From Record, November 3, 2018.

World War II and the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the South Pacific

By Daniel Reynaud

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Daniel Reynaud, Ph.D. (University of Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia). Reynaud is professor of history at Avondale University College, NSW, Australia, where he has taught since 1992 in media, literature and modern world history. He has many publications on Australian war cinema, and on religion and the Australian soldier. He has also published on media in a Christian context, and how to read the Bible from a literary perspective.

 

The Second World War had a significant impact on the work of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the South Pacific, most notably in New Guinea, Papua, and the Solomon Islands, which were the scenes of bitter conflict between Japanese and Allied forces. The Australasian Union Conference (AUC), which administered the work of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the region, had to respond to restricted travel and tightened finances while simultaneously meeting new demands on its energies and resources. In particular, the church had to negotiate its interaction with state authorities over support for the war effort and compulsory military service, and manage its work in war-affected regions.

War and the Church in Australia and New Zealand

By 1939, the 30,000 members of the Adventist Church in Australasia were more prepared for the World War II (1939-1945) than they had been for World War I in 1914-1918. While hoping that any renewed war would leave the region untouched, Japanese aggression in Asia was deeply unsettling. In April 1939, months before the outbreak of war in Europe, the Australasian Union secretary offered Church’s non-combatant support to the Australian government in the event of war. The federal government minister labeled it “the most phenomenal and patriotic contribution to the Emergency Services that I have yet received. On behalf of the Government and the State I have gratefully received the contribution, and I have thanked the donors.”1 The resources offered to the government included 178 buildings, such as churches, schools and offices; two fully equipped and staffed hospitals (Sydney and Warburton); four large food factories; tents to accommodate 3,000 persons, with kitchens and sanitation equipment; motor trucks and motor cars; and the services of 15,000 men and women for non-combatant service.

For the first two years (September 1939 to late 1941), the impact of the Second World War on the Seventh-day Adventist church in the South Pacific looked like a repeat of the First World War, with fighting confined to Europe and North Africa. There was minimal disruption to church work. After the defeat of France in June 1940, the French territories in the Pacific–French Polynesia, New Caledonia, and the New Hebrides–quickly declared their loyalty to the Free French movement, and so continued to co-operate with other Allied governments in the region. However, the Japanese offensive into the South Pacific in 1942 brought the disruption of war into the region.

The principal impact of the war on Australia and New Zealand during these early years was the need to manage the financial, organizational, and personnel challenges posed by war, demonstrate its loyalty to the efforts of governments with regard to the war, and at the same time ensure that the Church’s non-combatant stand was clearly understood by the Church constituency, government authorities, and the general public.

The eagerness of the Church to be seen as loyal to state authorities was manifested through a range of activities which expressed support for the war effort. A number of well-publicized statements were made of the Church’s patriotic commitment, emphasizing the good citizenship of Seventh-day Adventists and their willingness to co-operate with the British Imperial war effort. Australasian Union President C. H. Watson made an extended appeal to church members to demonstrate loyalty to government as a second duty after loyalty to God, and to be willing to serve in non-combatant positions, and in civilian occupations such as medical services, farming, and non-military manufacturing, even if those goods and services were used by military. Watson qualified his comments by reminding church members of a primary commitment to Sabbath-keeping.2 The press later published a unanimous action taken by the “Australian and New Zealand leaders of the Seventh Day Adventist denomination” reaffirming “its undivided and unswerving loyalty to its beloved Sovereign King George VI.”3 A transcript of a memorial service for the recently-deceased Duke of Kent, brother of King George VI, published in the denominational paper, the Australasian Record, took pains to praise the British Empire and monarchy.4

Within weeks of the declaration of war, the Church in Australia offered the Commonwealth government its stock of 500-600 tents otherwise used for camp meetings, as emergency accommodation in case of evacuations from cities, an offer repeated in June 1940 when the Australasian Union Conference decided to cancel its camp meetings in view of the war situation.5 This “patriotic and most generous offer” was “gratefully accepted” in order to accommodate the rush of volunteers for the army, but apparently was not completely taken up, for in January 1942, the Australian military demanded a list of all marquees and their sale price, under threat of requisitioning should the request not be met.6 The Church also explored how its health food manufacturing arm, the Sanitarium Health Food Company, might be harnessed to produce food for the war effort, offering to supply the army with products at cost.7

More fundamental was the Australasian Union National Emergency Service (NES), a civil defense organization established with some foresight across Australia and New Zealand by the Church just prior to World War II, designed to allow Adventists to serve the state but under Adventist control. The NES. sought “to train and equip bodies of men and women who will be ready and willing at a moment's notice to fill any call which may come.”8 It focused on providing St. John’s Ambulance certified first aid training, home nursing, and emergency services, including air raid drills, and had over 700 Adventists enrolled by September 1939, with more than 1,200 in early October. A trial drill that month proved successful, and articles in the Australasian Record repeatedly promoted its work, which included offering homes to Adventist children evacuated from Britain during the Blitz.9 The service, rebadged as the National Emergency and Welfare Service in 1941, won plaudits in the secular press for its generous efforts, which included fitting out 43 Sanitarium Health Food Company delivery trucks as emergency ambulances, staffed by fully trained Adventist volunteers. Reports emphasized the contribution of the Church “whom some people think are on the sidelines of this war,” with over 5,000 said to have been trained in first aid by May 1941. In addition to this, the Church donated a fully equipped ambulance to the authorities in Australia and New Zealand respectively.10 The Australasian Union Conference executive also explored the possibility of providing bath and restrooms for soldiers on leave in Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne.11

The Church sought to contribute to the war effort through other civilian initiatives. In December 1939, the Australasian Union Conference donated £50 to the Red Cross, while at the local church level, Adventists across Australia and New Zealand organized charity fund-raisers and contributed goods and services to various welfare causes such as the Red Cross, British bombing victims, the Navy Distress Relief Funds, and the Australian Comforts Fund.12

The evangelistic possibilities of the war were not lost on the Church. Apart from the excellent press for its patriotic work, the Church gained publicity for its prayers for the nation and over the conflict enveloping the world.13 Sermons and public evangelistic meetings using events in the war to spread an Adventist perspective were also reported in the press, while one overblown attempt to claim that the war would see the return of Christ provoked a cynical response from a “Sceptical” letter writer.14 The NES was even used as a means of accessing a previously difficult-to-reach demographic in Sydney–the local Chinese community.15 Internal evangelism was also important. Articles in the Australasian Record frequently alluded to the war in making spiritual points, and news stories updated the membership of how the Church was faring in various war zones.16 One article was an extended warning of the dangers to spiritual health for those in the army–the loss of a Christian support network, of spiritual routines, and problems in Sabbath-keeping, probably targeted at young men who were thinking of volunteering for the Second Australian Imperial Force, intended for overseas service. Others encouraged participation in Sabbath Schools, or noted how an economical use of food in wartime “confirm[s] the knowledge given to us so many years ago through the Spirit of Prophecy.”17 The Australasian Union Conference was happy to support the Australian government’s austerity drive as well as its ambition of restricting the availability of liquor.18 In order to maintain the lines of communication between Adventists serving in the military and civilians at home, the Missionary Volunteer department published a regular page of soldiers’ letters and other relevant matters for soldiers to read in the Australasian Record.19

With the shadow of war threatening Australian shores in early 1941, church administrators wrestled with its likely impact on the work of the Church in the “homelands,” particularly the Sanitarium Health Food Company, as war precaution measures came into effect. Would it be classified as an essential industry, thus protecting its male employees from conscription? How would its products be distributed if the government requisitioned the company’s trucks? Leaders explored emergency transport provisions–including using shallow draft boats to ship products from the Cooranbong factory down the silted Dora Creek to the nearest railway station–and how to ensure supplies of wheat and corn. The establishment of factories in leased buildings in other states was another option to minimize transport problems. With the likelihood of conscription affecting the church work force, leaders were forced to consider new social employment practices, with the option of taking on women and older men as drivers and “travelers” (sales representatives) for the Santitarium Health Food Company. Even married women were to be recruited for office work if needed, while a list of men in essential work was created for exemption from conscription. By 1942, so many young men had been called up for military training that it was necessary to augment the Australasian Union Conference staff with young ladies, including appointments to the treasury staff.20

