POSTCARD: V-PACIFIC DAY ADMIRALTY ISLANDS, SOUTH-WEST PACIFIC
The postcard has a manuscript ‘V-Pacific Day Souvenir Air Mail Card - Mailed Admiralty Islands South-West Pacific’. It has a red 6 cents USA air mail stamp, postmarked with a fine A.F.P.O./ 15 AU 45/ 203 and it was addressed to E.D. Cash, 21 Victoria Square, Perth, West Australia (Figure 1).
The reverse was a stark black & white depiction of the American flag and an eagle with outstretched wings, beneath which is inscribed ‘V.P. DAY. Greetings from the ADMIRALTY ISLANDS’. The vendor stated it was a real photo, and probably produced in a very limited quantity (Figure 2).
The front page of THE SUN newspaper dated August 15 1945 showed scenes of WWII in the Pacific overprinted with ‘PEACE’ and the heading: ‘Official - Japan Surrenders: Emperor to Give Cease-Fire. Japan has surrendered unconditionally to the Allies’ (Figure 3).
Prime Minister of Australia Ben Chifley announced the end of the war with Japan as follows:
“Fellow Citizens, the war is over. The Japanese Government has accepted the terms of surrender imposed by the Allied Nations and hostilities will now cease. The reply by the Japanese Government to the note sent by Britain, the United States, the USSR and China, has been received and accepted by the Allied Nations.
At the moment let us offer thanks to God.
Let us remember those whose lives were given that we may enjoy this glorious moment and may look forward to a peace which they have won for us.”
The Admiralty Islands are a group of 18 islands situated 380 miles (608 k) north-west of Rabaul (green arrow) and they consist of the large island of Manus and numerous small islands. Manus Island is 50 miles (80 k) long and about 20 miles (32 k) wide, and it is rugged and mountainous. The total area of all the islands is 810 sq. miles (2,100 km2). Many of the islands are atolls and uninhabited. The outline map in pink shows the extent of Papua-New Guinea, and four of the Admiralty Islands are shown in red, with Manus shown with a red arrow (Figure 4).
In World War II, the islands were occupied by the Japanese from April 1942 but were recaptured by US troops in March 1944. After the war they became a United Nations trusteeship administered by Australia. The USA had a military base there after the war, and a memorandum marked Washington dated 14 March 1946 was labelled ‘SECRET’ and the USA expressed “certain views with reference to long-term base rights in the Admiralty Islands..........(the) documents are not to be considered as expressing at this time the final views of the United States Government.” I am not sure whether the US still has such a base in the Islands.
I may have identified E.D. Cash who ran as a Liberal candidate and lost the seat in the Stirling House of Representatives’ election (a suburb of Perth) with 48.7% of votes in 1966 to the Australian Labour Party candidate C.H. Webb, who received 51.3% votes.