Wewak plaque is located in front of the Cape
Wom War Memorial, Wewak, PNG which is at the original surrender site at
the end of the war in 1945. The plaque was unveiled by the Minister of
Veterans Affairs The Hon Con Sciacca, Mrs Ted Kenna VC and Mrs Daphne
Dunne (widow of Lt A Chowne VC) on 8 July 1995.
on plaque, English and Pigin English, central bas-relief map of Aitape
to Wewak and centre bottom, line drawing of Australian soldier being
helped to the rear by two National Carriers (Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels).
Text. In 1944 the Wewak area was controlled
by a 35,000 strong Japanese Army apart from the American garrison at
Aitape. The 6th Australian division relieved the Americans in
October 1944. By December they had advanced eastward along the coast
pushing the Japanese back. Concurrently the Australians thrust through
the southern aspects of the Torricelli mountains with the royal
Australian air force providing close air support from Aitape.
country was savage, continually washed by rain and broken by rivers and
gullies .mud, floods and tropical disease sapped the strength of both
forces. Supply problems increased as the Australians advanced. In
mid-march, 1945, after hard fighting, but airfield was captured inland.
Maprix airfield was secured by April thus easing the resupply problem
and so by the 11 May 1945 Wewak was captured. The royal Australian navy
aided the landing of an amphibious force at dove bay on the 11 May in
order to prevent the Japanese from escaping to the eats.
The Japanese however escaped
south and although isolated and starving, continued to fight the
Australians and a battalion of New Guineans until the end of the war on
august 14, 1945. Only 18,000 of the original 38,000 strong Japanese army
remained. In this the final campaign in New Guinea 7,700 square
kilometres of territory were captured-but in so doing 442 Australian and
23,000 Japanese soldiers died (9,000 killed in action).