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RAAF April 9, 1945
RAAF July 3, 1945
RNZAF Sept 18, 1945
RNZAF Oct 14, 1945
Cox October 1945
Lat 5° 36' 30" S Long 151° 31' 30" E Jacquinot Bay Airfield is located at an elevation of 136' above sea level on Palmalmal Plantation bordering Jacquinot Bay on the southern coast of New Britain. To the north is Manginuna. Also know as "Jacquinot Bay" or "Jacquinot Bay Drome" or "Jacquinot Bay Field". Prewar and during the Pacific War located in the Territory of New Guinea. Today located in East New Britain Province in Papua New Guinea (PNG).
During August 1944 the Jacquinot Bay area was liberated by the Australian Army 6th Brigade. At the prewar Palmalmal Plantation, 2/3 Railway Construction Company and the 17th Field Company RAE began construction of a single runway at this location oriented SSE to NNW. During February 1945, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) No. 1 Airfield Construction Squadron expanded the runway to 6,100' x 100' surfaced with crushed coral.
Jacquinot Bay Airfield was used by both the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) fighters and bombers.
In May 1945, the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) fighters and bombers. arrived including two squadrons of Corsairs and one of Ventures.
RAAF units based at Jacquinot Bay
79 Squadron briefly based before deploying June 1945 to Borneo
NEIAF fighter squadron briefly based until June 1945
RNZAF units based at Jacquinot Bay
21 Squadron (Corsair) Nissan May 18, 1945–July 2, 1945
20 Squadron (Corsair) Nissan May 20, 1945–August 1945
3 Squadron (Ventura) Nissan June 9, 1945–June 28, 1945
19 Squadron (Corsair) Los Negros mid July–October 1945
2 Squadron (Venturas) NZ end June–September 1945
3 Service Unit arrived aboard LST May 19, 1945
14 Service Unit arrived late May
30 Service Unit arrived mid July
By July 1945, Jacquinot Bay Airfield had limited facilities, weather services, fuel, oil and minor repair facilities. The runway was under RNZAF control equipped with ASV beacon navigation aids.
Japanese Aircraft Surrender
On September 6, 1945 the Japanese at Rabaul surrendered all remaining forces to Allies. As Allied forces occupied Rabaul, the Japanese requested permission to surrender their flyable aircraft to an Allied Air Force unit. Their request was granted and the planes were readied for the flight to Jacquinot Bay Airfield to surrender to Air Commodore Stanley Gilbert Quill, the highest Air Force officer in the vicinity.
On September 18, 1945 the first flight included Ki-46 Dinah 2783, A6M5 Zero 4043, A6M5 Zero 4444 and A6M5 Zero 3479 escorted by sixteen Allied fighters.
On October 14, 1945 the second flight included B5N2 Kate Tail 302 and E13A Jake 4326.
Still in use today as Jacquinot Bay Airport by regional airlines for service to West New Britain. Airport code: IATA: JAQ.
Dennis Peterson visited in 2003 with his father (WWII veteran):
"We flew over the airport at Jacquinot Bay, has a bitumen runway with a modern terminal built for the local MP but now doesn't get much traffic."
Aircraft Wrecks at Jacquinot Bay Airfield
List of aircraft wrecks that remain at Jacquinot Bay Airfield.
PBJ Mitchell Bureau Number 35075
Abandoned at the airfield
F4U Corsair NZ5262
Pilot Howlett crashed July 23, 1945
F4U Corsair NZ5418
Pilot Teschner crashed September 20, 1945
PV-1 Ventura Serial Number NZ4632
Ground looped on July 14, 1945 abandoned at the airfield
Aircraft Wrecks removed from Jacquinot Bay Airfield
During the 1970s, two Zero wrecks were salvaged. In July 2003 the Dinah and Kate were removed.
A6M5 Model 52 Zero 4043 Tail 3-108
Flown to surrender August 18, 1945, recovered during the 1970s Australia, today Weeks
A6M5 Model 52 Zero 4444
Flown to surrender August 18, 1945 recovered during the 1970s Australia, to Japan
During July 2003 the Kate and Dinah plus F4U Corsair parts were salvaged by '75 Squadron' and barged to Lae and containered for shipment to Melbourne, Australia. This was halted by the PNG Museum and a court battle ensued until 2005. In the end, both were indeed exported.
Ki-46-II Dinah 2783
On September 18, 1945 flown to Jacquinot Bay Airfield and surrendered removed July 2003
B5N2 Kate Tail 302
On October 14, 1945 flown to Jacquinot Bay Airfield and surrendered removed July 2003
Thanks to John Mairs veteran of 17th Field Company RAE for additional information
Pacific Aircraft Wrecks (1979) page 20 (photo, caption)
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