“April 16 – Boarded Liberty ship Lyman Beecher and went to Finshafen to pick up convoy. This is advance echelon. We then went to Humboldt Bay and stayed there till June 11. Couldn’t get off boat, worst trip we ever had. Nothing to do but eat and sleep. Supposed to go to Biak which was invaded May 27.”
Alright so there is quite a lot to go over for this entry, so if you don’t like reading I apologize. So “Liberty ship Lyman Beecher” was a supply ship named after the famous Presbyterian Minister who lived during the 1800’s (at least we think it was, if it was named after another ‘Lyman Beecher’ feel free to leave a comment down below correcting us). Liberty ships were another name for supply ships and troop transport ships.
“Finshafen” is a town in the Huon Peninsula in the Morobe Province of Papua New Guinea (which is where he was at this time). He either spelled the name of this town incorrectly or that might have been what American troops called it at the time, because the town is actually spelled as ‘Finschhafen’.
When he says that they went “to pick up convoy” he means that they went there to get more troops, supplies, and vehicles to go with them. We are not entirely sure what he means by “advance echelon” we think he means that it was a special, advanced formation of him and the rest of the troops he was with (if it means something else feel free to leave a comment below correcting us).
“Humboldt Bay” also known as Yos Sudarso Bay, was a small bay on the Northern Coast of Papua New Guinea.
“Biak” is a small island in the Cenderawasih Bay in the Northern Coast of Papua New Guinea. As he mentioned it “was invaded May 27” by 12,000 American troops to fight the Japanese troops controlling the island. This became known as the Battle of Biak. It was fought from May 27th – July/August ? 1944 (every website says a different end date so i’m not sure which one is correct). It was done under General MacArthur’s command, meant to clear Papua New Guinea of Japanese troops so the U.S. could have a better position to invade the Philippines. When he arrives there, the battle is still going on (which you will more about that out in the next entry).
- More information about Liberty Ships: http://skylighters.org/troopships/libertyships.html
- More information about Lyman Beecher: http://www.ohiohistorycentral.org/w/Lyman_Beecher
- More information about Finschafen: http://www.pacificwrecks.com/provinces/png_finschafen.html
- More information about Humboldt Bay: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yos_Sudarso_Bay (Yes I know this source is on Wikipedia, but I could not find any other website)
- More information about the Battle of Biak: http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/battles_biak.html
- A journal entry written from a U.S. soldier who fought in this battle and more information about it: http://warfarehistorynetwork.com/daily/wwii/the-battle-of-biak-a-terrifying-glimpse-into-the-soul-of-mankind/