In June 1940, the Queensland state government’s Ambulance Transport Board informed the Sanitarium Health Food Company that it would requisition its vans if necessary, to which the Church had already agreed. The Church only sought clarity over insurance in such cases. A year later in New Zealand, the Wellington Sanitarium Health Food Company truck was used for the first time as an ambulance to ferry wounded soldiers from transport ships to hospital.21 In June 1942, the Church faced an even more drastic takeover of one of its institutions. The United States’ military proposed requisitioning the Church’s hospital, the Sydney Sanitarium and Hospital, as a military hospital, prompting discussion on how to relocate hospital staff and patients, but fortunately this failed to materialize.22

Wartime conditions affected other aspects of the work, causing the Australasian Union Conference Committee “much anxiety.”23 As early as July 1940, contingency plans were in place to respond to any conflict in the region. Once war reached the Pacific, travel, both within Australia and New Zealand, and to mission fields in the South Pacific, was frequently disrupted or impossible, causing missions, even in areas not directly affected by the war, to rely more on local workers as expatriates were withdrawn or unable to take up appointments. Camp meetings were cancelled, official visits by administrators curtailed, and regional workers’ meetings were planned to replace division-wide programs. New Zealand delegates were asked to bring Australian cash to the Australasian Union Conference session meetings in Sydney in 1942, as the exchange of New Zealand currency was not possible in wartime Australia. Employment in Australia and New Zealand had to be found for evacuated missionaries, while increased war taxes in New Zealand and War Damage Commission levies on many church properties in Australia bit into the budget. The Church attempted to reclaim some costs, requesting compensation for the military confiscation and loss of several of its mission vessels in the southwest Pacific.24 In early 1942, rumors that the missionary college at Avondale was not operating had to be denied; however, with raids on Australian soil by Japanese aircraft and submarines, slit trenches were dug and windows made shatterproof at coastal Adventist schools.25 Aboriginal autonomy was strengthened when the departure of European staff created opportunities for indigenous members to take more responsibility at the church-run mission reserve at Mona Mona. A nearby American military camp offered an excellent market for indigenous souvenirs.26

One church employee ran into difficulties in Samoa. Raimund Reye, Samoan-born and Australian-educated, was leader of the mission in Samoa. Having retained his German nationality, he registered as an enemy alien early in the war, and despite the goodwill of the colonial administration, he was finally interned in April 1942 and transferred to New Zealand. A committee of five was established and a temporary administrator was sent to replace him, while his Australian wife, Reubena, took over financial management, as it was felt that local workers lacked the necessary capacity for leadership. Reye was released on bail in December 1942 and allowed to return to Samoa in March 1945.27

The hazards of war touched two employees, the Australasian Union Conference treasurer and a teacher under appointment, on a voyage from Sydney, Australia, to New Plymouth, New Zealand. Their ship was sunk by a Japanese submarine, and along with thirty others, they took to a life boat, evading the submarine through rain squalls and returning to port two days later, more or less unharmed.28

Military Service

One of the most consistent challenges to which the church had to respond to during the war was the issue of military service. The previous world war had established the non-combatant stand of the Seventh-day Adventist Church with authorities in Australia and New Zealand, making it a matter of routine to have this position recognized in this new conflict and, with some exceptions, Adventists were routinely granted non-combatant status after a court hearing upon enlistment. At first, both nations raised forces for overseas service through volunteers, but manpower crises forced Australia to reintroduce compulsory military training in January 1940 and New Zealand to bring in conscription in June 1940. Australia’s compulsory military service was restricted to service only in Australia, including the Australian territories in Papua and New Guinea, formally extended to the Southwest Pacific Zone in January 1943. This extension allowed the deployment of conscripted Citizen Militia Forces in Dutch New Guinea (modern-day West Papua) and the Solomon Islands as well. Conscripted New Zealand Adventists served in the Middle East, Europe, and the Pacific, while the bulk of Australian Adventists served only in Australia and New Guinea. A handful served in the entirely voluntary Second Australian Imperial Force in the Middle East and Greece.

Church leaders were quick to publicize the Seventh-day Adventist position on military service, reiterating the stand on co-operation with government in all matters save in bearing arms and non-humanitarian military duties on the Sabbath. While officially classified as conscientious objectors, administrators were at pains to emphasize loyal non-combatant service and willingness to do acts of service on Sabbath if necessary.29 Repeated articles and statements were published to this effect, refuting the arguments of the newly-arrived Seventh Day Adventist Reform Movement in the person of Dumitru Nicolici, which painted the Church as apostate for allowing its members to serve in non-combatant roles in the military.30

In late December 1940, the Australasian Record republished a long American article about the Seventh-day Adventist stance, beginning with a potted history of conscription and of the nuances of the differences between conscientious objection, pacifism, and non-combatancy. It pointed out that Seventh-day Adventists had always been non-combatant, not pacifist, since the American Civil War, carefully separating the Adventist position from those who opposed any kind of military service. It argued that Adventists “will, when called, willingly and loyally perform any military duty which contributes to the preservation, the maintenance, the welfare, the sustaining, of human life.”31 The article did not settle the issue; a virtual repeat of Haynes’ statement was printed in April 1941, with two further articles from Religious Liberties Director A. W. Anderson in June and another two the following year, peppered with quotes from Ellen G. White and Adventist statements from the era of the American Civil War, attempting definitive answers to queries raised by members. The last of these used a term preferred by Adventist leadership: “conscientious co-operator,” which some felt better reflected the Adventist position.32 But when an Australian Adventist tried to register as a “conscientious supporter,” he found himself denied by the Defence Act, which did not recognize such a category, though the court willingly granted him non-combatant status.33

In the meantime, the press ran stories of Adventist young men claiming non-combatant status, some supportive and others noting more problematic applications. Two stories focused on the positive contribution of Adventists, lauding the NES and the many thousands who had completed first aid courses.34 One conscientious objector published and distributed a pamphlet claiming that the Adventist Church would not participate in any war-associated activity. The Church was quick to repudiate his views.35 Another quoted scripture at his court hearing to support his non-combatancy, and was noted as loving “even the Nazis, Japs, and Italians.”36 One Adventist made life difficult for himself in applying for non-combatant status as he was a foreman in a bullet factory, an irony that the judge was not slow to point out. However, he was fortunate to be allocated to civil work under the direction of the minister of labor.37 A farmer, caught between his official membership of the Adventist Church and his recent change of allegiance to the Reform Movement, was forced to defend himself from a judge who quoted A. W. Anderson on the topic of non-combatancy when the young man sought total exemption from the military. He was questioned over whether his change of heart was not mere expediency to avoid the army, which he denied, claiming the Adventist Church had delayed his change of membership.38 One Adventist was jailed for refusing both the oath and the alternative affirmation on enlistment, a stand not supported by the church, which in 1941 had negotiated a rewording of the oath to make it acceptable to Seventh-day Adventists.39

The Church also devoted considerable energy to supporting its young men who found themselves in the military. Early in the war, the Australasian Record featured a number of articles to encourage the new generation of Adventists to remain faithful under the secularizing pressure of the military. Stories featured local and American young men from previous wars and the current one who, refusing to compromise, resisted harassment for which they were honored and rewarded.40 Soon the Australasian Union Conference administrators were busy dealing with the issue at a practical level. There were various attempts to obtain exemptions for young men training at the Australasian Missionary College (AMC) at Avondale on the basis that they were students at a theological college. However, not all students were studying theology, and the labelling of the teaching degree as “Theological Normal” may have been an attempt to provide protection. If so, it was not wholly successful, as the Australasian Union Conference soon requested the government to allow AMC students three months military training instead of the mandatory six months, to avoid disrupting their studies. In response, Military Eastern Command gave AMC students permission to do their training during the long vacation. The college calendar was reorganized to better accommodate this. By 1942, conscription of young men had noticeably lowered the AMC enrollment.41

