Successful and dramatic rescue of Indian Prisoners of the Japanese by the Allied Intelligence Bureau (AIB), Sepik Party, in February, 1945.

December 17, 2012 at 1:36 am (Commentary, Pacific war, R.K.Walls, Sepik River, Territory New Guinea)

R.K. Walls, 1941

R.K. Walls, 1941

 

Map associated with Lieut. R.K.Walls’ Kurringe op.

The Sepik Party under the command of Lieut. R.H. McColl, R.A.N.V.R. and assisted by Lieut. R.K. Walls, A.I.F. became aware that there was a group of Indians, prisoners of the Japanese, who were in dire need in Kurringe Village, in the vicinity of the Sepik River.

The intelligence regarding the state of these Indian POWs was gained by Lieut. Walls, and he was – “impressed with the necessity for succouring these Indian Imperial Troops as soon as possible in order to save lives, with all possible haste…”

A party consisting of: Lieut. R.K. Walls, Havildar Khazan Singh of 10/2 Punjab Regt. , 11 Native Police armed with Owen guns and 7 others with a variety of weapons including a Carbine, Bren gun and rifles, supported by 4 other natives with shot guns. All members carried grenades. The party also included 28 carriers.

On the 24th of January, 1945, this party arrived at Nunguaiia, a friendly village, as a staging post for the attack and rescue operation.

Early attempts to penetrate Kurringe failed owing to the flooding of the Screw River. Walls radioed for supplies to be dropped at Ndaina, a nearby village, and over the next couple of days, reconnaissance was secretly carried out on Kurringe.

Three so called Jap Captains were apprehended and interrogated at Nunguaiia, and some information was obtained which proved fairly reliable.

On February 2 & 3 rescue and attack operations were successfully carried out in the various parts of Kurringe Village.

This account is based on a covering note from Lieut. McColl to D.S.I.O. New Guinea with Lieut. Walls’ report of the Kurringe Operations, but I don’t have Appendices C & D which list the names of rescued Indians, and captured Japanese, but from what I can gather, 3 Japanese were killed and 4 or 5 were captured – one Cpl. Khawasakhi was killed while attempting to escape by Numbia, a Native Policeman. Nine Indians were rescued, some in dire physical condition.

In his covering note Lieut. K.H. McColl stated: “Attached herewith is Lieut. R. K. Walls’ report to me of his activities in connection with the rescue of Indians from Japanese hands at Kurringe. His plans for the project were very sound, and were carried out with commendable despatch, and were highly successful. I concur with his remarks regarding Havildar Khazan Singh of 10/2 Punjab Regt., who, in my opinion, is a fine soldier.”

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4 Comments

  1. Antony Ruhan said,

    One of many heroic, but until now unknown, deeds. Good to remember.

  2. deberigny said,

    Sandra King, past Manager of the Angoram Hotel, wrote to me as follows:

    Sandra

    7:20 PM (13 hours ago)

    to me
    HI DAVID,
    MEMORY FLASH…………….

    WERE YOU AROUND WHEN A GROUP OF JAPANESE WERE STAYING IN THE HOTEL..AND
    AN AUSSIE R.S.L. CONTINGENT ARRIVED WITH A REPRESENTATIVE FROM INDIA.??

    THEY WERE THERE TO PLACE SOME STONES FROM THE HIMALAYAS ON A MONUMENT
    TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE INDIANS THE JAPANESE KILLED DURING THE WAR YEARS.

    THERE WAS ONLY ONE SURVIVOR . CAN,T REMEMBER IF HE WAS THERE…………….BUT MADE
    FOR SOME POTENTIAL AWKWARD MOMENTS.

    THINK I TOLD THE JAPANESE GROUP TO HAVE A SLEEP IN THE MORNING OF THE GUNSHOT BREAKFAST.
    AFTER THAT I SEEM TO REMEMBER EVERYONE BEING VERY CIVILISED.

    YOU JUST NEVER KNEW WHO WAS GOING TO TURN UP ON THE DOORSTEP !!

    ALWAYS INTERESTING.NEVER DULL.

    REGARDS

  3. R K Walls said,

    HI David

    Thanks for posting this great story involving Dad. I love the photo too, I hadn’t seen this one before. I think he’d be about 28 in this photo and to think what he was doing at that time in his life just leaves me awestruck and very proud.

    I really enjoyed reading the Coast Watchers book also as it bought to life a part of Australia’s war history and to think Dad was involved in that also is humbling. I have no awareness of what Z force got up to as I know this is the group he returned to PNG to join after landing back in Darwin. Do you have any history there?

    Great to see you, Andrei, David, Maya, little Sophia, Deb and Caitlin on Sunday

    Rob

  4. deberigny said,

    Rob, it was for this operation that your father was awarded the MC.
    There’s a bit on X Force in the Internet:
    http://www.ozatwar.com/ausarmy/zforce.htm
    Your father had a splendid war record.
    David

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