Japanese forces landed in the Solomon Islands at Tulagi on the 2nd and 3rd May 1942. On the 4th May, aircraft from the USS Yorktown attacked the Japanese at Tulagi and surrounding area. During these raids the converted minesweeper, the Tama Maru, was sunk near Buena Vista Island. Buena Vista is at the western end of the Ngella Islands.
One evening in September 1943 this PBY Catalina was returning to the Tulagi area after recovering a downed airman, Lt Fred William Howard. On landing on Tulagi harbour just east of the point, the PBY came into contact with a small craft travelling between Tulagi and Gavutu Islands. The aircraft flipped over and started to sink. Fortunately, Lt Howard and the rest of the crew all escaped unharmed.
The 7th of April 1943 was a big day at Tulagi. The first ship to be lost was the RNZN Moa. The Moa was hit by three bombs just forward of the boiler which broke her keel. The Moa sank very quickly - surface to bottom in just 7 minutes.
USS Kanawha, like the USS Aaron Ward and RNZN Moa, was sunk on the 7th of April 1943. She stayed on station to complete refuelling duties and was at the exit of Tulagi harbour when the air raid struck. The Kanawha was hit in both the forward fuel hold and rear mechanical spaces.
During The Battle of Tassafaronga (30 November 1942) the heavy Cruiser Minneapolis was struck by two torpedoes forward of the number one mounts. The Minneapolis was towed back to Tulagi Harbour where the damaged bow section was removed and a temporary bow constructed so that she could be sailed back to Pearl Harbour and the Naval Yards for a complete repair.
The USS Aaron Ward was sunk on the 7th April 1943. She was called in to provide coverage for LST449 (Landing Ship Tank 449) from an in-coming Japanese air raid. The “Ward” was hit and suffered severe damage to the forward and aft boiler rooms and engine room spaces, just off Lunga Point near Henderson Field.