The Australasian Union Conference provided legal support for conscripts who were court-martialed in early 1941 over Sabbath issues, and from this experience learned better ways of avoiding those kinds of confrontations with the authorities.42 Printed cards with instructions for young men entering military service were freely distributed and updated as required to accommodate changing circumstances.43 With the war heating up in the Pacific in early 1942, the Australasian Union Conference committee took a special action to meet the new challenges and conditions. This included plans to “indoctrinate men in camp or liable to be called up,” especially through sending them literature and through pastoral visitations, and action to educate ministers and laity on the principles of religious liberty on Sabbath observance and non-combatancy. Local churches were soon encouraged to stay in touch with members who had been conscripted, and one began supplying Adventist men in the nearby training camp with “comforts and tuck boxes” customized to soldiers’ individual tastes, including devotional items, temperance cards, toiletries, and healthful snacks.44 Adventist radio broadcasts received messages of appreciation from men in the forces who listened as regularly as possible, while American servicemen visiting Australian Adventist churches wrote their thanks for making them feel at home.45

At the same time, service men and women were encouraged to “stand as did Daniel and his companions as a true representative of the God of heaven, and should realize that any deviation from the path of truth, or any compromise with error, brings discredit not only to his own profession of Christianity, but also to the church which he represents. We say to one and all, be faithful to every principle of truth. Pray God daily for strength rightly to represent the Master in all things, and may He make you a constant blessing to others and use you to His glory.”46 The religious liberty department also prepared church attendance cards as proof that military personnel were at church while on leave, thus reassuring military authorities that their claims for non-combatant status as members of the Seventh-day Adventist church were bona fide.47

As some Seventh-day Adventist soldiers were pressed to perform sanitary duties on the Sabbath, the Australasian Union Conference took an action to permit this if it was essential work to maintain the health of the camp.48 On the other hand, despite the appeal to the principles of Daniel and his companions, the Church took no stand on vegetarianism, though the Australasian Record published a radio account from a non-Adventist soldier of an Adventist who avoided meat save when bully beef was the only dietary option. This young man also initiated a fitness program, which was appreciated by his comrades.49 Another Australian Adventist serviceman ran a mobile library for soldiers in Queensland, providing a welcome wholesome distraction from the war.50

In order to ensure the progress of church work, Australasian Union Conference administrators sought to have clarity over protected roles. Clergymen were already automatically exempted, as were workers in essential industries. Various applications were made over the course of the war for specific individuals to be released from the military, as well as seeking exemption for workers at the denominational press, Signs Publishing in Warburton, Victoria. Late in the war, church leaders also sought to have specific servicemen released from the military–mostly church employees, doctors formerly in church employ, and men wishing to study for the ministry. However, one man obtained release from the army to study theology who church administrators considered unsuitable, and so it requested the army chaplain-general to confer with them before releasing men in order to avoid embarrassment.51

Other exemptions were sought for lay preachers, a concession made to some other Protestant denominations, while Australasian Union Conference officials toyed with the idea of forming Adventist teachers into a religious order, which would have protected them from conscription.52 Institutionally-employed doctors also came under threat at one stage, and Church leaders negotiated over one case of a doctor being conscripted. However, despite early appeals, leaders proved unwilling at first to provide financial compensation to church workers for the time they spent in military camps, but then looked at ways to make up the difference in their pay.53

Stories of servicemen and women featured in the Australasian Record, at first as reassurance that service did not force soldiers to violate their Adventist principles, and then later as a means of keeping communication open between soldiers and the broader Adventist church, and between soldiers serving in various locations. An early report of two New Zealand soldiers emphasized that there was “no difficulty in observing the Sabbath, and ha[d] not on any occasion been asked to bear arms.” One of them, who returned to his former Adventist faith while in the army, was taken out of a combat unit and given non-combatant duties without hesitation. A soldier who converted to Adventism also found no trouble in being transferred from the artillery to non-combat nursing orderly duties.54

Other Adventist soldiers reported that some initial conflicts with non-cooperative officers and teasing from fellow soldiers was soon dissipated by the respect these men earned through their faithfulness, which influenced some to begin their own Bible readings and others to attend Adventist meetings.55 A soldier who reported willing co-operation from officers over Sabbath observance also listed the challenges facing the Adventist soldier: “1. Sabbath privileges; 2. Mental adjustment toward Army life. 3. Social adjustment–associates, barrack conduct, etc. 4. Diet. 5. Non-combatancy classification and bearing of arms. 6. Living a spiritual life. I place the problem of living a spiritual life last, because in reality it presents no problem at all. One has merely to assure himself that under all circumstances God will play the leading role if we will but surrender each word and act to His direction.”56 A New Zealander serving in the Middle East proclaimed, “Difficulties in following our convictions have confronted us from time to time, but reviewing it all, for my part I can safely say that there is no position into which one can be put where it is impossible to obey the Lord.”57

Local pastors visited men in military units where possible, supplemented by the work of E. H. Guillard, the Australasian Union Conference field secretary who was appointed chaplain to United States Army Adventists in Australia, and who included Australian and New Zealand Adventist servicemen in his work at every opportunity.58 He ran services for Adventists in various camps around Australia, on one occasion being in a group of 20 men who shared meager portions from a tin of Nutmeat (a vegetarian meat substitute made by the Sanitarium Health Food Company) as part of a Sabbath lunch after a service in the Northern Territory.59 His work was greatly appreciated by Australian Adventist soldiers, the Australasian Union leadership, and the US Army chaplain in charge of the Pacific region, though it was complicated by the US Army’s refusal to reveal where Adventist servicemen were located for security reasons, and, often, failure to distinguish Adventists from various other Protestant groups. American Adventist Chaplain William Bergherm, attached to a hospital funded by American Adventists, also served in the Southwest Pacific, and was complimented on his work.60

Adventist soldiers also reported finding spiritual support in services run by Protestant chaplains and with other fellow Protestants. A convalescing soldier wrote of a combined Salvationist-Methodist church service where he took communion, saying, “I don’t know when I attended a better one; it was really wonderful, and I feel greatly helped by it.”61 A sergeant described his unit’s padre as “absolutely one of the best, and gets a fine roll-up to hear what he has to say. I can safely say he is much appreciated by all.” A lieutenant said his life was “enjoyable,” because he associated “with many good Christian lads of various denominations, and I couldn’t wish for more congenial friends than these boys,” while another Adventist shared a tent with three other Christians and enjoyed their fellowship.62 At least one Protestant chaplain ran services specifically for Adventists, which were appreciated.63

However, not all Protestant chaplains were as successful in their ministry to Adventists. One account of Sabbath services held in combination with nearby American Adventist troops told of having the Protestant minister preach, but as the Adventists did not appreciate his modernist university-type sermons, they delivered their own sermons. Adventist soldiers often ran their own meetings, often imitating as closely as possible the liturgy of the typical Adventist Sabbath School and church service.64 It was not unusual for several Adventists to be in the same or nearby units, often medical ones, which provided opportunity for some spiritual support and fellowship.65 Soldiers in Papua and New Guinea met regularly for Sabbath, and sometimes gatherings numbered over 20.66 Groups of Adventist soldiers in the Northern Territory also met on Sabbaths, often travelling some distance to a central location, their numbers varying as men were transferred to different posts, but sometimes reaching thirty.67

