke a link in the chain, opening up more and more room for the small group to advance without coming directly under the withering fire of the Japanese defenses. By the afternoon, Bottcher with only about a dozen men left drove all the way to the beach and dug in splitting the Japanese position in two.

Despite enemy counterattacks from the mission and the village, the position held. Though weeks of fighting remained, the Japanese foothold was untenable. Eichelberger, men like Bottcher, and a ragged band of Americans won the battle.

It is part of the mythology of war that national character counts for much. While today we laud the veterans of World War II as the “greatest generation,” when the war started, they were anything but. The achievements of Sergeant Bottcher were a case in point.

Bottcher was not a typical soldier or an average American by any measure. When he got excited, his guttural German accent made him barely intelligible. He had fought in the Spanish Civil War under the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. Decorated for bravery and promoted on the battlefield to the rank of captain, Bottcher had had a thorough education in the misery and the skills of battle. Though his American citizenship was revoked, he was allowed to enlist in the American Army.

On Papua New Guinea whether Bottcher was a fellow traveler of the Comintern was of less concern than his fighting qualities. Devoid of officers, Bottcher was selected to lead the platoon in part because he was a natural leader—one of the few physically and mentally prepared for the rigors of war. He was an exception.

Harding summed up the issue well when wrote the theater commander Douglas MacArthur requesting reconsideration of his relief. There has been criticism of the conduct of the troops in battle, he wrote:

Certainly they did not fight as skillfully as they must learn to fight. There was poor leadership as well as good. A few officers had to be relieved of command of their units and assigned to jobs behind the lines. Some men broke under the strain, others succumbed to exhaustion. The process of separating the men from the boys in the ordeal by battle worked as it always does.

Eichelberger agreed. He told MacArthur, “I now have more time for reflection and I realize that our men whom I found in the Buna area were half-starved…A few weeks of that diet coupled with fever and the Japanese could have finished them off with clubs.” In contrast, he noted the other divisions would be coming into combat not only better prepared for such harsh conditions, but trained and tested.

It was all a reminder that courageous, resilient leadership, training, and experience in battle is a formula for victory that transcends material advantages.

A Heritage vice president, James Jay Carafano directs the think tank’s research on matters of national security and foreign relations.

US Officer visits Papuan Village, 1942 - History

Article and Illustration
By Billy John Booth

Close Encounter in Papua
According to renowned UFO investigator, Dr. J. Allen Hynek, one of the most well-documented "close encounters of the third kind" occurred in the Anglican mission village at Boianai, Papua, New Guinea, which was, at the time of the incident, still a territory of Australia. The Australian Anglican Church was very involved in missionary work, and ardent in sending it's heralds to the island nation. One of these was the Father William Booth Gill. Gill was highly thought of by his co-hearts, and all those who knew him. As far as the occurrence of extraordinary events was concerned, Gill was skeptical, to say the least, especially being a devoted Church worker.

The first hint of the events to come, began on April 5, 1959, when Gill saw a light on the uninhabited Mount Pudi. This light, Gill stated, moved faster than anything he had ever seen. A month or so later, his assistant, Stephen Moi, saw an "inverted saucer-shaped object" in the sky above the mission. Gill dismissed these sightings as some sort of electrical or atmospheric phenomena. Little did he know, that these events, whatever they were, had drawn their attention to the sky above them, and soon William Gill would have one of the most celebrated UFO sightings to ever be documented, which was collaborated by a whole group of additional witnesses.

This extraordinary event would take place at 6:45 P.M., June 26, 1959. Father Gill saw what he described as a bright white light to the Northwest. Word of the sight spread quickly, and within a few moments, Gill was joined by no less than thirty-eight additional witnesses, including Steven Moi, Ananias Rarata, and Mrs Nessle Moi. According to sworn statements, these thirty-plus individuals watched a four-legged, disc-shaped object approximately the size of 5 full moons lined up end to end. This unbelievable craft was hovering over the mission! To their utter surprise, they saw four human-like figures that seemed to be performing a kind of task.

