Savo Island

Savo Island is an island in Solomon Islands in the southwest South Pacific ocean. Administratively, Savo Island is a part of the Central Province of the Solomon Islands. It is about 35 km from the capital Honiara. The principal village is Alialia, in the north of the island.[1] The indigenous language of Savo is the Savosavo language, an East Papuan language. The waters surrounding the island were the site of five of the seven major naval battles during the Battle of Guadalcanal in the Pacific War. As a result of these battles southeast of the island are many shipwrecks, the bay is known as Ironbottom Sound. The wrecks near the coast are very popular with wreck divers.

Savo Island (Landsat)
Landsat view of Savo island
Solomon Islands - Savo
LocationPacific Ocean
Coordinates9°8′0″S 159°49′0″E / 9.13333°S 159.81667°ECoordinates: 9°8′0″S 159°49′0″E / 9.13333°S 159.81667°E
ArchipelagoSolomon Islands
Total islands1
Area31 km2 (12 sq mi)
Length7.2 km (4.47 mi)
Width6 km (3.7 mi)
Highest elevation485 m (1,591 ft)
Highest pointMount Savo
Solomon Islands
provinceCentral Province
Largest settlementAlialia
Population3137 (2009-11-23)
Savo 1958 topo map nla.obj-540256336 (cropped)
Topographic map of Savo Island (1968), with heights in feet


Savo is approximately circular, meaning approximately 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) by 7 kilometres (4.3 mi). It is located 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) northeast of Cape Esperance, the northern tip of Guadalcanal. The highest elevation is a 485 metres (1,591 ft) stratovolcano, which last erupted between 1835 and 1847.[2] The eruption was so strong that it wiped out all life on the island. An older eruption occurred in 1568. According to the World Organization of Volcanic Observatories (WOVO), the volcano is active every 100 to 300 years. On the island are geysers, hot mud lakes and hot springs. [3]

The "egg fields"

Savo Island is known for the "egg fields" of the megapode, a bird which lays its eggs here and buries them in the warm sand to incubate. The eggs are excavated by local people and are considered a local food specialty. The eggs are slightly larger than a duck egg and are used for preparing omelettes and other dishes.[4]


European discovery and exploration

The first recorded sighting of Savo Island by European explorers was by the Spanish expedition of Álvaro de Mendaña in April 1568. More precisely the sighting was due to a local exploration voyage done by a small boat, in the accounts the brigantine, commanded by Maestre de Campo Pedro de Ortega Valencia and having Hernán Gallego as pilot. They charted the volcanic island as Sesarga. Considering the expedition leaders Mendaña and cosmographer Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa were both from Galicia in Spain it was probably so named after the island of the same name in this region.[5][6]

On March 15, 1893 Savo Island was declared part of the British Solomon Islands protectorate. The island was occupied by the Empire of Japan in the early stages of the Pacific War.

Savo Island in World War II

Because of its proximity to Guadalcanal Island and the hotly contested nature of the battles for control of the Solomon Islands, Savo Island figured in many of the naval engagements of the Solomon Islands campaign. It is most well known as the location of several naval battles fought in the adjacent "Ironbottom Sound" during World War II, between the Allied naval forces and the Imperial Japanese Navy.

Sinking HMAS Canberra (D33) with US destroyers on 9 August 1942
Destroyers removing crew from HMAS Canberra after the Battle of Savo Island, 9 August 1942. USS Blue is alongside Canberra's port bow, as USS Patterson approaches from astern.

List of World War II naval battles fought in the vicinity of Savo Island:

Since 1978, the island has been part of the independent state of the Solomon Islands.

