Archaehistoria

Falabulu Island map

Figure 1
In his 1945 book “South from Guadalcanal: The Romance of Rennell Island”, South Sea Evangelical Mission (SSEM) leader, Dr. Northcote Deck, records that on August 7, 1942, a third island (Falabulu) in Langa Langa Lagoon was bombed by “friendly” American carrier bombers. He writes… “Proceeding another mile [from Firifau Island] they [American bomber aircraft] reached the Christian island of Falabulu, where Shadrach Marama is the teacher and made two attempts to bomb this island, but missed both times!”. There is a some errors in Deck’s account of the wartime action on Malaita which subsequently casts some suspicion on the accuracy of his writings but we have to be grateful for what he has written, as it is the only wartime publishing of these devastating “friendly” attacks. Deck’s account conflicts with the Squadron Commander’s after action report which implies only ONE unidentified village (evidently Laulasi) was attacked. In addition, it seems unlikely VT-8 Grumman Avengers would miss bombing Falabulu Island when they had just demolished similar-sized Laulasi Village moments before. The bombing of Falabulu obviously needs further historical confirmation, but archaeology could provide clinching evidence in the form of bomb fragments that may still remain to be found on the island. Perhaps an easier enquiry would be to interview local Falabulu villagers as any bombing of their island would be seared into the local Melanesian folklore. This type of enquiry would be part of the objective of an Archaehistoria survey of WWII sites on Malaita Island. [Excerpt from 1: 50,000 Map Series X715, Sheet 0816016, 2007].  


Summary of possible and confirmed Torpedo Squadron EIGHT (VT-8)
attacks on Malaita Island, August 7, 1942.

Site

Target

Location

Bombs Dropped

Notes

MALA24

Laulasi Village

Langa Langa Lagoon

Unknown

Confirmed

MALA29

SSEM Head Station

Onepusu

single dud bomb

Unconfirmed

MALA30

Mission launch Arosi

Near Onepusu Is, ‘Are ‘Are Lagoon

Unknown

Prob MALA 31

MALA31

“Motor Torpedo Boat”

Near Hokaiwai Is, ‘Are ‘Are Lagoon

Unknown

Confirmed

MALA33

New grass hut

Takataka Bay

Unknown

Confirmed

MALA43

Firifau Island

Langa Langa Lagoon

5 HE & 7 Incendiary

Uconfirmed

MALA44

Falabulu Island

Langa Langa Lagoon

Missed twice

Unconfirmed


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