To Find a Path

77 Years Ago Today:

Jacquinot Bay, New Britain. 1944-11-06. Members of B Company, 1st New Guinea Infantry Battalion aboard the former Hawkesbury River (New South Wales) vehicular ferry, the Frances Peat, which is to transport them to Pomio Village where the unit is to establish its headquarters. Identified personnel is company Sergeant Major Kube (with machete).

Note the machetes, Owen SMGs, No. III Lee-Enfields, dog tags, and British kit– along with not much else. Interestingly, many of the men have bicep dressings, possibly from recent inoculations. AWM Photo 076702

One of four battalions raised in New Guinea during WWII, 1 NGIB was formed in March 1944 from a cadre that had been in the ranks as early as 1942 and soon started deploying company-sized elements in support of combat operations on Bougainville and on New Guinea, where their particular skillset was in high-demand in the thick jungle.

The unit was folded into the Royal Pacific Islands Regiment (RPIR) before being disbanded in June 1946.

Reformed in 1951 as part of the Australian Army, the RPIR became part of the Papua New Guinea Defence Force (PNGDF) in 1975 and carried the battle honors of the old 1 NGIB on its crest. In an ode to their old task of ranging and scouting, the RPIR’s motto today is “To Find a Path.”

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