Now and then one of the figures would disappear, only to reappear in a moment or two. A blue light would shine up from the craft at what seemed to be regular intervals. The witness watched the craft and it's activities for a full forty-five minutes, until the shining ship rose into the sky, and disappeared at 7:30 P.M. Glued to the sky, the witnesses would see several smaller objects appear at 8:30, and twenty minutes later, the first craft reappeared. This phenomenal occurrence would last an incredible four hours, until cloud cover obscured the view at 10:50. Father Gill prepared a full written report of this event, and 25 other observers signed the document.

This first sighting, a once in a lifetime occurrence, would incredibly be followed by another sighting the very next night. At 6:00 P.M., the larger object appeared again, with it's occupants. It was shadowed by two of the smaller objects. In William Gill's own words "On the large one, two of the figures seemed to be doing something near the center of the deck. They were occasionally bending over and raising their arms as though adjusting or "setting up" something. One figure seemed to be standing, looking down at us."

(In a moment of anticipation, Gill raised his arms and waved to the figure.)

"To our surprise the figure did the same. Ananias waved both arms over his head then the two outside figures did the same. Ananias and myself began waving our arms, and all four seemed to wave back. There seemed no doubt that our movements were answered. "

Gill and Ananias continued to occasionally wave, and their waves were returned. Another witness, Eric Kodawara, waved a torch, and there were acknowledgments from the craft. Gill went inside to eat, but when he came back, the craft was still there, only farther away (smaller). After a Church service, at 7:45, Gill again came outside to look for the craft, but clouds had appeared, and there was no sight of the object. The very next evening, the shining craft would make one more appearance. Gill counted eight of them at 6:45. At 11:20, Gill heard a loud bang on the roof of the mission. Going outside to see what had happened, he spied four UFOs in a circle around the building. These four craft were extremely high in the sky. The roof was checked for damage the next morning, but none was found.

The aftermath of the event would bring unsubstantiated explanations. The noted UFO debunker Dr. Donald H. Menzel offered his explanation thus: He claims that Father Gill, who suffered from myopia (nearsightedness), had "probably" not been wearing his corrective lenses, and misidentified the planet Venus, which was prevalent in the evening skies during this period. This was NOT true Gill WAS wearing his glasses, and in either event, what about the other witnesses to the event. Menzel also asserted that the Papuans were ignorant, native people who worshiped Gill, and believed anything he told them. This was a surefire way to debunk the 30+ witnesses.

As to the Venus connection, Gill knew where Venus was during this sighting, and had even pointed it out separately to the unknown craft. Gill would be criticized for "leaving such an extraordinary sight" to go eat dinner, but his response is that he did not think of the craft as extraterrestrial at the time. He believed that it was an American or Australian craft, and that if it did land, that ordinary human beings would emerge. Gill was scheduled to return to Australia soon, and it afforded an excellent opportunity to get his documentation of the case to the appropriate authorities.

All investigators found Gill to be an intelligent, impressive individual. One of the most respected civilian groups, the Victorian Flying Saucer Research Society stated: "Gill's reports constitute the most remarkable testimony of intensive UFO activity ever reported to civilian investigators. They were unique because for the first time credible witnesses had reported the presence of humanoid beings associated with UFOs."

The sighting at Papua brought about an unlikely allegiance among UFO research groups in Australia. The groups distributed copies of Reverend Gill's report to all of the members of the House of Representatives of Australia's Federal Parliament. An accompanying letter urged the leaders of government to request the Minister for Air to issue an opinion on the subject, not being satisfied with their initial, negative reaction. This letter did exact a reply.

On November 24, 1959, E.D. Cash, who was a Liberal member of Parliament, asked the Minister for Air, F.M. Osborne, if they had even investigated the sightings at Papua. Osborne's response was that they were still waiting for more evidence before making an "official" report. In his own words "Most sightings of UFOs are explained and only a very small percentage-something like 3 per cent--of reported sightings of flying objects cannot be explained."

