Monday, July 28, 2008

Sunday Ship History: Coast Watchers in the South Pacific

I always was interested in these brave souls who risked it all. Eagle has what might be the definitive story that is too short for a book. Go read it and enjoy!

EagleSpeak: Sunday Ship History: Coast Watchers in the South Pacific: "It seems that every good movie about the naval war in the Pacific mentions the 'Coast Watchers.' In Harm's Way, Father Goose and even the The Wackiest Ship in the Army all feature coast watchers in setting out the path to Allied victory.

So, who were the Coast Watchers?

The Coast Watchers, also known as the Coast Watch Organisation, Combined Field Intelligence Service or Section 'C' Allied Intelligence Bureau, were Allied military intelligence operatives stationed on remote Pacific islands during World War II to observe enemy movements and rescue stranded Allied personnel. They played a significant role in the Pacific Ocean theatre and South West Pacific theatre, particularly as an early warning network during the Guadalcanal campaign.

Perhaps surprisingly, the Coast Watchers were not a spur of the moment creation of World War II. Instead as is found here:

Shortly after World War 1, the [Australian] Naval Staff instituted a system of civilian coast watchers, whose duty it was to report any matters of naval intelligence coming to their notice. Slowly the scheme was developed until the settled part of the Australian coast was under observation. In the late twenties the organization was extended to Papua, New Guinea and the Solomon Islands."

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