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April 23, 1931
Guinea Airways 1931
RAAF February 6, 1942
AWM August 8, 1943
AWM February 25, 1944
RAAF October 25, 1960
Justin Taylan 2003
Wau Airfield is located at Wau in Morobe Province in Papua New Guinea (PNG).
During 1927, a single runway was built by Australian Cecil Levien with the assistance of native labors at this location. The runway required aircraft to land uphill at a 5% - 10% grade. On April 19, 1927 Lt. Ernest 'Pard' Mustar landed a De Havilland DH-37 owned by Guinea Gold took off from Lae Airfield and made the first landing at Wau Airfield.
Wau Airfield was used by a variety of de Havilland, Ford and Junkers aircraft that transported personnel and cargo primarily for gold mining in the area.
On August 3, 1940 DH.60M "Eros" VH-UQY ran off the runway during take off and crashed into the during take off and crashed into the government store building, wrecking it and the aircraft. Afterwards, the wreckage of this aircraft was stored at Wau Airfield and was destroyed during the first air raid.
World War II Pacific Theatre History
In early March 1942 Australian Army Captain Allan Cameron and his men withdraw from Salamua Airfield via Wau and noted Wau was "a terrible mess after bombing, water on drome, town completely deserted" then walked the Bulldog Track to the south coast.
By the middle of 1942 the airstrip was 1,500 x 100 x 4,000 yards, land uphill, 5-10% grade. Surfaced with sod, dry, smooth, hard, poorly temporary barricade. Good approach (ENE x WSW), Allied troops, well equipped hospital (doctor) food & water, some servicing (80-90 octane).
On January 23, 1942 Japanese aircraft attacked Wau Airfield. In early January 1943 the Japanese sent 3,000 troops from Salamaua and Mubo along a winding jungle tracks to seize the Wau Airfield from the Australians. This final Japanese offensive in New Guinea was stopped by the Australians but they did not have the strength to go on the offensive.
Victorian 17th Brigade (2/5th, 2/6th and 2/7th Battalions)
were flown to Wau Airstrip, which became the headquarters
of the "Kanga Force", completely dependent on air supply and reinforcement. At the height of
crisis on January 30, 1943, Japanese fire was reaching the airfield.
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