First opposed New Zealand landing since Gallipoli

27 October 1943

Russell Clark, Action, Falamai village, c. 1944
Russell Clark, Action, Falamai village, c. 1944 (Archives New Zealand, AAAC 898 NCWA 56)

Troops of 8 Brigade, 3 New Zealand Division, landed on Mono, one of the Treasury Islands in the Solomons group, to help clear it of Japanese forces. This was the first opposed landing by New Zealand troops since Gallipoli in 1915 (see 25 April).

3 New Zealand Division arrived at Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands in mid-September 1943. A month later, they received orders to seize and hold Stirling and Mono Islands, where the Americans planned to establish a long-range radar station.

The New Zealanders landed on Mono Island at about 6.25 a.m. in the face of enemy machine-gun fire, and managed to establish a beachhead alongside American forces. By the end of the day, 21 New Zealanders had been killed and 70 wounded.

Although the Japanese defenders were outnumbered, Mono’s geography afforded them some protection. The island rose steeply from the sea, and dense forest concealed many caves in which the enemy was able to hide. Clearing the island was a slow and difficult task. It was declared clear of Japanese forces on 7 November, but isolated enemy positions held out for weeks longer.