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
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
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
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!
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