Collection type Place
  • New Guinea
  • Wewak
  • Wewak Area
  • Wirui

Wirui Mission was a former Lutheran mission station built on top of a 91 metre-high hill, which dominated Wewak airstrip in northern New Guinea. On 14 May 1945 the 2/4th Battalion, supported by a troop of Matilda tanks from the 2/4th Armoured Regiment, was ordered to capture the mission. Following an artillery bombardment, C Company attacked just after 2 pm. The tall kunai grass on the hill made the going slow and the Japanese bunkers hard to locate, but the company secured its objective about half-way up the north-east slope within half an hour. A Company then passed through C and, encountering little opposition, carried the assault on to the mission, which it secured just after 3 pm. A Company then continued on towards "the Bump", a small knoll on the western end of the feature, but made little headway against well-sited bunkers before the attack was called off at nightfall. Resumed the next morning, A Company's attack against the bunkers on "the Bump" continued to make slow progress. An artillery barrage was called down on the bunkers, and then a platoon was sent forward to renew the attack. It was pinned down by machine-gun fire, but Private Edward Kenna, a member of a section providing fire support, stood up in full view of the enemy position and engaged the gunners with both Bren gun and rifle fire. Kenna killed the Japanese gunners, providing the attacking troops with the advantage they needed to take the position, completing the capture of the Wirui Mission feature. Kenna was subsequently awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions.

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