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NEW GUINEA - UNTEA / UNSF
Jan Vennix has compiled background information on the tensions between the Netherlands and Indonesia over West Irian/West New Guinea that resulted in the formation of the United Nations Security Force in West New Guinea (UNTEA) and United Nations Security Force (UNSF):
The following brief history of Canadian involvement in the United Nations Security Force in West New Guinea (UNTEA) from 10/1/1962 to 4/30/1963 is from Canadian Department of National Defence Operations Database:
Canadian planning for a role in West New Guinea began on 16 August 1963 when Canada was requested to send an air advisor to the UNSF Commander and a float-equipped Otter with flying and ground crew. RCAF headquarters suggested that two Otters and an air advisor would be necessary. The request went before Cabinet on 29 August and the request was approved.
On 30 August, two CC-130 Hercules aircraft left RCAF Station Trenton, westward bound for West New Guinea. Inside were two disassembled Otters, spare parts and 11 members of what was to become No. 116 Air Transport Unit (ATU). The Hercules were so crowded that some members of No. 116 ATU rode inside the Otters.
They, and the air advisor, arrived in West New Guinea on 3 September. W/C Herbert remained stationed at UNSF headquarters in Hollandia, 275 miles to the east of the remaining Canadians, arranging and coordinating the daily airlift requirements.
Once UNTEA assumed responsibility for West New Guinea, No. 116 ATU began operations on 12 September, under Command of the local contingent. Most trips involved carrying passengers, mail and fresh food to the Pakistani garrisons throughout the territory. These were supplemented by flights carrying UN personnel on inspections.
In the seven months that No. 116 ATU operated under UNSF and UNTEA, its 11 members supported and flew 675 hours under some of the most trying conditions in the world. This was accomplished without a single accident. W/C Herbert, as Air Advisor, coordinated all air movements and the re-supply of 1,500 Pakistani soldiers and various UN officials. The transfer of power from UNTEA to Indonesia did not resolve the West New Guinea problem, and the rights of its people to self- determination – this only occurred in 1969.
For more details, please see a history provided by the Canadian Forces Headquarters (CFHQ), Directorate of History, Report No. 12 titled "Canada and Peace-Keeping Operations West New Guinea (West Irian)".
If you have any additions to this page, please email Gord Jenkins (click here to email).
Larry Caverley - was an aircraft sheet metal worker stationed at Trenton. He was sent to Biak in West New Guinea as part of UNTEA to patch a hole in the float of the Otter. While there, he was once able to visit Hollandia. Larry currently resides in Comox B.C. and would like to hear from other Canadians who were stationed at Biak as part of UNTEA. Please contact Gord Jenkins for more information or if you were stationed in New Guinea.
Following photographs courtesy of Ruud Jansen (see Ruud's web site). First set shows RCAF CC-130 Hercules followed by unloading of Otter:
Following photographs, also provided by Ruud Jansen, were taken in October 1962 at the local airport in Kaimana:
Following photographs by Leo Feijten includes assembly of Otter:
Photo courtesy of Wil Nikken taken at Buruku Air Base:
Photos courtesy of Wil Nikken taken at Mokmer Airport:
Photos courtesy of Hein Tromp taken at Mokmer, Biak:
U.N. photo of Otter:
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