80th anniversary of the Battle of Milne Bay in Papua New Guinea
27 August 2022
Members from the Papua New Guinean and Australian Defence Forces have today joined in a commemorative event for the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Milne Bay in Papua New Guinea.
Attending on behalf of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) was Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Robert Chipman, AM, CSC, who said it was an appropriate time to reflect on the longstanding bonds between Australia and Papua New Guinea – forged in times of crisis but sustained in peace and prosperity.
“The Battle of Milne Bay was an important victory for the Allies during World War II,” AIRMSHL Chipman said.
“Milne Bay is a battle entrenched in the lore and history of both nations. It was the first time that the people of Papua New Guinea, and the armed forces of both Australia and the United States combined in the defence of Papua New Guinea.
“The Allies and the Japanese paid a heavy toll in the battle of Milne Bay. Just under 1000 Papuan, Australian, American and Japanese were killed and at least another 500 were wounded.
“Today we pay our respects to all who fell here 80 years ago.
“To the Papua New Guinean veterans of the Battle of Milne Bay, to their descendants and families, on behalf of the people of Australia please accept my gratitude and heartfelt appreciation for your contribution to the security of our region in World War II.
“In 1942 we demonstrated the strength, courage and determination of the Pacific family. This partnership between people with shared goals and common beliefs continues to this day.
“We deeply value being part of the Pacific family,” AIRMSHL Chipman said.
F-35A Lightning II aircraft from No. 75 Squadron conducted a flypast of the commemorative event. This flypast was symbolic of the aircraft from No. 75 and 76 Squadrons who defended the bay eight decades earlier.
In attendance was Major General Mark Goina, DMS, CBE, Commander of the Papua New Guinea Defence Force; His Excellency Mr John Philp, High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea; Mr Joe Zadrozny, US Chargé D'Affaires; Mr Jeff Abel, Chairman of the Battle of Milne Bay Committee and members of the ADF.
Media will be able to access imagery at http://images.defence.gov.au/S20222641