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70th Anniversary of Guadalcanal Marked

Media Release

7 August 2012

70th Anniversary of Guadalcanal Marked

The 70th anniversary of the Battle of Guadalcanal has been marked with a ceremony in Honiara today.

Chief of Navy, Rear Admiral (R ADM) Tony Parr attended the dawn service and wreath laying at the American War Memorial to the Battle of Guadalcanal.

The Navy Offshore Patrol Vessel HMNZS OTAGO is also in Honiara for the commemorative events and Commanding Officer, Commander Dave McEwan, expressed his pride at being able to represent the New Zealand Defence Force at local events for the anniversary.

"The Battle for Guadalcanal is a significant part of New Zealand's military history and one which shaped the outcome of the Second World War,” says Commander McEwan. “These commemorative events have allowed the young sailors of today's Navy to reflect on the sacrifices made by allied troops 70 years ago and ensure their efforts are never forgotten."

The Guadalcanal Campaign was fought between Allied and Japanese forces on Guadalcanal Island and surrounding islands between 7 August 1942 to 9 February 1943.

The Solomon Islands campaign became the Royal New Zealand Navy’s major operational commitment of the Second World War.

Minesweepers from the 25th Minesweeping Flotilla were sent to the Solomon Islands and Guadalcanal from December 1942 on HMNZ Ships KIWI, TUI, and MOA, and took part in a number of operations and clashes with Japanese forces during the Guadalcanal Campaign.

HMNZ Ships ACHILLES, LEANDER and MONOWAI were also deployed and provided escort duties outside the operational theatre of Guadalcanal.

The Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) bomber-reconnaissance unit from No. 3 Squadron was the first Commonwealth unit to operate from Guadalcanal. Although the unit was mainly engaged in reconnaissance patrols, there were times when it saw action: On November 27 1942 one of the unit’s aircraft was attacked by three Japanese fighters, however the RNZAF crew fought back fiercely, causing the Japanese fighters to halt their assault.

ENDS

NOTE TO EDITORS:

HMNZS OTAGO is currently undertaking a South Pacific deployment where they have been involved in a range of activities including maritime security and surveillance patrols, military and diplomatic engagement within the region, working with Pacific Island nations for mentoring and training with Government personnel and Pacific Patrol Boats. The ship will return to New Zealand later this month.


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