Rabaul Diary

Escaping capture in new britain


[WW2 - Pacific war - rabaul - LARK FORCE]


Gunner David bloomfield


An Anti-Aircraft Gunner, the Author was part of the ill-fated Rabaul defence and in January 1942 the small force was over-run by 20,000 Japanese. With the one sided battle soon over, the survivors walked west to avoid capture. For weeks they braved rivers, crocodiles, hunger and ever-present Japanese patrols. Eventually, he and hundreds of others reached Jaquinot Bay, where a ship came to rescue them.

Rabaul Diary is the day-by-day account of what it is like to be on the run, with no definite means of escape, and the Japanese Army hunting you down. The men of "Lark Force" in Rabaul Garrison were over-run by 20,000 Japanese in a matter of hours and the message went out - "Every man for himself!" The Author and hundreds of other Australian troops started walking along the southern coast of New Britain -hoping for rescue -but not knowing if it would ever come. The toll of starvation, illness and Japanese patrols, slowly whittled away their numbers and many were killed at the infamous Tol Plantation massacre. This book brings to life, the trauma of living under extreme stress and struggling to stay alive.

David Bloomfield joined the Heavy Anti-Aircraft ranks early in the war and was posted to Rabaul as part of "Lark Force". He was involved in the beach-front defences when the Japanese arrived at night, escaped from Rabaul, was rescued many weeks later and returned to Australia. He was discharged as "Medically unfit for active service" in 1943, but in 1944 served with the American Small Ships, operating from Finschhafen on the north coast of New Guinea.


100 pp   -   Paperback   -   Published 2001


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