See also


  1. ^ David Harcombe: Solomon Islands. a travel survival kit. Lonely Planet, 1988, S. 104: Alialia ... is the island's main centre.
  2. ^ "Savo". Global Volcanism Program. Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 26 February 2010.
  3. ^ "Volcanoes of the Solomon Islands". Retrieved 24 October 2012.
  4. ^ Theroux, Paul (1992). The happy isles of Oceania. USA: Ballantine Books. pp. Chapter 9, "The Solomons: in the egg fields of Savo island", pag. 164–185. ISBN 0-449-90858-5.
  5. ^ Sharp, Andrew The discovery of the Pacific Islands Oxford, 1960, pp.44,45.
  6. ^ Brand, Donald D. The Pacific Basin: A History of its Geographical Explorations The American Geographical Society, New York, 1967, p.133.
Battle of Cape Esperance

The Battle of Cape Esperance, also known as the Second Battle of Savo Island and, in Japanese sources, as the Sea Battle of Savo Island (サボ島沖海戦), took place on 11–12 October 1942, in the Pacific campaign of World War II between the Imperial Japanese Navy and United States Navy. The naval battle was the second of four major surface engagements during the Guadalcanal campaign and took place at the entrance to the strait between Savo Island and Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands. Cape Esperance (9°15′S 159°42′E) is the northernmost point on Guadalcanal, and the battle took its name from this point.

On the night of 11 October, Japanese naval forces in the Solomon Islands area—under the command of Vice Admiral Gunichi Mikawa—sent a major supply and reinforcement convoy to their forces on Guadalcanal. The convoy consisted of two seaplane tenders and six destroyers and was commanded by Rear Admiral Takatsugu Jojima. At the same time, but in a separate operation, three heavy cruisers and two destroyers—under the command of Rear Admiral Aritomo Gotō—were to bombard the Allied airfield on Guadalcanal (called Henderson Field by the Allies) with the object of destroying Allied aircraft and the airfield's facilities.

Shortly before midnight on 11 October, a U.S. force of four cruisers and five destroyers—under the command of Rear Admiral Norman Scott—intercepted Gotō's force as it approached Savo Island near Guadalcanal. Taking the Japanese by surprise, Scott's warships sank one of Gotō's cruisers and one of his destroyers, heavily damaged another cruiser, mortally wounded Gotō, and forced the rest of Gotō's warships to abandon the bombardment mission and retreat. During the exchange of gunfire, one of Scott's destroyers was sunk and one cruiser and another destroyer were heavily damaged. In the meantime, the Japanese supply convoy successfully completed unloading at Guadalcanal and began its return journey without being discovered by Scott's force. Later on the morning of 12 October, four Japanese destroyers from the supply convoy turned back to assist Gotō's retreating, damaged warships. Air attacks by U.S. aircraft from Henderson Field sank two of these destroyers later that day.

As with the preceding naval engagements around Guadalcanal, the strategic outcome was inconclusive because neither the Japanese nor United States navies secured operational control of the waters around Guadalcanal as a result of this action. However, the Battle of Cape Esperance provided a significant morale boost to the U.S. Navy after the failure at Savo Island.

Battle of Savo Island

The Battle of Savo Island, also known as the First Battle of Savo Island and, in Japanese sources, as the First Battle of the Solomon Sea (第一次ソロモン海戦, Dai-ichi-ji Soromon Kaisen), and colloquially among Allied Guadalcanal veterans as The Battle of the Five Sitting Ducks, was a naval battle of the Pacific Campaign of World War II between the Imperial Japanese Navy and Allied naval forces. The battle took place on August 8–9, 1942, and was the first major naval engagement of the Guadalcanal campaign, and the first of several naval battles in the straits later named Ironbottom Sound, near the island of Guadalcanal.

The Imperial Japanese Navy, in response to Allied amphibious landings in the eastern Solomon Islands, mobilized a task force of seven cruisers and one destroyer under the command of Vice Admiral Gunichi Mikawa. The task forces sailed from Japanese bases in New Britain and New Ireland down New Georgia Sound (also known as "the Slot"), with the intention of interrupting the Allied landings by attacking the supporting amphibious fleet and its screening force. The Allied screen consisted of eight cruisers and fifteen destroyers under British Rear Admiral Victor Crutchley VC, but only five cruisers and seven destroyers were involved in the battle. In a night action, Mikawa thoroughly surprised and routed the Allied force, sinking one Australian and three American cruisers, while suffering only light damage in return. The battle has often been cited as the worst defeat in a fair fight in the history of the United States Navy.After the initial engagement, Mikawa, fearing Allied carrier strikes against his fleet upon daybreak, decided to withdraw under cover of night rather than attempt to locate and destroy the Allied invasion transports. The Japanese attacks prompted the remaining Allied warships and the amphibious force to withdraw earlier than planned (prior to the unloading of all supplies), temporarily ceding control of the seas around Guadalcanal to the Japanese. This early withdrawal of the fleet left the Allied ground forces (primarily United States Marines), which had landed on Guadalcanal and nearby islands only two days before, in a precarious situation, with limited supplies, equipment, and food to hold their beachhead.

