The Build Up
The islands of Espiritu Santo and Efate became strategically important for the Allied war effort following the commencement of the Pacific War in December 1941. In early 1942, the Japanese had already reached the Solomon Islands and New Guinea, prior to an intended push on Australia and possibly New Zealand. Given the strategic importance of the New Hebrides, the population feared that it would only be a matter of time before the Japanese invaded their island paradise as well. Thankfully the Americans had other ideas and in a surprise move, sailed into Second Channel in May 1942.