In August 1914 the British called on the Australian and New Zealand governments to capture Germany's colonial possessions in the Pacific. Among the most important was German New Guinea, annexed in 1884. Comprising the north-east of the island (Kaiser-Wilhelmsland) and several nearby islands (the Bismarck Archipelago), German New Guinea boasted Germany's largest force in the Pacific, with more than 600 natives led by German officers and reservists.
Australian troops sailed to New Pomerania (now New Britain) to seize Rabaul, the administrative capital of German Oceania. Two parties struggled to pick their way through dense jungle. Then they encountered fierce resistance, coming under heavy fire from German and native gunmen hidden in trees and hastily built trenches.
|The postcard from German New Guinea|