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