Aircraft Engine Overhaul Base - Noumea

Information about veterans of the Second World War in the Pacific, including friends and family.

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smhune
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Aircraft Engine Overhaul Base - Noumea

Post by smhune » Tue Nov 27, 2007 8:58 pm

My father was an Aviation Machinist Mate, First Class, assigned to the Aircraft Engine Overhaul Base in Noumea. He was stationed there for 16 months and was there over Christmas of 1943. He passed away in 2001. I wondered if anyone had pictures of the facilities that existed at that base then or if anyone had served there that might have some recollections of the facilities. My father often talked about that at the end of the war they took the aircraft engines that they had repaired and used dozers to shove them off the end of the island. It was exciting to see the pictures of "Million Dollar Point" on this site. He also mentioned riding out a cyclone or hurricane during his stay there and the exceptional snorkling out on the coral reefs. Any info would be greatly appreciated. My father's name was Arthur W. Hune and he was from Marietta, Ohio.

Thank you!

Steven M. Hune
shune@att.net
Steve Hune of Marietta, Ohio

smhune
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Re: Aircraft Engine Overhaul Base - Noumea

Post by smhune » Mon Mar 03, 2008 8:43 pm

I did finally find some reference to the aircraft engine overhaul base - see below

It had been intended originally that the Repair Depot at Santo should carry out complete overhauls of both airframes and engines, making the RNZAF in the forward area self-supporting as far as technical work was concerned. This policy was not fully implemented, as by August the Americans had established an Aircraft Engine Overhaul Base at lie Nou, New Caledonia, and the Aviation Repair and Overhaul Unit at Santo, and had offered their facilities to the RNZAF. There was some opposition from the RNZAF to allowing overhaul work to be done in the American workshops, as it was considered by a number of officers that it would be better to have all work on New Zealand aircraft done by New Zealanders. However, in view of the American offer the RNZAF Repair Depot was organised to do complete overhauls and repairs only to airframes. Deciding factors were the accelerated supplies of new aircraft arriving in New Zealand in the latter part of 1943 and the need to divert a number of technical men to assemble them. Had the Repair Depot been fully manned to cope with both engines and airframes, the assembly of aircraft arriving in New Zealand would have been delayed and it would have taken longer to have them ready for operations.
Steve Hune of Marietta, Ohio

smhune
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Posts: 7
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Re: Aircraft Engine Overhaul Base - Noumea

Post by smhune » Wed Mar 05, 2008 8:37 pm

I found a history of the construction of the naval facilities in the Pacific. The link is http://ftp1.us.proftpd.org/hyperwar//US ... es-24.html.

It inlcudes several pictures of the facilities at the time on Noumea, New Caledonia. Still no pictures though of the engine repair facility there. I'm still searching.
Steve Hune of Marietta, Ohio

smhune
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Re: Aircraft Engine Overhaul Base - Noumea

Post by smhune » Wed Mar 05, 2008 8:48 pm

I found the references below to facilities constructed by by Navy Seabees in Noumea. It references the aircraft engine overhaul unit being moved from Noumea. This was after my Dad came back to the base in San Diego.

"The RAAF had a modest seaplane base at Ile Nou which was taken over by the U.S. navy to provide fueling and re-arming services for patrol planes and quarters for their personnel. The U.S. Army undertook the construction of a seaplane ramp and apron capable of taking three patrol aircraft. Army personnel completed the excavation and grading, and the paving was laid by the Seabees. By early 1943, the Seabees had constructed 71 pre-fabricated New Zealand-type huts, 180 Dallas huts, seven 40-by-100-foot warehouses, seven quonset hut hangars, and a floating pontoon pier."

"Because of the continued, and even increased, use of New Caledonia as a staging and rehabilitation area and the island's position on the line of support to the forward areas in the Pacific, roll-up at Noumea did not get under way until late in 1944. The only activities moved from Noumea were those whose mission could no longer be accomplished in the rear areas, such as the pontoon assembly plant, the aircraft engine overhaul unit, a portion of the advance base construction depot, and a few minor facilities."
Steve Hune of Marietta, Ohio

smhune
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Re: Aircraft Engine Overhaul Base - Noumea

Post by smhune » Wed Mar 05, 2008 9:37 pm

I found it!
http://members.tripod.com/okaw/caledonia.html

Pictures of the aircraft engine overhaul base! - actually on the Ile Nou - the island in the harbor at Noumea. I would imagine the buildings labled in the picture as the ship repair facility included the aircraft repair shop. See the notes below

"During the first half of 1943, the construction at Noumea grew rapidly. Facilities at Ile Nou were increased to include an amphibious boat pool, a ship repair unit, NATS facilities, a pontoon assembly depot, an aircraft engine overhaul base, a tank farm for aviation gasoline storage, a section base, and an anti-aircraft school."

This was where my Dad worked while stationed there.
Steve Hune of Marietta, Ohio

smhune
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Re: Aircraft Engine Overhaul Base - Noumea

Post by smhune » Tue Feb 25, 2014 8:55 pm

Due to the lack of a sufficient pool of spare engines in the South Pacific to permit rotation of engines for overhaul, an aircraft engine overhaul base was set up on Ile Nou, with a capacity of 100 engines per month. This project was started in February 1943, by Company C of the 37th Battalions, which arrived at Noumea in May and June, respectively. Facilities erected included a water-bound macadam apron and a 4500-square-foot concrete ramp, numerous steel warehouses, engine test stands, shop buildings, quonset huts for quarters, and necessary utilities. The work was essentially complete by August 1943.
Steve Hune of Marietta, Ohio

smhune
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Re: Aircraft Engine Overhaul Base - Noumea

Post by smhune » Sat Jan 03, 2015 12:41 pm

Found a video of troop training on New Caledonia. Shows some of the interior of the island and a parade thru the streets which shows some of the structures in place at the time.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MBFOaKx5Fz0
Steve Hune of Marietta, Ohio

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