Phil Bradley Locations Visited in PNG

I was in Papua New Guinea from October 1995 to August 1997.

An early trip, December 1995 was to Alexishaven and across the old cratered airfield to see the Helen at the other end, still on its wheels and reasonably intact- everytime I went back to Madang I would go back to see it, if only for the fun drive through the ten foot kunai grass.

I was fortunate in knowing a local guy in Madang who had a powerful low draft boat and spent one Christmas at his village down the coast near Saidor. Nearby we found an A-20 Boston and a B-25 Mitchell which had crashlanded on �Black Sunday.�

Aitape / Tadji
Another trip, in July 1996 found me up in the Aitape / Tadji region where there is a B-25 Mitchell still standing and remains at But and at Dagua nearer to Wewak.

Also I�ve been down to Popondetta where there are wrecks at Girua, Dobodura and in the jungle behind the beach at Gona. Also looked over the battlefields here.

Another trip was to Finschhafen mainly to look over the Sattleberg battlefield where we were shown many war relics and a Dakota hull at one of Jimmy�s �cousin�s� place.

Then there was my trip to the Solomons in 1997, when I saw more wrecks in a day on Ballalae than everywhere combined previously. Even coastal guns, gas tankers and steamrollers survive here, but facilities are non existent. It was a real modern day adventure, but fortunately I met the local government member on the way over who arranged a guide and a speed boat to pick me up and take me to his village on the main island for the night. I even got to go spearfishing that night, which made for a great breakfast.

At nearby Gizo I had another great experience of snorkelling over a wrecked Japanese freighter that had run aground after being bombed trying to �run the Slot�. If you can dive then you can actually enter the holds and see trucks, tanks, guns etc still lying down there. There are also some neat wrecks on Guadalcanal you can snorkel around- I just get these bad feelings about sharks coming up behind me all the time!

Shaggy Ridge
The place I kept going back to was Shaggy Ridge, where my father fought during the war. I went back to the area four times, and twice climbed this amazing knife edge ridge. Being unable to find much detail on the fighting there, I tracked down some vets who had been there and got the story from them. Some day soon I will do a book on it - the only battle I know of ever fought on a one man front.

Saidor - Photo Gallery

Ballalae - Photo Gallery

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