Adventist servicemen also shared church time with local Adventists in various locations. One attended the Cairo (Egypt) Adventist church four times per week, enjoying the fellowship that transcended language barriers.68 New Zealand Adventist soldiers were reported worshipping with Italian, American, Yugoslav, Montenegrin, and English Adventists while serving in Italy and the Balkans.69 In New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, soldiers joined local congregations sometimes numbering up to 200 on Sabbath.70 Servicemen in Europe and the Middle East were also able to indulge in religious tourism, visiting sites in Palestine and Syria, while two New Zealanders were present for a papal blessing while visiting the Vatican in Rome.71

While the majority of Adventists in the military served behind the front lines, often in medical or logistics units, a number of New Zealanders and Australians saw combat. Stretcher bearers attached to infantry units in New Guinea came under fire from Japanese attacks and ambushes while carrying out their duties, often through deep mud, and crossing rivers chest-deep in water. At least one Adventist airman was captured when his aircraft was shot down over Germany.72 For many others, contact with combat came through treating the casualties in field hospitals behind the lines. Sometimes the flood of patients on Sabbaths obliged them to work, although typically they had Sabbath off.73 Only one battle casualty among Australian and New Zealand Adventists has been recorded, a Royal Australian Air Force officer shot down in the Mediterranean in 1942, while one Australian and two New Zealanders died on active service; the first in a plane crash, and the others in a traffic accident at an Advanced Dressing Station.74

The Church in the War Zones

The war in Europe caused relatively little disruption to the Church in the South Pacific, but the possibility of Japanese aggression caused the Australasian Union Conference committee “much anxiety.” Aware that war in this area could force the evacuation of missionaries, contingency plans were in place eighteen months ahead of the outbreak of the Asia-Pacific War.75 In the meantime, a German merchant raider put into Emira in the Bismarck Archipelago and dropped off 500 mostly civilian prisoners it had captured from the merchant ships it had sunk. The Seventh-day Adventist mission launch Malalangi had just left Emira, thus avoiding the Germans, who destroyed local launches to prevent news of their whereabouts spreading. Adventist missionaries spoke with German officers, who wanted to ensure there was enough food for the released prisoners. The missionaries organized shelter and food supplies from local villages, many of which were Adventist, and contacted authorities who arranged their evacuation. The evacuees had “nothing but praise for the way the Adventist natives there helped the survivors,” impressed by their honesty, generosity, and clean-living.76

As the political situation with Japan deteriorated, the Australasian Union Conference began, in May 1941, organizing the evacuation of women and children from the territory of New Guinea, though nurses were given permission to stay.77 In the early months of 1941, Adventist missionary N. A. Ferris, in the role of Coast-Guard director in the Eastern Solomon Islands (a volunteer organization better known as the Coastwatchers working for the Australian Navy), played a role in unmasking and capturing two Japanese trochus-shell fishing vessels off the Solomon Islands accused of collecting intelligence for the Japanese Navy.78

The Japanese launched their Asian offensive against the Western powers on December 8, 1941, and on January 30, the first Adventist life was lost when a young Brisbane man, an ex-AMC student, was among the thirteen killed when a Qantas flying boat on a civilian rescue mission to Java was shot down near Timor.79

By January 1942, their advances across Southeast Asia and into Melanesia were so rapid that, despite the early contingency planning, Adventist workers in New Guinea and the Solomon Islands were at serious risk. Missionary wives and children were ordered to evacuate from New Guinea in December and the Solomon Islands in January. By early February 1942, all women and children were reported to be safe, along with some male workers who also evacuated, but other missionaries were unaccounted for.80 Scrambled evacuations of remaining missionaries in New Guinea and the Solomon Islands occurred in the following weeks, sometimes under bombing. One man literally left a bay at one end as Japanese warships arrived at the other. As regular shipping was overcrowded, two separate groups slipped away in relatively small mission craft, the Melanesia and the Diari, one navigating by pocket compass and an atlas page to safety in Australia, and taking advantage of providentially murky weather to escape enemy detection. Other missionary refugees arrived from Malaya and the East Indies (present-day Indonesia). Their dramatic escapes received widespread press coverage.81 Not everyone got away: Pastor A. S. Atkins was too ill to escape and volunteer missionary Trevor Collett bravely chose to stay with him. Atkins died in a Japanese hospital, but Collett, along with two other captured Adventist missionaries, E. M. Abbott and Len Thompson, was held prisoner for two years. A newspaper report jumbled the details of Collett’s action, claiming that one missionary and a colleague left their ship to tend to bomb casualties ashore, and were captured by the Japanese .82 Sadly, the three captives were lost, along with about 1,000 Allied civilian and military prisoners, when the ship in which they were travelling to Japan, the Montevideo Maru, was sunk by an Allied submarine.83

The Church lost three of its mission launches at this time: two sunk by enemy action while being used for evacuations (Voilomani and Malalagi) and a third (Lo Phare) requisitioned by American forces. Australasian Union Conference officials negotiated with authorities over compensation in each case.84 Another, the Portal, was set alight by British authorities to prevent it falling into Japanese hands, but the fire went out, and the Solomon Island Adventists pushed it into a secluded creek and dismantled its equipment, with the parts entrusted to various members of the local villages. After the Japanese retreat, the boat was uncovered, all its parts returned, and the launch was quickly restored to working order, with just a few charred timbers as a reminder of its remarkable survival.85

In the meantime, mission work was left to the leadership of local Adventists, under the baleful occupation of the Japanese who were very suspicious of the loyalty of any English-speaking locals. However, a combination of rugged terrain, thick bush, many islands, and poor transport infrastructure in New Guinea and the Solomon Islands confined Japanese forces to key locations such as ports and towns, while the many isolated local settlements were affected more through patrols and raids than by close occupation.

The diaries of Solomon Island Adventist leader Kato Ragoso indicate the ambivalence experienced by many indigenous people in the region between the time the missionaries left and Allied forces liberated them. After the expatriate missionaries left on February 1, 1942, Ragoso kept the local workers at their usual tasks, preparing the Sabbath School lesson quarterly, running the printing press, and maintaining mission property, while hiding equipment. For over seven months, this routine work continued with little interference from the Japanese, who had not yet arrived at his location. From time to time, aircraft passed overhead or a Japanese ship nosed around the coastline. On August 29, 1942, one of the workers rescued a downed Japanese airman. It was not until early September that the Japanese set up in their local area, and Ragoso began passing on information about their dispositions to the government district officer, a New Zealander who had remained behind. Occasional sea and air battles raged around them, but the Japanese occupation was not particularly intense. By late February 1943, American forces arrived, but even then, they existed in a kind of no-man’s-land between Japanese and Allied forces for some time until the Japanese were finally expelled from their bases on nearby islands.86

Church leaders in Australia expressed confidence in the “native workers” in areas evacuated by white missionaries, and with good reason.87 Their work, often done anonymously, was frequently heroic in the face of Japanese oppression. In late 1942, news filtered through that local Adventists in Papua, New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands had effectively maintained the work in many occupied territories, protecting church properties, running schools, keeping detailed financial statements, and even taking formal minutes of meetings, but it was only after the Japanese were defeated that the full stories emerged.88 Adventist mission workers and all 29 Adventist teachers on Guadalcanal continued their work, even without pay, and one man faithfully ran his Sabbath School though ferocious fighting was just a mile away.89 The Japanese made raids on local Solomon Island villages, with some villagers barely escaping with their lives.90 On Vangunu Island in the Solomons, some boys were captured by Japanese; though one escaped, three teachers were killed. The Japanese destroyed local homes and gardens, and a hospital. A church and pastor’s home were destroyed by American bombing, as they housed Japanese troops. The Batuna Printing Press was destroyed preventing the printing of Sabbath School Lesson pamphlets for three consecutive quarters, from July 1943 to March 1944.91 In Papua, locals buried and hid mission property and missionary goods such as clothing, glassware, crockery, and many household items to protect them from the Japanese. Others stored their tithe over months or even years until they were able to turn it over to church officials. The Australian Army helped repair the Adventist schools out of admiration for islanders’ conduct.92

