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AN INVITATION TO THE 80TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE FORMATION OF THE NEW GUINEA VOLUNTEER RIFLES
On behalf of the New Guinea Volunteer Rifles and Papua New Guinea Volunteer Rifles Ex- Members Association Inc (PNGVR) I invite you and your wife/partner to the 80th Anniversary of the formation of the New Guinea Volunteer Rifles (NGVR). This event will be held at the Wacol Military Precinct, 97 Boundary Road, Wacol, 4076 on Saturday 7 September 2019 at 10am. Morning tea will be served followed by a commemorative service in the Chapel, a short talk on the early period of the Pacific War and then a sit down buffet luncheon.
When WW2 started the NGVR, a militia unit was formed in the Mandated Territory of New Guinea initially in Rabaul and then extending to the New Guinea mainland and goldfields before the start of the Pacific War. This courageous band of civilian volunteers led the defence of New Guinea and Australia during the early period of the Pacific War when there was a seemingly hopeless inferiority in numbers and equipment due to Australia having most of its defence force in the Middle East.
Eighty NGVR soldiers fought with Lark Force when the Japanese invaded Rabaul on 23 January 1942 and suffered a 77 % casualty rate including the loss of 36 when the Japanese prison ship MV Montevideo Maru was sunk 1 July 1942. Others were killed in action, massacred after capture or died through hunger, misadventure and disease during their escape.
Between the Japanese occupation of Rabaul late January and May 1942, the men of NGVR were the only armed military force in the path between Japanese forces and Port Moresby until the arrival of Kanga Force in Wau. NGVR contained the advancement of the Japanese from the coastal areas of Lae and Salamaua . They rescued over 200 Lark Force soldiers and civilians who escaped when the New Guinea islands were occupied by the Japanese.
Many of these men had been barred from enlisting in the AIF due to physical disability, nationality requirements or exceeded the age limitations. They developed tactics and initiatives that became examples for future commando units. Many of these men later served as Coastwatchers or in ANGAU until the conclusion of hostilities in 1945. No ex-NGVR soldier is alive today. In honour of NGVR’s service and sacrifice, PNGVR established a NGVR Memorial Museum in the Military Historical Precinct at Wacol, Brisbane which will available for viewing on 7 September 2019.
Your RSVP by 16 August to the Secretary, Colin Gould at email@example.com and your attendance would emphasise the importance of this commemorative event highlighting the service and sacrifice of this unique Australian Militia Unit which was formed, served and disbanded in New Guinea.