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Cram October 5, 1934
January 21, 1942
August 28, 1942
Australian Army c1943
Lat 7° 13' 16S Long 146° 39' 5E Bulolo Airfield is located at Bulolo in New Guinea. Today located in Morobe Province in Papua New Guinea (PNG).
Built in June 1930, originally the strip was 1,150 yards by 120 yards. Later it was expanded to 1,300 yards in length, surfaced with grass. This airstrip was used in conjunction with flying supplies, machinery and equipment from Lae Airfield to Bulolo Airfield to support gold dredging at Wau and Bulolo. Facilities included hangers and a crane for unloading cargo.
World War II Pacific Theatre History
On January 21, 1942 Japanese aircraft attacked Salamaua. Afterwards, a flight of five A6M2 Zeros from Shōkaku strafed the airfield destroying G 31ba "Pat" VH-URQ that had just landed with a cargo of beer, plus G 31 "Bulolo I Paul" VH-UOU and G 31 "Bulolo 2 Peter" VH-UOV also parked on the runway.
Japanese missions against Bulolo
January 21, 1942–February 5, 1942
During the middle of 1942, the runway was described as 1,200 (could be extended to 1,500 yards) x 100 x 2,200 yards surfaced with sod and gravel, natives available to fill bomb craters. Fair approaches, wind up and down drome, European houses and a doctor at Wau, food, water, can accommodate 2,000 men, Allied troops A. A. machine guns. Radio, phone line to Sunshine, Bulwa, Wau and Edi Creek.
At the height of the Battle of Wau on January 30, 1943, Australian New Guinea Force HQ requested that Bulwa Airfield and Bulolo Airfield were readied for emergency use, if Wau Airfield was damaged or captured.
On March 8, 1943 while landing, a C-47 Skytrain overshot the runway due to pilot error and was written off and scrapped.
Disused since the war, a service road runs over the old runway with a timber operation on the eastern side of the former runway. Postwar, a new runway was built outside Bulolo on the road towards Wau.
Keith Hopper adds:
"There is still Junkers wreckage there as of 1999 (some), the crane is still there, there is a large shed similar to the one in the picture still there (unsure if it's the same one), but the runway is now the main road and the new runway is out of town towards Wau. The metal electric poles (made from railway rails) along the strip had bullet holes in them from the staffing by Zeros. Bits of wreckage from the Junkers G 31s existed, but have since been scrapped, or only small pieces of the engines remained when I visited in the 1990s."
Justin Taylan adds:
"I visited Bulolo in 2003, the electric poles were there, but no traces of the airfield was readily visible."
Keith Hopper adds: "The wreckage remaining in 1999 was in a small over grown pile at the south eastern end of the old runway in a squatter camp. I was there looking for a P-39 wreck, that the local expats were surprised had been removed and scrapped without their being aware of it."
Notes about New Guinea airfields, recorded circa May - July, 1942 by Oliver C. Doan via Jean Doan research Edward Rogers
6th Troop Carrier Squadron Aircraft Losses and Major Accidents
"Date: March 8, 1943 Type: C-47 Location: Bulolo Cause: Pilot Error Disposition: Salvaged Remarks: Overshot Field via Edward Rogers
The New Guinea Volunteer Rifles NGVR 1939-1943 by Ian Down
The Battle For Wau (2008) page 2
Allied Air Transport Operations South West Pacific Area in WWII, Volume Two (2006) pages 9, 19 (Bulolo Airfield, January 1944), 57 (C-47 crash March 8, 1943), 58 (374th TCG use of Bulolo February 1943), 61 (Bulolo Airfield weather), 71 (March 8, 1943 crash C-47 41-38662 [sic] Bulolo, 145 (317th TCG airfields 1943-1944, 547 (index Bulolo)
Thanks to Keith Hopper,and Phil Bradley for additional information
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