Mikawa's decision to withdraw under cover of night rather than attempt to destroy the Allied invasion transports was primarily founded on the high risk of Allied carrier strikes against his fleet upon daybreak. In reality, the Allied carrier fleet, similarly fearing Japanese attack, had already withdrawn beyond operational range. This missed opportunity to cripple (rather than interrupt) the supply of Allied forces on Guadalcanal contributed to Japan's inability to later recapture the island. At this early critical stage of the campaign, it allowed the Allied forces to entrench and fortify themselves in sufficient strength to successfully defend the area around Henderson Field until additional Allied reinforcements arrived later in the year.The battle was the first of five costly, large-scale sea and air-sea actions fought in support of the ground battles on Guadalcanal itself, as the Japanese sought to counter the American offensive in the Pacific. These sea battles took place every few days, with increasing delays on each side to regroup and refit, until the November 30, 1942 Battle of Tassafaronga (sometimes referred to as the Fourth Battle of Savo Island or, in Japanese sources, as the Battle of Lunga Point (ルンガ沖夜戦)) —after which the Japanese, eschewing the costly losses, attempted resupplying by submarine and barges. The final naval battle, the Battle of Rennell Island (Japanese: レンネル島沖海戦), took place months later on January 29–30, 1943, by which time the Japanese were preparing to evacuate their remaining land forces and withdraw.

Berkeley Adult School

The Berkeley Adult School is administered by the Berkeley Unified School District. The school is located at 1701 San Pablo Avenue, between Virginia and Francisco Streets in Berkeley, California.

The Berkeley Adult School began in 1922 as the Berkeley Evening School and was located at Berkeley High School, with adjunct Evening Trade Schools located at Burbank Junior High and Edison Junior High. It was subsequently relocated at McKinley/East Campus by the 1960s, moving with East Campus to the former Savo Island federal housing site in 1971. The school was entirely relocated to West Campus, Berkeley High School (formerly Burbank Junior High) after that school was closed. In 2004, the school was again relocated to its current location at the former site of Franklin Elementary School, which is also the site of the first and oldest public school (established 1856) in Berkeley.

Central Province (Solomon Islands)

The Central Province is one of the provinces of Solomon Islands, covering the Russell Islands, Nggela Islands (Florida Islands) and Savo Island. Its area comprises 615 square kilometres (237 square miles) and had a population of 26,051 as of 2009. The provincial capital is Tulagi.

Central Solomon languages

The Central Solomon languages are the four Papuan languages spoken in the state of the Solomon Islands.

The four languages are, listed from northwest to southeast,

Bilua of Vella Lavella and Ghizo Islands,

Touo (also known as Baniata) of Rendova Island,

Lavukaleve of the Russell Islands, and

Savosavo of Savo Island.

Fourth Battle of Savo Island

Fourth Battle of Savo Island may refer to:

Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, a battle that took place November 12 – 15, 1942 during the Guadalcanal Campaign in the Pacific War of World War II.

Battle of Tassafaronga, a battle that took place November 30, 1942 during the Guadalcanal Campaign in the Pacific War of World War II.

HMAS Canberra (D33)

HMAS Canberra (I33/D33), named after the Australian capital city of Canberra, was a Royal Australian Navy (RAN) heavy cruiser of the Kent sub-class of County-class cruisers. Constructed in Scotland during the mid-1920s, the ship was commissioned in 1928, and spent the first part of her career primarily operating in Australian waters, with some deployments to the China Station.

At the start of World War II, Canberra was initially used for patrols and convoy escort around Australia. In July 1940, she was reassigned as a convoy escort between Western Australia, Sri Lanka, and South Africa. During this deployment, which ended in mid-1941, Canberra was involved in the hunt for several German auxiliary cruisers. The cruiser resumed operations in Australian waters, but when Japan entered the war, she was quickly reassigned to convoy duties around New Guinea, interspersed with operations in Malaysian and Javanese waters. Canberra later joined Task Force 44, and was involved in the Guadalcanal Campaign and the Tulagi landings.

