Place: Asia & the Pacific
During the Second World War, coast watchers were stationed throughout the Solomons to secretly report Japanese troop and ship; they often used dugouts for transportation.
Dugout Canoe (Cori), circa 1940s
Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands
During the Second World War, coast watchers were stationed throughout the Solomons to secretly report Japanese troop and ship movements by radio. They often used dugouts as a means to spy, to escape capture by the Japanese, to transport medical and other supplies between float planes and shore, or to take downed pilots to waiting ships or planes in the middle of the night.
Lieutenant Dale Leslie was shot down off Guadalcanal on September 28, 1942.
That evening he came ashore near Tabea, about three miles from Cape Esperance and deep in Japanese territory. On October 10th, he was still working his way down the coast when he came across an unguarded native canoe near a Japanese camp. Stealing a paddle from an empty hut, he hid under a log to wait for night.
Darkness at last, and Leslie sneaked down to his canoe while other Japanese relaxed on the beach, smoking. Just as he was about to shove off they saw him and began shouting. He jumped in and paddled away, calling back an answering shout that must have convinced them he was a native, since they soon went back to their smoking.
Now three more days of hide and seek as he slowly paddled south along the shore.
Walter Lord, Lonely Vigil
Origin: Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands