Hokaiwai Island location map

Figure 1
On August 7, 1942, the U.S. Navy fleet carrier USS Saratoga (CV-3) was within sight of Guadalcanal supporting the amphibious landing of 15,000 Marines in the area. Flight No. 251, consisting of seven TBF-1s of Torpedo Squadron EIGHT (VT-8) was dispatched from the carrier and assigned “enemy” objectives in the Malaita Island Area. Each Grumman Avenger bomber was loaded with a dozen 100-pound Mk. 4 demolition high-explosive bombs, for a total of 84 bombs in the flight. Forced down to a mere 400 feet altitude by inclement weather, the TBF-1s roared down Malaita’s South West coast. In the vicinity of Hokaiwai Island, one of the bordering islands of ‘Are ‘Are Lagoon, a small boat was spotted, bombed and sunk. The boat was estimated to be a “motor torpedo boat”. In reality, the highly trained U.S. Navy aviators had probably sunk the South Seas Evangelical Mission launch Arosi, (See Site MALA30), which the mission reported sunk in the SAME area, on the SAME day by American planes. [Excerpt Map Series X711, 1: 150,000 Malaita South, 1976].

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