Navy PBY Catalina Squadron of WWII
Photos: Robert O'Conner Collection

Ile Nou, New Caledonia, 1943

This looks like the outdoor theatre. To the far right, you can see the American flag and just above the leftmost building, you can see three sailors relaxing.

This was a busy harbor. Years before the Pacific war began, the Japanese had planned to take New Caledonia to cut lines of communication between the US and Australia. Near the end of January 1942, the US raced to get 10,000 US troops, USS Lexington, and as many Navy PBYs as could be spared into New Caledonia before the Japanese could develop Rabuul into a base from which to launch their invasion.

VP-11 sent a detachment from Suva, Fiji to operate from Noumea, New Caledonia on 1942-Aug-01. The next day, the detachment (Clark, Cobb, Coley, Flannery, Muckenthaler, Reese, Ubelacker) transferred to Ile Nou.

(Photo courtesy of Eldon Balmer)