Solomon Islands Scouts and Coastwatchers will have another opportunity to be formally recognised for the role they played in World War II, through the presentation of the Solomon Islands Scouts and Coastwatchers Medallion as part of Guadalcanal Day commemorations.
The first medallions were presented to family members of former Solomon Islands Scouts and Coastwatchers at the Solomon Islands Scouts and Coastwatchers Memorial in Honiara, Solomon Islands in 2013 on Guadalcanal Day. Last year medallions were also presented.
Lieutenant Colonel Richard Watson, Australian Defence Adviser presented the medallions last year. “The Solomon Islands Scouts and Coastwatchers provided superb support to the Allied war efforts in Guadalcanal and Tulagi during the Second World War,” he said.
“The role of Scouts and Coastwatchers then was very similar to the role of many special forces of today. The provision of early warning, surveillance, reconnaissance and harnessing local knowledge was essential to the success achieved here in World War II.”
In the words of the World War II United States commander, Admiral William “Bull” Halsey, “Guadalcanal saved the Pacific, and the Coastwatchers saved Guadalcanal.”
The Guadalcanal campaign is often seen as the turning point in the war in the Pacific. During that campaign, the Solomon Islands Scouts and Coastwatchers provided invaluable assistance to the Allied forces by looking for signs of attack from hostile forces.
The Solomon Islands Scouts and Coastwatchers Medallion recognises that vital contribution.
The medallion recognises that 27 Coastwatchers and 20 Solomon Islanders made the ultimate sacrifice and were killed in action during the Second World War. In addition to this, 18 Coastwatchers and 40 Solomon Islanders were captured during the course of the war. The Coastwatchers were also credited with rescuing 501 Allied military personnel and 450 civilians during the Second World War.
Solomon Islands Scouts and Coastwatchers who served during the Guadalcanal campaign (or a member of their surviving next of kin) will be eligible to receive the medallion in recognition of acts done in service of the Allied war effort.
To apply for the medallion contact the Australian High Commission, Honiara or the Solomon Islands Scouts and Coastwatchers Memorial Trust.