The response of the Australian Minister for Air was to be taken lightly, considering the fact that they had not even interview Gill, until the Minister of Defense requested an investigation into the matter. The RAAF finally interviewed Gill in December 1959, some six months after the sightings. Gill related that the interview consisted of two officers who talked about stars and planets, and then left. He heard no more from the two. The RAAF finally released an opinion on the case. and a negative one at that.

Squadron leader, F.A. Lang stated: "Although the Reverend Gill could be regarded as a reliable observer, it is felt that the June/July incidents could have been nothing more than natural phenomena coloured by past events and subconscious influences of UFO enthusiasts. During the period of the report the weather was cloudy and unsettled with light thunder storm. Although it is not possible to draw firm conclusions, an analysis of rough bearings and angles above the horizon does suggest that at least some of the lights observed were the planets Jupiter, Saturn and Mars."

Since the unusual events of 1959, there have been many "explanations" of the event, all by individuals who had not witnessed the event. Most of these are, as you would expect, panaceas for the general reports of sightings. Among these are hoax, planets, stars, astronomical misidentification, Gill's myopia, etc. None of these really address the event as it happened. Dr. J. Allen Hynek investigated the sighting at great length, and gave his usual well thought out conclusions. His "Center For UFO Studies" research included well-respected Allen Hendry, who was, at the time, the Center's top investigator. Their conclusions were as follows:

"Though the smaller UFOs seen by Gill could be attributable to bright stars and planets, the primary object COULD NOT. "It's size and absence of movement over three hours ruled out an astronomical explanation."

The inclusion of the Boianai case in the well-known Australian book of fiction, Randolph Stow's 1979, "Visitants," would become a double-edged sword. Although it brought the details of the case to a larger audience, it's inclusion in pure fiction lessened the appeal of the events as being REAL. Stow was a cadet patrol-officer in Papua, New Guinea, and an assistant to the Government Anthropologist. His novel begins with this sentence, "On 26 June 1959, at Boianai in Papua, visitants appeared to the Reverend William Booth Gill, himself a visitant of thirteen years standing, and to thirty-seven witnesses of another colour."

The events of New Papua in 1959, at first glance, seem to be too unbelievable to be true. It is just too good of a sighting, compared to hazy photographs, reports of abductions by unreliable witnesses, and the designation of any undefined light in the sky as a "flying saucer."

To be respectable, open-minded individuals, we must NOT compare one report to another. Each case must be viewed on it's own merits. Many of the so-called explanations are by those who never interviewed Reverend Gill, never visited the sight, never read Gill's actual reports, but relied on third party explanations to draw their own conclusions.


The Kokoda Trail
New Guinea, 1942. Australians plod along "The Track" on the way to Buna.

The Kokoda Track or Trail is a single-file foot thoroughfare that runs 96 kilometers (60 mi) overland through the Owen Stanley Range in Papua New Guinea.

Forced to repel a Japanese invasion force, which landed at Gona on the north coast of Papua on 21 July 1942, the Australians fought in appalling conditions over the next four months. The Japanese objective was to capture Port Moresby, the main Australian base in New Guinea, by an overland strike across the Owen Stanley Range. The most direct way across these rugged mountains was by a jungle pathway known as the Kokoda Track. During the next four months, until 16 November 1942, Australian soldiers fought the Japanese, first to keep them from reaching Port Moresby and then to push them back over the Owen Stanleys to their north coast strongholds at Buna, Gona and Sanananda.

In late July 1942, as the Japanese advanced towards Kokoda village, they were engaged by forward elements of the Papuan Infantry Battalion and the Australian 39th Infantry Battalion. Throughout September, the Australian units withdrew down the Kokoda Track. They made further stands against the Japanese at Eora Creek, Templeton’s Crossing, Efogi, Mission Ridge and Ioribaiwa. Allied airmen dropped supplies and made repeated attacks on the enemy’s supply lines. During those gruelling days, the Papuan men employed as carriers played a vital role in the battle. They carried supplies forward for the troops and then, as the number of troops who were wounded or fell sick increased, carried back to safety those who were unable to walk.

By 16 September, after more troops had come forward from Port Moresby and dug into a defensive position at Imita Ridge, the Japanese were exhausted. They had been forced to fight hard to cross the mountains and had run out of many supplies. Following setbacks on other battlefields against Australian and American forces, which robbed them of further reinforcements, the Japanese on the Kokoda Track were ordered to withdraw. As Australian patrols pushed forward of Imita Ridge on 28 September, they found that the enemy had slipped away. During the next six weeks, the Japanese fell back over the mountains. They were pursued by troops of the 25th Brigade and the 16th Brigade. By 18 November the Australians had reached the Kumusi River. The battle for the Kokoda Track was over. More than 600 Australians were killed and some 1680 wounded during perhaps the most significant battle fought by Australians in World War II.

Here is the unedited letter sent back to some mates at base by Pte Barney Findlay, a young AIF soldier of Mangrove Mountain (NSW):

"Some of the old unit are so thin now that you would be shocked to see them. This trip is a physical nightmare. We have been overloaded all the way, and all of us are carrying on our backs more than native porters do. Remember those tinpot marches of 2 hours in the morning we used to grumble about? They weren't very much training for this. Yesterday we were 12 hours on the track and most of us were 'out on our feet,' but we had to keep going. It's hard to explain how gruelling these marches are, but I'll try.

DANGEROUS AND PAINFUL. "You spend 4 hours rising 2,000ft painfully step by step with your heart pounding in your throat, resting every 100ft of rise. And then, when you gain the top, it is only 15ft wide, and you immediately start to descend 2,000ft. This is dangerous as well as painful, because you get 'laughing knees,' and only your prop stick in front of you keeps you from falling headlong. The farther down you go the weaker your knees become, but you don't lie down and die as you feel like doing, you keep resting and going on and on. "At the end of the day, after, say, 8 bitter hours of travelling, you have moved 2 miles onward, but you have surface walked 8 or 10 miles, and overhead you can see the planes roaring by, covering in 15 minutes the distance it takes us 5 days to do. One of our chaps was a wreck at the finish. "The first night out we slept in a shelter of bushes many thousands of feet up, but none of us could manage sleep. Next day we were caught in a fierce storm, and staggered and slipped through it for 2 long hours. When we rested we lay out in puddles in the pouring rain, panting and steaming and wet through in the fullest sense of the words. "But you had to keep going. Everything was wet and heavier now, and although not yet halfway we had to finish that dreadful 2,000ft climb.
At nightfall we staggered into a ramshackle native grass hut. It had no sides, and the rain was driving in on us all night. One of the men sat up all night. At an altitude of 4,000ft I lay on the bare ground all night in wet clothes. It was bitterly cold. As soon as we settled down the native rats started. One of them ran across my face and scratched my nostril with his sharp claws. They kept running over my body, and when I dozed off they started nibbling at my hair. The chap next to me had a patch nibbled completely out of his hair by morning. "He was very tired, and I kept waking up and disturbing him.

OVER THE COLUMN. The bugs got to work then and started biting my hips and my ankles, which were itching like fire that night and all next day. By mid-morning the chap I was with was in a pretty bad way, but we had a 12-hour stage to do, and we had to keep going. It is usually half a day to climb a ridge and half a day to go down, and we had been doing a ridge a day. Now we had to go down a ridge, up a ridge, and down a ridge again. It was the cruellest day I've ever spent in my life. Each time I stopped my calves cramped, and by the time I had walked the cramp away I was too tired to go on, and I had to. Then I'd get cramp again. "You might ask why I or anyone else kept going. You keep going be- cause you have to, and because if you stop you stop nowhere, but if you keep going you might get somewhere. Everybody vows that never, never will he do it again. But there are days of this ahead of us, and the Japanese somewhere beyond. Gee, this is tough country.

The farther you go the tougher it gets, but so long as a chap doesn't get sick he can hang on somehow. And Kokoda is somewhere over those ridges. "All the water has to be carried by hand, and it is very precious. No wood will burn unless it has been roasted over a fire for many hours. So far we haven't been able to live off the country, as it would be like slow suicide, But one of these days we'll get to Kokoda. "

Watch the video: PNG soldiers granted amnesty after mutiny plot (June 2022).


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