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    Waigani Swamp (Gavagabada) National Capital District (NCD) Papua New Guinea (PNG)

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John Loughman 1969

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Bruce Hoy June 15, 1970

The Waigani Swamp is a large freshwater swamp. To the north is 17 Mile Drome (Durand), to the west is Gerehu and south is Port Moresby. Known in the Motu language as "Gavagabada" meaning big swamp.

Wartime History
During 1942 - 1943 Waigani Swamp was located near several airfields including 17 Mile Drome, 14 Mile Drome and 12 Mile Drome. Pilots feared crashing landing into the swamp because the location was remote and the area full of crocodiles. During the war, several aircraft crashed in and around the swamp.

Alex Miller-Randle, RAAF recalled:
"Just south and southwest of Schwimmer and Durand strips was a very large swamp called Waigani Swamp, with tall swamp grass bushes and lots of water, mosquitoes and all the other nasties that New Guinea swamps contained."

P-47D "Carter's Li'l Pill" Serial Number 42-8066
Pilot Harding force landed October 1, 1943 salvaged 1965

F-5A Lightning Serial Number 42-13084
Pilot Leonhardt force landed 1943 salvaged 1979 to PNG Museum

L-5 Sentinel Serial Number ?
Pilot Mueller with observer Leonhardt crashed December 17, 1943

Lightning Force Lands in Waigani Swamp by Alex Miller-Randle, RAAF
The Eight Ballers Eyes of the Fifth Air Force: The 8th Photo Reconnaissance Squadron in World War II page 97-98
"17 December 1943 - Friday
"...Lt. Klages took off for Madang and Saidor area loaded with color film, but the wrong filter. Lucky enough for Camera Repair that the weather was bad, and the film wasn't wasted because of the filter. On the way back, Klages flew low over the wrecked P-47 [42-8066] he and others had spent two days and nights getting to. A few hundred yards from the P-47, he noticed the tail of a L-5 sticking up out of the swamp [L-5 piloted by Mueller]."

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Last Updated
May 22, 2017


Map 1970
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