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    Aiyura Airfield (Aijura) Eastern Highlands Province Papua New Guinea (PNG)
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Doan May 1942

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David Carne c1958

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Sinclair 1971

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Knieriemen 1982

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Chris Bowers 2006

Location
Lat 6° 20.51S Long 145° 54.26E  Located at Aiyura at an elevation of 5,100' . This small runway runs down a hill at a 2°  slope towards a creek. There is hill on the other side of the strip. Also known as "Aijura Airfield".

Construction
Built prewar by Australians. By early 1942, the airfield was a single runway 800' x 100' x 5,400' with poor approaches (hills and trees at both ends with a hard dry surface, can be lengthened to 1800 yards. Facilities include radio, food and water. W.O. Brechin, automobile gas 300 gallons.

World War II Pacific Theatre History
At the start of the war, a 1925 Spartan biplane was abandoned at Aiyary.

On May 16, 1942 B-25C Mitchell 41-12478 piloted by Lt. Feltham crash landed at the airfield. While waiting for rescue, the crew pent the next couple of weeks resting and exploring the valley while waiting on a rescue. While waiting, the crew repaired an abandoned 1925 Spartan biplane and made a successful test flight at the airfield.

On May 20, 1942 an A-24 Dive bomber piloted by Captain Rogers, C.O., 8th Bomb Squadron spotted the crashed B-25 from the air while flying over Aiyura. He landed and spoke with Feltham then continued to Wau. When he returned to Port Moresby, he ordered three crews to rescue the B-25 crew.

On May 24, 1942, three A-24 Dive Bombers attempted to rescue the crew, but two crashed on landing. On May 25, 1942 the surviving A-24 Dive Bomber 41-15822 crashed on take off, killing pilot Holcombe and injuring passenger Rogers.

On June 18, 1942 Jerry Pendleton landed at Aiyura Airfield in a DH Dragon and flew Rogers out on June 18. That same day Feltham attempted to fly the Spartan to Bena Bena Airfield but crashed towards dusk, suffering two broken legs. He was found trapped in the wreckage by members of his crew and several Australians. They splinted Feltham's legs and made a litter to carry him to Bena Bena. From there Pendleton flew Feltham out and, over the next few weeks, Feltham's crew and Lt. Doan. Doan returned to Charters Towers on July 15th.

B-25C Mitchell Serial Number 41-12478
Pilot Feltham force landed May 16, 1942

A-24 Dive Bomber Serial Number 41-15822
Pilot Holcombe crashed on take off on May 25, 1942

Postwar
Used postwar, the wreckage of the B-25 and A-24 remained at the airfield until the early 1960s.

Peter Schindler adds:
"As children in the 1950s my brother and I spent hours playing in the bodies of the B-25 and two of the A-24s, often pretending we were on missions to bomb enemy targets. It was a joy to read of the history of the these memorable old aircraft. I know they [the wrecks] were were demolished eventually because they were regarded as dangerous, especially to the kids that played in them!"

David Carne adds:
"I certainly remember having a great time with my mates, playing on the aircraft wrecks at the end of Aiyura Airstrip in the late 50's.  The wrecks were demolished in the early 60s and the parts used around the station for all sorts of practical things. The "bello" that was heard several times a day all over Aiyura was the armour off the back of the pilot's seat. The wings were cut off to be used as bridges. The engine mounts were used to mount the hand operated coffee hulling machines and the bomb winch was used to string up the cattle after they were slaughtered to bleed them. The pulleys and cables were even used for our billy carts!  I have a photo of the wrecks taken by my father (Ron Carne) around 1958-9."

Today
Still in use today as Aiyura Airfield. Airport code: AYU. The single runway is 1,280m in length with a slope of 2°orientated 14/32 with a right hand circuit.

John Douglas adds:
"I went to the Aiyura Airstrip in 2002. No wrecks. No one who I could find had any WWII stories."

Peter Schindler recalls:
"My father fought at Milne Bay with the 25th Battalion and afterwards worked at Aiyura as chief agronomist. As children in the 1950s my brother and I spent hours playing in the bodies of the B-25 and two of the A-24s often pretending we were on missions to bomb enemy targets. It was a joy to read of the history of the these memorable old aircraft."

References
Notes about New Guinea airfields, recorded circa May - July, 1942 by Oliver C. Doan via Jean Doan research Edward Rogers
Adventist Aviation Services PNG, Way point Database, April 3 2010, page 1

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Last Updated
February 4, 2018

 

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