Solomons declare Bloody Ridge a national park

11:05 am on 9 August 2017

The Solomon Islands government has declared the site of one of the most brutal battles of World War Two a national park.

Bloody Ridge near Honiara

Bloody Ridge near Honiara Photo: Supplied/ Terry Allen

Bloody Ridge, or Edson's Ridge, near Honiara was fought over by Japanese and American troops during the Battle of Guadalcanal, which claimed nearly 40,000 lives.

This week Solomon Islands has been marking the 75th anniversary of the battle and as part of the commemorations the Solomons Prime Minister Manasseh Sogovare has unveiled a monument to the pivotal battle.

Bloody Ridge's new status has been described as "a testament to peace, unity and friendship".

Ambassadors and military representatives of the US, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and the UK attended the ceremony.

A US Marines sergeant major, Tom Sowers, said that for the marines, a visit to Bloody Ridge is "a pilgrimage".

The Japanese Ambassador, Kenichi Kimiya, said he was haunted by "the acute sense of sorrow" that hangs over the ridge.

The Japanese government also announced an initiative to upgrade facilities at Honiara International Airport.

Also known as Henderson Field, the runway was built by the Japanese during the war in order to stage bombing raids on nearby Allied targets, including Australia.

Mr Sogavare said he hopes that all future anniversaries will be commemorated at the site.

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