Further north, at Madang in New Guinea and in some of the islands, local Adventist teachers were occasionally denounced to the Japanese by rival mission locals for having Australian connections. The Japanese attempted to stamp out the use of English, including Pidgin, and one teacher was hauled before a Japanese military court on two occasions, with the threat of beheading for collaborating with the enemy. Knowing that three Manus men had been beheaded by the Japanese, he attributed his survival to prayer. The group of Adventists hid Bibles and hymnbooks in the jungle, spending a year living in the bush and worshipping secretly, as their church, homes, and gardens were destroyed by the occupiers. The Japanese tried to put an end to Christian services, instead demanding respect for the Japanese “king-God.” When the war turned against the Japanese, their soldiers raided local gardens as their own supplies ran out and appropriated canoes.93 Similar stories emerged in various locations across New Guinea, Bougainville, and the Solomon Islands. In one instance, the Adventists in a New Guinea village defied the Japanese and insisted on reading the Bible and speaking English, despite death threats from the sword-wielding Japanese. On New Britain, villagers fled into the interior of the island to escape Japanese control, but kept working the mission gardens. Later, the Japanese rounded them up as forced labor, subjecting them to abuse. Warned by other locals of their impending execution, they escaped across the island, discovering Australian troops on the other side. Ten Adventists died during the occupation, some of them at the hands of the Japanese.94

Local Adventists in Japanese-occupied territory provided considerable assistance to Allied forces, particularly through co-operation with the Coast-Guards. In 1942, three Bougainville Adventists helped a party of 200 Australians escape from Rabaul, cross a swollen river in a ravine, and evade the Japanese.95 An American pilot shot down over Japanese-held New Guinea was rescued by locals and a local nurse attended to his two broken legs. Carried out to safety, he offered the nurse whatever reward she wanted; she asked simply for another medical kit to continue her medical ministry.96 Many other Allied pilots and soldiers were rescued by Adventist locals; Ragoso’s organization alone was credited with saving the lives of around 200 Allied servicemen during the war. But perhaps the most famous rescue was that of future United States President John F. Kennedy and his crew, who were marooned when their PT boat was sunk by the Japanese on August 2, 1943. Two Adventist-trained young men, Biuku Gasa and Eroni Kumana, found the survivors and paddled a message 38 miles through Japanese-held waters to enable the sailors to be recovered.97 Former missionaries were also able to help Allied intelligence in Australia, supplying photographs, charts, and local experience on likely sites for Allied landings through the treacherous, reef-strewn island waters.98

Once Australian and American troops had driven back the Japanese, local Adventists continued helping the Allied cause. Large numbers of locals were co-opted to provide Allied logistical support, and the Church provided Adventists with printed cards to ensure they were exempt from Sabbath and combat duties.99 The most famous were the “Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels,” Papuan porters recruited by the Australian Army, carrying supplies in to troops on the logistically-challenging Kokoda Track, and then carrying out thousands of wounded Australians. A good number of the porters were from Adventist villages, and often were made “boss boys” because of their integrity. They suffered considerable hardship under sometime brutal discipline, carrying supplies in steep, cold, muddy conditions, for many of them were from the coastal lowland areas and were not used to the altitude and cold. One Australian officer singled out the Seventh-day Adventist porter as being the only local in whom the Allies could have unqualified confidence, proving to be “particularly loyal” and “really very good and reliable”.100 A number of Allied soldiers and officers testified to the powerful witness of local Seventh-day Adventists, impressed by their loyalty, disinterested service, and faithfulness to the principals they had learned, refusing to work on Sabbath and turning down cigarettes as rewards. Their integrity inspired several officers to want to learn more about Adventism. One teacher in the Solomon Islands was awarded the Loyal Service Medal, while another leader was characterized as “a remarkable man. He is extremely intelligent, dignified, and had the respect of every one of us.”101

However, Adventists were not always well treated, being subjected to racially-motivated harassment and lack of respect for their religious convictions. Noted Adventist leader Kata Ragosa was arrested by the irascible New Zealand district officer in March 1943 for refusing to work on the Sabbath or serve on a jury, repeatedly beaten and assaulted, and sentenced to death. Three times the officer tried to have him shot, but he survived when the gun failed to fire twice and the soldier could not bring himself to give the final command on the third occasion. He was put to convict labor on the wharf, but released several weeks later without explanation.102

Nevertheless, Allied armed forces were often charmed by the hospitality of the locals. Adventist music groups were popular with troops in the New Hebrides and Solomon Islands, who in return, offered the locals, as well as recently released prisoners of war, medical care and medical training, often from Australian and New Zealand Adventists who were disproportionally represented in such units.103 Over a period of time, the various military and civil authorities permitted missionaries to return, often providing assistance for them in the form of transport, and occasionally resources.104 Many mission properties were destroyed or badly damaged, but repairs were hindered by a lack of supplies and often a lack of labor, as local help was tied up by the military. Shortages of food and medical supplies were particularly severe, but other things such as clothing, tools, paper, and teaching materials were also in short supply. Servicemen in the area, particularly United States Army personnel, were frequently generous in making up shortfalls, donating money, books, paper, pens, typewriters, blankets, bedding, clothing, sewing equipment, tools, and canvas. Donations from American Adventists also made their way to these islands.105

A number of Adventist expatriates were appointed to administrative and medical positions in ANGAU, the Australian New Guinea Administrative Unit, which exercised civil authority in much of the liberated territories. Thus, the Church was required to petition for their return to denominational employment. Church leaders also negotiated with authorities for compensation over the military use of church property and equipment, its return to church control, and over access to military surplus materials for mission use.106 ANGAU administrators found that Adventist villages more quickly gained independence from government relief as their well-tended gardens made them more self-reliant.107

Conclusion

The impact of the war on the Adventist Church in the South Pacific was great. While it caused a temporary setback in the work of the Church, particularly across Pacific territories cut off by conquest or reduced access to transport, requiring local missions rely on their own resources with a dramatic increase in responsibilities for local leadership. On the whole, these leaders rose to the occasion, and while expatriate control over island missions continued for decades after the war, it provided an important boost to local leadership.

The war also changed forever the social, cultural, and faith values of people living in the South Pacific. Post-traumatic stress disorders affected many servicemen and their families, as well as indigenous populations in the war zones, who had also witnessed the humiliation of Anglo colonial authority by the Japanese during the war, thus weakening the authority of restored colonial governments after the war.

The demands of war in the Southwest Pacific also resulted in a significant increase in infrastructure, as American forces in particular poured massive resources into developing ports, roads, and airfields across the New Hebrides (Vanuatu), the Solomon Islands, Papua and New Guinea. New territories were opened up and old ones made much easier to reach, making “vast populations more accessible to missionary endeavour.” It was an important factor in the Australasian Union Conference’s eventual progress to division status in the world-wide Adventist Church.108

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Notes

  1. “Help: Seventh-Day Adventists Offer to State Minister’s Gratitude,” Sydney Morning Herald, April 3, 1939, 11.

  2. C. H. Watson, “A Call for Loyalty in the Present Crisis,” Australasian Record, July 1, 1940, 1-3.

  3. “Seventh-Day Adventist Expression of Loyalty,” Cessnock Eagle and South Maitland Recorder, October 5, 1940, 4.

  4. A. W. Anderson, “Memorial Service for the Late Duke of Kent,” Australasian Record, September 21, 1942, 3.

  5. “Seventh Day Adventists Offer of 500 Tents for Emergency,” Brisbane Telegraph, September 26, 1939, 9; “Seventh Day Adventists Assistance,” Western Herald, June 21, 1940, 5; “The Call to Prayer,” Shepparton Advertiser, June 28, 1940, 6.

