8 Aug 2012

70th anniversary of Battle of Guadalcanal marked in Solomon Islands

7:29 am on 8 August 2012

The 70th anniversary of the Battle of Guadalcanal has been marked with a ceremony in Solomon Islands.

The battle was a key event during the Second World War when Allied and Japanese forces fought on Guadalcanal and nearby islands.

The campaign also involved the New Zealand Navy which has sent the Vessel HMNZS Otago to join this year's commemorations.

Meanwhile, The Solomon Star reports former US President John F Kennedy's surviving rescuer will be a special guest at today's anniversary.

In his first public appearance since 1942, Eroni Kumana who only spoke through an interpreter said he was overjoyed to be part of the anniversary.

Eroni Kumana and Biuku Gasa helped rescue young U.S. naval officer John F. Kennedy and his crew after their vessel was cut in two by a Japanese destroyer.

The two Solomon Islanders then rowed 60 kilometres through enemy-held waters to summon a rescue boat.

Mr Gasa died a few years ago.