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Royal New Zealand Air Force

green island

green island

As at Emirau, the first New Zealanders to be stationed at Green Island were a detachment of works personnel. They arrived on 3 October 1944 to provide workshop and living accommodation for a fighter and a bomber-reconnaissance squadron and their servicing units. The site allotted for the RNZAF camp had previously been temporarily occupied by American units. A kitchen, two messes, a sick bay, a chapel and a few scattered tents were still standing, but most of the area had been overgrown and was a dismal wilderness of heavy tropical undergrowth.

The works party cleared the growth and put up temporary buildings ready for the arrival of the servicing units. As dressed timber was unprocurable, poles and bamboos were cut from the surrounding jungle to make frames for stores, workshops and other buildings, and covered with canvas. These temporary structures served their purpose until prefabricated huts were shipped from New Zealand.

Nos. 3 and 14 Servicing Units landed at Green Island on 20 October, having travelled in the same ship as No. 5 Servicing Unit, bringing with them large quantities of material with which to complete the camp. In the first weeks of their occupation the New Zealanders were generously helped by American units, which provided hot meals until the RNZAF messing facilities were organised, and lent transport vehicles and other heavy equipment which the New Zealand units lacked.