Education Activity: Milne Bay
Read the story of Fighter Squadron Doctor - Dr William Deane-Butcher then choose one of the activities.
To learn more about the Battle of Milne Bay borrow the Memorial Box, Our war in the Pacific, 1942. This box includes a detailed case study on the battle, genuine Australian and Japanese uniform items, badges, primary documents, photographs and film footage from this critical year. Booking a Memorial Box by contacting your state or territory agent.
- As Dr Deane-Butcher found, malaria was one of the deadliest enemies
at Milne Bay. Malaria is a disease caused through mosquito bites. How would
you control the spread of malaria? What "anti-malarial instructions" does
this poster order men to follow?
Design an "anti-malarial" poster with your own slogan and cartoon character. What approach would you use to encourage people to fight malaria?
Tojo and the mosquito, Poster [PDF]
- William Dargie painted RAAF Kittyhawk Squadron at Milne Bay, August-September
1942 in 1969. He was able to capture both the feeling and the physical
details of the campaign. The painting can be found in Bradbury Aircraft
Hall, beside a Kittyhawk aircraft that was flown during the Battle of
Use these questions to guide a discussion about the painting and the battle:
- Looking at the painting, identify some of the obstacles faced by the pilots at Milne Bay.
- Why is it important to keep clear records during war? What do you think the pilot and intelligence officer at the front are talking about?
- One of the Kittyhawks in the painting is called Peter's Revenge, named after fighter ace Peter Turnbull. Use the Memorial's photograph and biographical databases to find out more about Turnbull.
- Why would the pilot ask a man to sit on the wing of the Kittyhawk while it was being parked?
- What would be needed to keep these planes in good condition during the battle?
- How does the artist convey the desperate activity and conditions of the battle?
- Looking at New Guinea during the Second World War activity sheet (PDF, 180 Kb): Australian forces had to come to terms with unfamiliar and difficult country at Milne Bay. Use this activity sheet (PDF, 180 Kb) to learn more about the geography of Papua New Guinea.
Just for fun …
Allied airmen often had trouble keeping track of the elaborate naming system of Japanese aircraft its little wonder with titles like Aichi Navy Type 99 Carrier Bomber Model 11! To quickly identify Japanese aircraft code names were devised. Soon Japanese bomber and fighter planes were known as Fred, Rita, Peggy and Randy. Inspiration was taken from many sources including the airmen themselves, their girlfriends, children and mothers.
Japanese Aircraft Code Names activity sheet (PDF, 180 Kb): use the clues to match the codenames with the plane silhouettes. Once you finished, check the answers (PDF, 180 Kb) here.
- One for older students read the Roll
of Honour talk on the Battle of Milne Bay and then complete the Milne
Bay crossword. The answers are in the story.