  6. “Our Offer Accepted,” Australasian Record, July 22, 1940, 8; Australasian Union Conference Minutes, January 15, 1942, South Pacific Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church Archives, Wahroonga, New South Wales, Australia.

  7. “The Call to Prayer,” Shepparton Advertiser, June 28, 1940, 6.

  8. A. J. Dyason, “The Spirit of Service,” Australasian Record, January 8, 1940, 7.

  9. A. J. Dyason, “Will It Work?,” Australasian Record, October 16, 1939, 6; H. J. Halliday and R. E. Hare, “The Work for Today,” Australasian Record, March 18, 1940, 6; R. E. Hare, “SOS–Homes Wanted,” Australasian Record, July 15, 1940, 7; H. J. Halliday, “Actual Service,” Australasian Record, August 12, 1940, 6; L. A. Piper, “Go! Do!” Australasian Record, September 2, 1940, 6-7.

  10. “Seventh Day Adventists and National Emergency,” Brisbane Telegraph, September 27, 1939, 5; “National Service Reunion,” Mackay Daily Mercury, September 10, 1940, 4; “Magnificent Patriotic Gesture for National Emergency,” Smith’s Weekly, May 24, 1941, 5; “The Call to Prayer,” Shepparton Advertiser, June 28, 1940, 6; H. E. Piper, “Ambulance Presented to the Government,” Australasian Record, January 6, 1941, 5.

  11. Australasian Union Conference Minutes, June 21, 1942, South Pacific Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church Archives, Wahroonga, New South Wales, Australia.

  12. “Seventh Day Adventists Give £50 to Red Cross,” Brisbane Telegraph, December 27, 1939, 14; “Kurri Red Cross: Seventh Day Adventist Church Concert,” Cessnock Eagle and South Maitland Recorder, September 13, 1940, 1; “Volunteers Prepare Red Cross Home,” Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate, February 5, 1941, 8; “Emergency Welfare Service,” Shepparton Advertiser, May 23, 1941, 6; “A.C.F. Work in Huron Districts,” Hobart Mercury, August 20, 1941, 7; R. E. Hare, “National Emergency and Welfare Service,” Australasian Record, January 5, 1942, 5; Charles Head, “The N.E.W.S. in Victoria,” Australasian Record, February 2, 1942, 8.

  13. “SDA Church Joins National Prayers for Empire,” Mount Barker and Denmark Record, May 27, 1940, 1; “The Call to Prayer,” Shepparton Advertiser, June 28, 1940, 6.

  14. “Seventh-Day Adventist Addresses,” Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate, December 9, 1939, 14; “The Greatest Struggle of the Ages–Is the Climax Near?” Wagga Wagga Daily Advertiser, November 2, 1940, 7; A. R. Mitchell, “They Trusted in a Wall,” Australasian Record, November 4, 1940, 1; “Seventh Day Adventist Church: Why France Bleeds,” Bowen Independent, November 6, 1942, 2; “Letters to the Editor,” Perth Daily News, February 22, 1940, 6.

  15. H. J. Halliday, “Class Training,” Australasian Record, September 30, 1940, 5.

  16. “Under the Strain of War: More News from Europe,” Australasian Record, January 13, 1941, 4; “In South-Eastern Europe,” Australasian Record, February 10, 1941, 2-3; Eric B. Hare, “Two Stories from China,” Australasian Record, February 10, 1941, 8.

  17. A. W. Peterson, “This Time of War,” Australasian Record, March 4, 1940, 1-2; “The Full Use of Food,” Australasian Record, November 4, 1940, 2; L. H. Christian, “The Sabbath School in War Time,” Australasian Record, February 10, 1941, 5-6.

  18. “Australasian Union Conference Annual Meeting,” Australasian Record, October 5, 1942, 5.

  19. Australasian Union Conference Minutes, July 14, 1942, South Pacific Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church Archives, Wahroonga, New South Wales, Australia.

  20. Australasian Union Conference Minutes, February 13, 1941, February 14, 1941, February 18, 1941, June 30, 1941, South Pacific Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church Archives, Wahroonga, New South Wales, Australia; “Brevities,” Australasian Record, January 26, 1942, 8.

  21. Australasian Union Conference Minutes, June 30, 1941, South Pacific Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church Archives, Wahroonga, New South Wales, Australia; “Brevities,” Australasian Record, June 1, 1942, 8.

  22. Australasian Union Conference Minutes, June 19, 1942, June 21, 1942, June 24, 1942, South Pacific Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church Archives, Wahroonga, New South Wales, Australia.

  23. “Facing a Grave Situation,” Australasian Record, July 1, 1940, 8.

  24. “Brevities,” Australasian Record, January 12, 1942, 8; A. W. Westerman, “Inspecting Church Schools in West Australia,” Australasian Record, August 31, 1942, 6; Australasian Union Conference Minutes, April 29, 1941, July 9, 1941, June 10, 1942, June 24, 1942, South Pacific Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church Archives, Wahroonga, New South Wales, Australia.

  25. T. C. Lawson, “Avondale in 1942,” Australasian Record, February 23, 1942, 8; G. H. Minchin, “Notes from Avondale,” Australasian Record, April 27, 1942, 6.

  26. Shane Collins, Mona Mona: A Culture in Transition, GradDip thesis, James Cook University, Qld, 1981, 56.

  27. “Brevities,” Australasian Record, August 24, 1942, 8; “Island Notes,” Australasian Record, October 5, 1942, 6; “Native Leaders Report from Samoa,” Australasian Record, October 12, 1942, 5; “Brevities,” Australasian Record, February 15, 1943, 3; J. T. Howse, “Advance in Tutuila, American Samoa,” Australasian Record, June 4, 1945, 4.

  28. “Torpedoed,” Australasian Record, February 8, 1943, 3; “Attacks on Shipping,” The West Australian, November 2, 1945, 11; “IJN Submarine I-21: Tabular Record of Movement,” Imperial Japanese Navy Page, 2012, accessed June 25, 2018, http://www.combinedfleet.com/I-21.htm.

  29. A. W. Anderson, “Loyal Seventh-day Adventists, Please Take Notice!” Australasian Record, June 16, 1941, 5-6.

  30. D. Nicolici, “To the Committee S.D.A., Australasian Union Conference,” letter, July 5, 1939, Box 99, Adventist Heritage Centre, Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia; D. Nicolici, “Explanation in Reply to Pastor C. H. Watson’s Comment on the European Situation,” n.d. circa 1940, Box 99, Adventist Heritage Centre, Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia; C . H. Watson, “A Serious Charge Refuted,” Australasian Record, April 14, 1941, 1-2; C. H. Watson, circular letter to church workers in the Home Field, June 26, 1941, Box 99, Adventist Heritage Centre, Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia; C. H. Watson, circular letter to church workers in the Home Field, July 21, 1941, Box 99, Adventist Heritage Centre, Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia; Australasian Union Conference Minutes, January 9, 1942, South Pacific Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church Archives, Wahroonga, New South Wales, Australia.

  31. Carlyle B. Haynes, “Conscription and Non-Combatancy,” Australasian Record, December 9, 1940, 2-3.

  32. A. W. Anderson, “Denominational Definition of Non-Combatancy,” Australasian Record, April 28, 1941, 3-4; A. W. Anderson, “Denominational Definition of Non-Combatancy Challenged,” Australasian Record, June 9, 1941, 4-6; A. W. Anderson, “Loyal Seventh-day Adventists, Please Take Notice!,” Australasian Record, June 16, 1941, 5-6; A. W. Anderson, “Our Non-Combatant Attitude to War,” Australasian Record, May 11, 1942, 3-5; Carlyle B. Haynes, “Soldiers of the Lord, Conscientious Co-operators,” Australasian Record, December 7, 1942, 2-3.

  33. “Seventh Day Adventists’ War Policy Told in Court,” Innisfail Evening Advocate, March 11, 1943, 4.

