John Douglas   October 2004 Wreck Diary

The hunting for wrecks has for the moment, taken a back seat to economic survival and I have had the proverbial nose to the grindstone. I remain hopeful of a financial turn around shortly; to recommence field works as I have several tales of wrecks to follow up on.

I hope today to pick up photos of aircraft wreckage on Dumpu Station (to the west of Gusap) where there were a couple of strips in use for a few months in 1944; and also from Shaggy Ridge where the Australians lost two Boomerangs. One of these I am told, is still fairly complete.

My friends in the Murik Lakes have located which appears to be a P47 single radial engine with a four bladed prop, and another aircraft nearby. We earlier (re) located an Australian Beaufort that was first reported immediately post war. The Japanese had their equivalent of an emergency landing strip in this area as well.

Justin Taylan visited me for a month recently, and we went to Wewak for some diving work (he’s a great videographer, folks) and we dived a few shipwrecks (and plane wrecks). I tried to show him a new wreck every day for a week (and succeeded). I expect to start work soon on a prospective mine between Salamaua and South Morobe Harbour, where there are a considerable number of planes lost. I have some good leads to follow up on. Dive operators in Milne Bay recently located a mint perfect P-38F that apparently was lost from the 17 Provisional Pursuit Squadron (I’d never heard of that unit) in November 1942.

Justin and I also visited the coastal gun battery emplacement around Port Moresby and a short story should appear soon on his website.


Em Tasol
John Douglas

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