Vivigani Airfield is located at Vivigani on the northeastern corner of Goodenough Island.
Prewar, a small airstrip was reportedly built at this location. Another airstrip was located at Wataluma Mission. Neither location was used by the Japanese.
When the Australian 2/12th Battalion reached Vivigani on October 27, 1942 an accompanying US Army airfield engineer made a report saying that the airstrip one mile NW of the mission could be prepared for emergency use by clearing rocks and vegetation, and advising 'Permanent strip 6,000 feet long can be constructed.'
RAAF No 7 Mobile Works squadron expanded Vivigani Airfield. During April 1943 an emergency strip was constructed and a road was also built from the docks to the airfield. During June to September 1943, the airfield was expanded and improved. When completed, it had two parallel runways measuring 6,600' x 150' plus taxiways and a revetment area.
World War II Pacific Theatre History
Days into the initial construction, on October 31, 1942 an RAAF Anson low on fuel, made an emergency landing at Vivigani. Fuel was shipped in and the plane departed on November 9. just missing the mangrove swamp at the end of the runway on take off.
On May 17, 1943 Vivigani Airfield was first used by six Beauforts from 100 Squadron, staging out of Gurney Field for a bombing mission against Gasmata. Afterwards, used by both American and Australian liaison, fighter and bomber aircraft.
based at Vivigani
108 Communication Unit (PBYs)
22 Squadron (Bostons)
79 Squadron (Spitfire) Laverton June 2 - August 18, 1943 Kiriwina
6 Squadron (Beaufort) ? - Dobodura 1944(?)
based at Vivigani
1st Marine Div (12 L-4s) Air Liaison Dec 43 Cape
Marine Liaison Aviation
In mid-1943, 1st Marine Division General Rupertus assigned
1st Lt. R. F. Murry to organize liaison planes to support
the Marines. The army provided a dozen Piper Cubs, 3 were
used for parts. The remaining nine trained on the island
in artillery spotting, radio communication and snagging messages
from between two poles, and dropping supplies. They deployed
on LSTs to the landing at Cape
Still in use today as an airfield. Many
Australian and American aircraft wrecks existed
here until the middle 1970's when most airframes were recovered
by MARC (formally
Yesterday's Air Force), and contemporary efforts of HARS to
remove a container worth of parts from the island. The
runway is still in use to this day for weekly flights only.
Photo by Charles Page, 2004
"The 6,000 feet
bitumen runway is still in use, and only slightly weed strewn.
The many aircraft revetments are clearly visible, especially
from the air. Various aircraft components can still be found
scattered around. Towards the mountains, a fast running creek
gushes over a waterfall and into a rock pool, which was used
by the WWII crews for recreation and washing.
The locals drove
me out to Vivigani airfield to await the Airlines PNG Twin
Otter. This weekly flight is invariably delayed due to
weather or serviceability, and this day the plane was
four hours late. The airfield has virtually no facilities,
and the time was spent further exploring the area. Then
with no warning, the Twin Otter swept in low from the
north and we were soon on our way to Alotau."
Thanks to Phil Bradley, Jim Long, Daniel Leahy, John Douglas for additional information.
Spitfire Mark Vc Serial
to Australia in 1974, restored to static display
Cockpit and center
section recovered from Vivigani in 1974
DB-7B "J is for Jessica" Serial
by the RAAF, displayed at RAAF Point Cook
in the 1990s to Australia
Beaufighter Mark VI
Do you have photos or additional information to add?
December 30, 2013