  34. “Front Line Troops Refuse to Kill,” The World’s News, July 25, 1942, 7; “SDA Minister Explains Movement’s Attitude to War,” Mount Gambier Border Watch, August 27, 1942, 2.

  35. “‘Conchies’ and Seventh Day Adventists: Dangerous Pamphleteers Disowned,” Smith’s Weekly, July 5, 1941, 3.

  36. “Loved Even the Nazis, Japs, and Italians,” Grenfell Record and Lachlan District Advertiser, April 13, 1942, 2.

  37. “Makes the Bullets,” Sydney Sun, April 16, 1942, 3.

  38. “Injustice Alleged,” Grenfell Record and Lachlan District Advertiser, May 28, 2942, 3.

  39. “Enlistment Oath: Second Charge,” Brisbane Courier-Mail, March 20, 1943, 2; Australasian Union Conference Minutes, March 11, 1941, March 17, 1941, January 8, 1942, August 27, 1942, South Pacific Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church Archives, Wahroonga, New South Wales, Australia.

  40. Okay Hill, “In the Army–Alone, But not Alone,” Australasian Record, March 11, 1940, 2; Louis Greiner, “In the Army–Faithful in Prayer,” Australasian Record, April 1, 1940, 2-3; Frank N. Tidrick, “Peculiar Religion,” Australasian Record, June 10, 1940, 8; H. E. Widmer, “Never Compromise,” Australasian Record, August 26, 1940, 8.

  41. Australasian Union Conference Minutes, January 30, 1941, March 17, 1941, July 14, 1941, South Pacific Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church Archives, Wahroonga, New South Wales, Australia; G. H. Minchin, “Opening Days at Avondale,” Australasian Record, April 13, 1942, 8.

  42. Australasian Union Conference Minutes, February 12, 1941, February 13, 1941, March 11, 1941, South Pacific Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church Archives, Wahroonga, New South Wales, Australia.

  43. Australasian Union Conference Minutes, May 21, 1941, January 8, 1942, South Pacific Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church Archives, Wahroonga, New South Wales, Australia.

  44. Australasian Union Conference Minutes, January 12, 1942, South Pacific Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church Archives, Wahroonga, New South Wales, Australia; R. V. Rampton, “Holding the Life Lines,” Australasian Record, August 24, 1942, 8.

  45. K. J. Wooller, “From the Radio Church Post-Office Box,” Australasian Record, October 4, 1943, 2; “Some Notes of Thanks,” Australasian Record, September 11, 1944, 6.

  46. W. H. Branson, “Every Seventh-day Adventist…,” Australasian Record, October 5, 1942, 8.

  47. Australasian Union Conference Minutes, February 9, 1942, South Pacific Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church Archives, Wahroonga, New South Wales, Australia.

  48. Australasian Union Conference Minutes, March 30, 1942, South Pacific Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church Archives, Wahroonga, New South Wales, Australia.

  49. “With Our Boys in the Forces,” Australasian Record, December 4, 1944, 6.

  50. J. D. Anderson, “More Interesting Letters,” Australasian Record, September 25, 1944, 6.

  51. “Personal,” Australasian Record, September 25, 1944, 7; Australasian Union Conference Minutes, May 1, 1945, May 8, 1945, May 28, 1945, November 19, 1945, South Pacific Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church Archives, Wahroonga, New South Wales, Australia.

  52. Australasian Union Conference Minutes, January 7, 1942, November 23, 1942, South Pacific Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church Archives, Wahroonga, New South Wales, Australia.

  53. Australasian Union Conference Minutes, February 12, 1941, February 13, 1941, February 19, 1941, February 20, 1941, March 4, 1941, March 24, 1941, January 4, 1943, February 11, 1943, March 1, 1943, South Pacific Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church Archives, Wahroonga, New South Wales, Australia.

  54. “South New Zealand Conference,” Australasian Record, August 18, 1941, 4; “Rejoicing to be a Member of God’s Family,” Australasian Record, April 30, 1945, 6.

  55. “With the Forces in Egypt,” Australasian Record, February 23, 1942, 5; “From a Military Camp,” Australasian Record, February 23, 1942, 6.

  56. “Living a Spiritual Life,” Australasian Record, May 3, 1943, 6.

  57. “All Things Work Together for Good…,” Australasian Record, May 17, 1943, 6.

  58. “With Our Boys in the Forces,” Australasian Record, November 2, 1942, 6.

  59. Gordon Wright, “A Visit Long to Be Remembered,” Australasian Record, September 11, 1944, 6.

  60. Australasian Union Conference Minutes, January 4 1943, South Pacific Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church Archives, Wahroonga, New South Wales, Australia; Ivan C. Bennett, “A Greeting and a Message,” Australasian Record, October 8, 1945, 6.

  61. “Convalescence in New Guinea,” Australasian Record, March 29, 1943, 5.

  62. “Our Boys Take Up the Pen,” Australasian Record, July 31, 1944, 6; “Enjoying Life in the Army,” Australasian Record, July 31, 1944, 6; “New Guinea Impressions,” Australasian Record, May 24, 1943, 6.

  63. “Rejoicing to be a Member of God’s Family,” Australasian Record, April 30, 1945, 6.

  64. “Blest Be the Tie That Binds,” Australasian Record, October 30, 1944, 6.

  65. “Six Happy Christian Soldiers,” Australasian Record, February 23, 1942, 3; “New Guinea Impressions,” Australasian Record, May 24, 1943, 6-7.

  66. “From One to Another,” Australasian Record, November 2, 1942, 6; “From the Mailbag,” Australasian Record, June 19, 1944, 7.

  67. “Six Happy Christian Soldiers,” Australasian Record, August 24, 1942, 3; “Warburton Notes,” Australasian Record, February 5, 1945, 6.

  68. “All Things Work Together for Good…,” Australasian Record, May 17, 1943, 6.

  69. “Somewhere in Italy,” Australasian Record, November 13, 1944, 6.

  70. “Soldiers Spend Sabbath with Native Believers in Bougainville,” Australasian Record, February 19, 1945, 6; “More Letters from the Solomons,” Australasian Record, February 28, 1944, 6.

  71. “Ron and Tom Visit Rome,” Australasian Record, October 2, 1944, 6; “Rovings of an Airman,” Australasian Record, November 20, 1944, 6.

  72. “Warburton Boys in the Front Line,” Australasian Record, May 24, 1943, 6; “A Prisoner of War,” Australasian Record, February 5, 1945, 6.

  73. “South Australians Liked Their Parcels,” Australasian Record, March 29, 1943, 5.

  74. “Lethbridge,” Australasian Record, November 19, 1945, 7; “Glover,” Australasian Record, October 2, 1944, 7; “Private Phil Martin Accidentally Killed,” Australasian Record, July 19, 1943, 6; “Auckland Churches Welcome Home Boys from Overseas,” Australasian Record, September 25, 1944, 6.

  75. “Facing a Grave Situation,” Australasian Record, 1 July 1940, 8.

  76. A. S. Atkins, “Enemy Raiders at Emira,” Australasian Record, February 3, 1941, 2-3; “More Details from Emira,” Australasian Record, March 31, 1941, 3-4.

  77. Australasian Union Conference Minutes, May 13, 1941, South Pacific Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church Archives, Wahroonga, New South Wales, Australia.

  78. “Jap Spies in Solomons,” Sydney Sun, January 8, 1942, 3.age 3

  79. “Brevities,” Australasian Record, February 23, 1942, 8.

  80. “Our Island Missionaries,” Australasian Record, January 19, 1942, 8; “Brevities,” Australasian Record, February 9, 1942, 8; “Our Missionaries as Affected by War in the Western Pacific,” Australasian Record, February 23, 1942, 8.

