John Douglas February 2004 Wreck Diary
Its been a while since I last sent you a report. I have forwarded a separate report on my trip to Hansa Bay, which was a week long visit, and for me a major holiday. I won't dwell on it any further in this report. I've got a new wreck tec working out of Madang, and will report further on his activities next time. In early December I was able to visit the B-17 "Swamp Ghost" at last This was my 5th attempt. That story, I guess will shortly appear on these pages as well.
Rediscovery of Ki-43 Oscar
I spent some time at Wewak recently; and included some diving in my spare time. I'm liasing with local villagers who report their finds to me for follow up. We dived in shallow water in the inner harbour and located a A6M2 Zero in 8metres.
This plane was intact [except for the rear fuselage] and reasonably uncorroded. The viz was poor and the photos we took were practically useless [so I have nothing to show you. Interestingly the local diving community did not know of this wreck, although a couple of locals did.
Underwater P-40 Discovery
Earlier last year I located a P-40 in similar conditions near
Brandi. [a suburb of Wewak] The P40 was much more corroded, and probably contains human remains.
We also located a Wirraway in the same general area. According to the villagers,the pilot survived but the gunner is still buried at the site. I understand that Australian records show that the Gunners remains were recovered shortly after the War. The plane has not been fully IDed yet so some small mystery remains with this wreck as well.
Possible Zero Wreckage
As a follow up to the A6M2 Zero Justin Taylan located near the Kokoda Trail; the local people to photograph a second wreck they reported. This wreck is about 30Km east of the first wreck, and is another Zero. this has got the local Zero enthusiasts in a big tiz, trying to identify the likely ID of the pilot. Unfortunately the photos are mostly poor quality, so a follow up visit will be needed. Its so remote that its a 5 day round trip from the nearest village, even for locals.
John Douglas writes WWII wreck related new briefs for Pacific Wreck Database from his home in Port Moresby. Learn how to help Douglas' efforts and Wreck 'Tec network, donate your old 35mm camera, video equipment or financial help - support this effort!
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