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Battle of Milne Bay – Canberra


Reputed to be the first defeat of a Japanese amphibious landing in the Second World War, Milne Bay was one of the key actions of the Papuan campaign. In August 1942 Japanese troops began landing on Milne Bay’s northern shore and advanced towards the Allied airfields that were their objective. The Japanese sought to seize the area as a base from which to provide aerial and naval support to the troops advancing on Port Moresby across the Owen Stanely range and for attacks on northern Australia and Port Moresby. After landing they had to march 11 kilometres to their first objective having also underestimated the number of Australian and United States troops in the area. There was some heavy fighting, but the Japanese could not overcome the combination of infantry and airpower.  The survivors were evacuated by ship over several nights or tried to make their way overland to the base at Buna.  More than 370 Australians were killed or wounded while the Japanese suffered almost 1500 casualties.

75th Anniversary of the Battle of Milne Bay - Friday 25 August

Commencing at approximately 4.55 pm AEDT, the Australian War Memorial will commemorate those lost in the Battle of Milne Bay with its moving Last Post Ceremony, held in the Memorial’s Commemorative courtyard.

The ceremony will begin with the singing of the Australian National Anthem, followed by the poignant strains of a lament, played by a piper. Visitors are invited to lay wreaths and floral tributes beside the Pool of Reflection.  The story behind Milne Bay will be told and the Ode is then recited by men and women of the Australian Defence Force. The ceremony ends with the sounding of the Last Post.

The Last Post Ceremony is an increasingly popular public event. The Memorial is unable to reserve space for groups so, to ensure you are able to secure a spot to view the ceremony, we recommend early arrival.

To enable anyone in Australia or overseas to view the Last Post ceremony, it is broadcast live daily on the Memorial’s website as well as on the Memorial's dedicated Last Post Ceremony YouTube channel and Facebook, from approximately 4.55 pm AEST. The ceremony is a memorable occasion, engaging visitors and offering them the opportunity to remember those Australians who have lost their lives in war and to reflect on their service and sacrifice.

Further information can be found here.

Contact Information

Department Veterans’ Affairs
GPO Box 9998
Telephone: (02) 6289 6057

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