John Douglas   April 2002 Wreck News Update


Oro Province Work in Progress
I'm also begining to up the tempo in Oro Province,following up on about 6-8 reports of wrecks,including a couple in freshwater ponds.Another report concerns a recently located wreck where the villagers have salvaged 7 pistols and 2 MGs.last year I got a report of dogtag details of a MIA B-24 gunner in the same area; so I'm keen to visit.It will take a two day boat trip however and funds are short I'll send some photos soon.

Wewak Area Discoveries
AA Position over Boram
Aerial MG

Artillery Trailer

Bomb Trolly
 
(l to r) AA Gun over Boram, Aerial MG, Artillery trailer and bomb trolley

Just had a brief visit to Wewak, which I always enjoy. Iin the afternoon visiting villages on the edge of town.Located a JAAF bomb trolley in good condition ,several Japanese dogtags, apparently from Japanese AA positions near Boram Airfield, several Japanese rifles, light and heavy Machine Guns etc. Also saw four sets of human remains [probably Japanese,but one at least was as tall as me,and a mess kit , while in a Japanese tin, contained a Knife and fork.

But Relics
Oscar Engine
MG

Relics

 
(l to r) Ki 43 Oscar Engine, Japanese Heavy MG, collection of relics in village

Sunday I went out past But Airstrip to look at a wrecked Oscar on the forest floor. Engine OK,centre section and tail gone,but a wing and a half and the body section were there,although bent and torn.The trip out was a good exercise in 4-wheel driving.We went down a track closed over the wet season, forded several rivers and crossed a swamp,pushed and shoved on several occassions, but got through. Went back a better way.

Japanese MIA Remains
Bones
Dog Tags

The dog tag translates to
1 9 3 1 (serial number)
"Moto"
"Ban"
1 9

(l to r) Japanese bones and dog tags

About Japanese Dog Tags...
Thanks to Henry Sakaida for this information.
Japanese dogtags usually did not have the wearer's full name...the two kanjis ("moto" and "ban") could possibly be a surname, but I will have to look in my Japanese surname dictionary to see if there is such a combination. "Ban" can also mean #, and "moto" by itself, I have no idea. You will never be able to identify the owner of the dogtag through the serial numbers, and especially if it came out of New Guinea. Entire units were wiped out and all records lost. The soldiers were cut off from supplies and fled into the jungles where they died of starvation. Some resorted to cannabalism. Veteran foot soldiers from New Guinea were very very rare.

Em Tasol
  John Douglas

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