On 9 August 1942, Canberra was struck by the opening Japanese shots of the Battle of Savo Island, and was quickly damaged. Unable to propel herself, the cruiser was evacuated and sunk in Ironbottom Sound by two American destroyers. The United States Navy Baltimore-class cruiser USS Canberra was named in honour of the Australian ship, and is the only American warship named for either a foreign warship or a foreign capital city.

Ironbottom Sound

"Ironbottom Sound" (alternatively Iron Bottom Sound or Ironbottomed Sound or Iron Bottom Bay) is the name given by Allied sailors to the stretch of water at the southern end of The Slot between Guadalcanal, Savo Island, and Florida Island of the Solomon Islands, because of the dozens of ships and planes that sank there during the Battle of Guadalcanal in 1942–43. Before the war, it was called Savo Sound. Every year on the battle's anniversary, a U.S. ship cruises into the waters and drops a wreath to commemorate the men who lost their lives. For many Navy sailors, and those who served in the area during that time, the waters in this area are considered sacred, and strict silence is observed as ships cruise through.

Japanese cruiser Kinugasa

Kinugasa (衣笠 重巡洋艦, Kinugasa jūjun'yōkan) was the second vessel in the two-vessel Aoba class of heavy cruisers in the Imperial Japanese Navy. The ship was named after Mount Kinugasa, located in Yokosuka, Kanagawa, Japan.

Naval Battle of Guadalcanal

The Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, sometimes referred to as the Third and Fourth Battles of Savo Island, the Battle of the Solomons, the Battle of Friday the 13th, or, in Japanese sources, the Third Battle of the Solomon Sea (第三次ソロモン海戦, Dai-san-ji Soromon Kaisen), took place from 12–15 November 1942, and was the decisive engagement in a series of naval battles between Allied (primarily American) and Imperial Japanese forces during the months-long Guadalcanal Campaign in the Solomon Islands during World War II. The action consisted of combined air and sea engagements over four days, most near Guadalcanal and all related to a Japanese effort to reinforce land forces on the island. The only two U.S. Navy admirals to be killed in a surface engagement in the war were lost in this battle.

Allied forces landed on Guadalcanal on 7 August 1942 and seized an airfield, later called Henderson Field, that was under construction by the Japanese military. There were several subsequent attempts to recapture the airfield by the Imperial Japanese Army and Navy using reinforcements delivered to Guadalcanal by ship, efforts which ultimately failed. In early November 1942, the Japanese organized a transport convoy to take 7,000 infantry troops and their equipment to Guadalcanal to attempt once again to retake the airfield. Several Japanese warship forces were assigned to bombard Henderson Field with the goal of destroying Allied aircraft that posed a threat to the convoy. Learning of the Japanese reinforcement effort, U.S. forces launched aircraft and warship attacks to defend Henderson Field and prevent the Japanese ground troops from reaching Guadalcanal.

In the resulting battle, both sides lost numerous warships in two extremely destructive surface engagements at night. Nevertheless, the U.S. succeeded in turning back attempts by the Japanese to bombard Henderson Field with battleships. Allied aircraft also sank most of the Japanese troop transports and prevented the majority of the Japanese troops and equipment from reaching Guadalcanal. Thus, the battle turned back Japan's last major attempt to dislodge Allied forces from Guadalcanal and nearby Tulagi, resulting in a strategic victory for the U.S. and its allies and deciding the ultimate outcome of the Guadalcanal campaign in their favor.

New Orleans-class cruiser

The New Orleans-class cruisers were a class of seven heavy cruisers built for the United States Navy (USN) in the 1930s. Originally called the Astoria-class cruiser, the class was renamed after Astoria was sunk and the surviving ships of the class underwent substantial reconstruction.

These ships participated in the heaviest surface battles of the Pacific War. Astoria, Quincy, and Vincennes were all sunk in the Battle of Savo Island, and three others were heavily damaged in subsequent battles in the Guadalcanal campaign.

