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    Kairiru Seaplane Base East Sepik Province Papua New Guinea (PNG)
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5th AF March 20, 1944

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Justin Taylan 2003

Kairiru Seaplane Base was located at St. John's Mission (Saint John's Mission, Barakam) to the east of the ship jetty on the southern coast of Kairiru Island in East Sepik Province in Papua New Guinea (PNG).
Seaplanes took off and landed in Kairiru Strait between Kairiru Island and Muschu Island and were moored off St. John's Mission.

Wartime History
Kairiru Seaplane Base was developed and used by the Japanese Navy as a forward seaplane base and operating area. The base had limited or minimal facilities, with seaplanes moored near the sandy shoreline. This base operated a detachment of F1M2 Pete seaplanes from the 958 Kokutai that performed convoy escort and anti-submarine patrols around the Wewak area and northwards to the Admiralty Islands.

Japanese units based at Kairiru Seaplane Base (St. John's Mission, Barakam)
958 Kokutai (detachment of F1M2 Petes)

American missions against Kairiru
April 10, 1943 - August 27, 1944

On March 21, 1944, the area was heavily bombed, destroying most of the buildings and area. Afterwards, any remaining seaplanes were withdrawn with a single seaplane transfered to Hollandia by April 1944.

The Naval Land Unit that Vanished in the Jungle by Tetsuo Watanabe mentions this seaplane base:
"The seaplanes had been engaged in spotting duties, mainly spotting submarines, but most were downed except one transferred to Hollandia in April 1944. Probably this plane was also destroyed when the Americans landed there."

Today, the land is owned by Catholic mission. In a small swamp are small pieces from several Pete seaplanes, including firewalls, and pieces of wreckage and two pontoons.

F1M2 Pete
Fuselage section abandoned on shore.

F1M2 Pete
Sunk offshore or shot down wreckage remains upside down

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Last Updated
April 7, 2020


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