  81. J. C. H. Perry, “Solomon Islands to Australia on the ‘Melanesia’,” Australasian Record, March 30, 1942, 3; C. E. Mitchell, “Papua to Australia on the ‘Diari’,” Australasian Record, March 30, 1942, 3-4; E. L. Minchin, “Escape from Singapore,” Australasian Record, March 30, 1942, 5; “Refugees from Solomons,” Goulburn Evening Post, March 9, 1942, 3; “Daring Voyage,” Wagga Wagga Daily Advertiser, March 19, 1942, 4; “Adventures of Missionaries,” Port Pirie Recorder, April 6, 1942, 4; “Missionary’s Escape from Japanese,” Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate, April 20, 1942, 4; “Cyril Pascoe, “Flight from Bougainville,” Australasian Record, September 21, 1942, 4-5.

  82. “Adventures of Missionaries,” Port Pirie Recorder, April 6, 1942, 4; “Brevities,” Australasian Record, June 1, 1942, 8; “Our Missionaries,” Australasian Record, June 15, 1942, 8.

  83. “Three Missing Men Now Reported Lost,” Australasian Record, November 19, 1945, 5.

  84. Australasian Union Conference Minutes, June 10, 1942 July 20, 1942, South Pacific Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church Archives, Wahroonga, New South Wales, Australia.

  85. Reuben Hare, Fuzzy Wuzzy Tales (Washington D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1950), 62-67; Eileen E. Lantry, Broken Stick: Mission to the Forbidden Islands (Hagerstown MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 2010), 82-83.

  86. Kata Ragoso, Diaries, February 1942-February 1943, Box 1826, Avondale Heritage Centre, Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia.

  87. R. H. Tutty, “Confidence in the Future of our Island Missions,” Australasian Record, April 20, 1942, 3.

  88. “Our Island Field,” Australasian Record, November 9, 1942, 3; “Snapshots by Pastor N. A. Ferris,” Australasian Record, November 8, 1943, 3.

  89. “Snapshots by Pastor N. A. Ferris,” Australasian Record, November 8, 1943, 4.

  90. “New Zealand and Solomon Island Believers Meet,” Australasian Record, February 21, 1944, 6.

  91. “More Letters from the Solomons,” Australasian Record, February 28, 1944, 6.

  92. C. E. Mitchell, “Progress in Papua,” Australasian Record, February 19, 1945, 5.

  93. “Trials of Madang Native Teachers during Enemy Occupation,” Australasian Record, December 4, 1944, 7; “News of Native Teachers,” Australasian Record, July 31, 1944, 5.

  94. “More News From Bougainville,” Australasian Record, February 26, 1945, 5; A. J. Campbell, “Late News From New Guinea,” Australasian Record, April 2, 1945, 5; “A Thrilling and Challenging Land,” Australasian Record, August 6, 1945, 6; A. J. Campbell, “Experiences in New Guinea,” Australasian Record, November 5, 1945, 8.

  95. A. J. Campbell, “From Aroma to Vailala,” Australasian Record, August 21, 1944, 5; A. J. Campbell, “Three Saved Two Hundred,” Australasian Record, March 12, 1945, 5.

  96. “Snapshots by Pastor N. A. Ferris,” Australasian Record, November 8, 1943, 3-4.

  97. C. E. Mitchell, “In the ANGAU,” Australasian Record, November 29, 1943, 6; “Pastor Lock Writes,” Australasian Record, November 23, 1942, 4; Kata Ragoso diaries, Box 1826, Avondale Heritage Centre, Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia; Australasian Record, 5 February 1943; Richard De Lisser, “As World Remembers Kennedy, Few Know How Adventists Saved Him in World War II,” Adventist Review, November 21, 2013, accessed June 25, 2018, https://www.adventistreview.org/church-news/as-world-remembers-kennedy,-few-know-how-adventists-saved-him-in-world-war-ii.

  98. Australasian Union Conference Minutes, November 23, 1942, South Pacific Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church Archives, Wahroonga, New South Wales, Australia.

  99. kTeacher Reports,” Australasian Record, November 9, 1942, 3; Australasian Union Conference Minutes, November 30, 1943, South Pacific Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church Archives, Wahroonga, New South Wales, Australia; “New Hebrides,” Australasian Record, February 14, 1944, 5; “Aroma Church, New Guinea,” Australasian Record, April 3, 1944, 4; “The New Hebrides,” Australasian Record, August 7, 1944, 3; L. I. Howell, “Twenty-four Baptised at Vailala, Papua,” Australasian Record, August 21, 1944, 4.

  100. “Fuzzy Wuzzy,” Mudgee Guardian and North-Western Representative, December 3, 1942, 15; “Contacts with Mission Natives,” Australasian Record, December 14, 1942, 4; Robin Sydney McKay, interview by Daniel Connell, S00712, The Keith Murdoch Sound Archive of Australia in the War of 1939-45, July 29, 1989.

  101. A. J. Campbell, “Late News from New Guinea,” Australasian Record, April 2, 1945, 5; A. W. Cormack, “Salau Helps U.S. Naval Men,” Australasian Record, September 4, 1944, 8; “SDA Missions are Different,” Australasian Record, July 31, 1944, 6; William H. Bergherm, “Keeping the Commission,” Australasian Record, October 9, 1944, 1-2.

  102. Kata Ragoso, Diaries, March 19-May 29, 1943, Box 1826, Avondale Heritage Centre, Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia. This incident, and others such as the burning of the Portal, received enhanced descriptions in some post-war Adventist publications, adding miraculous elements which cannot be found in the primary documents. See for example Reuben Hare, Fuzzy Wuzzy Tales (Washington D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1950) and Eileen E. Lantry, Broken Stick: Mission to the Forbidden Islands (Hagerstown MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 2010).

  103. “New Hebrides Mission Singers at Army Evacuation Hospital,” Australasian Record, October 2, 1944, 6; “Reciprocal Aid,” Australasian Record, March 12, 1945, 8; L. H. Barnard, “Among Primitive Tribes,” Australasian Record, June 26, 1944, 6; Harry Hopkin, “Varied Experiences,” Australasian Record, November 26, 1945, 6; “Genuine Medical Men Train in New Guinea,” Australasian Record, September 18, 1944, 5.

  104. Australasian Union Conference Minutes, June 30, 1942, January 10, 1945, January 30, 1945, February 13, 1945, March 19, 1945, April 16, 1945, April 30, 1945, May 1, 1945, South Pacific Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church Archives, Wahroonga, New South Wales, Australia; A. J. Campbell, “On the Borders of Where We Were,” Australasian Record, March 20, 1944, 4.

  105. “New Zealand and Solomon Island Believers Meet,” Australasian Record, February 21, 1944, 6; “Aroma Church, New guinea,” Australasian Record, April 3, 1944, 4; “Pastor Rore Visits Servicemen’s Chapel,” Australasian Record, August 14, 1944, 6-7.

  106. C. E. Mitchell, “In the ANGAU,” Australasian Record, November 29, 1943, 6; Australasian Union Conference Minutes, February 9, 1943, May 28, 1943, June 19, 1944, September 18, 1944, October 22, 1945, South Pacific Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church Archives, Wahroonga, New South Wales, Australia.

  107. A. J. Campbell, “Late News from New Guinea,” Australasian Record, April 2, 1945, 5; Eileen E. Lantry, Broken Stick: Mission to the Forbidden Islands, Hagerstown MD: Review and Herald, 2010, 71-72.

  108. “Proposal Regarding New Divisional Organization,” Australasian Record, October 8, 1945, 7.

×

Reynaud, Daniel. "World War II and the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the South Pacific." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. January 09, 2021. Accessed June 18, 2021. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=A87X.

Reynaud, Daniel. "World War II and the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the South Pacific." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. January 09, 2021. Date of access June 18, 2021, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=A87X.

Reynaud, Daniel (2021, January 09). World War II and the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the South Pacific. Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved June 18, 2021, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=A87X.