Only Tuscaloosa, which spent most of the war in the Atlantic, got through the war without being damaged. Collectively, ships of the class earned 64 battle stars. The four surviving ships were laid up immediately after the end of the war, and sold for scrap in 1959.

USS Astoria (CA-34)

The second USS Astoria (CL/CA-34) was a New Orleans Class heavy cruiser of the United States Navy that participated in both the Battle of the Coral Sea and the Battle of Midway, but was then sunk in August 1942, at the Battle of Savo Island. Astoria was the first Astoria-class cruiser to be laid down but launched after and received a hull number higher than New Orleans, which the class was renamed for after Astoria sunk.

Immediately after the months-long Guadalcanal Campaign ended in February 1943, the remaining ships of the class would go through major overhauls to lessen top-heaviness due to new electrical and radar systems and advanced anti-aircraft weaponry. In doing so the ships took on a new appearance, most notably in the bridge.

USS Helm (DD-388)

USS Helm (DD-388) was a Bagley-class destroyer in the United States Navy during World War II. She was named for Rear Admiral James Meredith Helm. Helm received 11 battle stars for her World War II service in the Pacific.

USS Mack

USS Mack (DE-358) was a John C. Butler-class destroyer escort acquired by the U.S. Navy during World War II. The primary purpose of the destroyer escort was to escort and protect ships in convoy, in addition to other tasks as assigned, such as patrol or radar picket.

The ship was named in honor of Harold John Mack who was awarded the Navy Cross for his brave actions during the Battle of Savo Island. The warship was launched on 11 April 1944 by Consolidated Steel Corp., Shipbuilding Division at Orange, Texas, sponsored by Mrs. Gertrude Mack, mother of Harold John Mack, GM2/c. The destroyer escort was commissioned on 16 August 1944, Lt. Cmdr. J. F. Nelson, USNR, in command.

USS Quincy (CA-39)

USS Quincy (CA-39) was a United States Navy New Orleans-class cruiser, sunk at the Battle of Savo Island in 1942.

USS Ralph Talbot (DD-390)

USS Ralph Talbot (DD-390) was a Bagley-class destroyer in the United States Navy, named for USMC Second Lieutenant Ralph Talbot (1897–1918), who was awarded the Medal of Honor during World War I. Talbot served in the Pacific Theater during World War II, from the attack on Pearl Harbor through the battle of Okinawa, earning 14 battle stars for her service.

USS Savo Island

USS Savo Island (CVE-78), was a Casablanca-class escort carrier built for the United States Navy during World War II. Named in memory of a naval battle fought off Savo Island in the Solomons on 9 August 1942, she was the only U.S. Naval vessel to bear the name.

Originally designated Kaita Bay (AVG-78), she was reclassified ACV-78 on 20 August 1942 and CVE-78 on 15 July 1943; laid down under Maritime Commission contract (MC hull 1115) on 27 September 1943 by Kaiser Shipbuilding Co., Vancouver, Washington; renamed Savo Island on 6 November 1943; launched on 22 December 1943; sponsored by Miss Margaret Taffinder; and commissioned on 3 February 1944, Captain C. E. Eckstrom in command.

USS Vincennes (CA-44)

USS Vincennes (CA-44) was a United States Navy New Orleans-class cruiser, sunk at the Battle of Savo Island in 1942. She was the second ship to bear the name.

She was laid down on 2 January 1934 at Quincy, Massachusetts, by the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Company's Fore River plant, launched on 21 May 1936, sponsored by Miss Harriet Virginia Kimmell (daughter of Joseph Kimmell, mayor of Vincennes, Indiana), and commissioned on 24 February 1937, Captain Burton H. Green in command.The New Orleans-class cruisers were the last U.S. cruisers built to the specifications and standards of the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922. Such ships, with a limit of 10,000 tons standard displacement and 8-inch caliber main guns may be referred to as "treaty cruisers." Originally classified a light cruiser when she was authorized, because of her thin armor, Vincennes was reclassified a heavy cruiser, because of her 8-inch guns. The term "heavy cruiser" was not defined until the London Naval Treaty in 1930. This ship and Quincy were a slightly improved version of the New Orleans-class design.

Solomon Islands Islands of Solomon Islands by province
Rennell and Bellona


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