Title: Fire over the Islands – Coast Watchers of the Solomons

Author: Horton, D C

Condition: Very Good

Edition: 1st Edition

Publication Date: 1970

ISBN: 0589070894

Cover: Hard Cover with Dust Jacket – 256 pages

Comments: The story of the Australian Coast Watchers during World War 2.

The Coastwatchers, also known as the Coast Watch Organisation, Combined Field Intelligence Service or Section “C” Allied Intelligence Bureau, were Allied military intelligence operatives stationed on remote Pacific islands during World War II to observe enemy movements and rescue stranded Allied personnel. They played a significant role in the Pacific Ocean theatre and South West Pacific theatre, particularly as an early warning network during the Guadalcanal campaign.

There were about 400 coastwatchers in all – they were mostly Australian military officers, New Zealand servicemen, Pacific Islanders and escaped Allied prisoners of war.

The Australian coastwatch organisation was led by Lieutenant Commander Eric Feldt, who was based in Townsville, Australia. Their actions were particularly important in monitoring Japanese activity in the roughly one thousand islands that make up the Solomon Islands.

Many personnel who took part in coastwatcher operations behind enemy lines were commissioned as officers of the Royal Australian Navy Volunteer Reserve (RANVR) to protect them in case of capture, although this was not always recognized by the Japanese military, which executed several of them. The coastwatchers’ numbers were augmented by escaped Allied personnel and even civilians. In one strange case, three German missionaries assisted the coastwatchers after escaping Japanese captivity, though Germany was an ally of Japan during the war.