Papua New Guinea Wreck Detective
|In memory: John Douglas passed away June 9, 2023.
John Vincent Douglas was born April 27, 1947 in New Zealand. His grandfather served in World War I and his father in World War II. Both family members began his interest in military history. He attended Massey University and earned a Bachelors Degree in Agricultural Science class of 1970.
In New Zealand, he worked in soil conservation in New Zealand then became the manager of Taranaki Regional Environmental and Conservation Agency.
In 1978, he was awarded a Winston Churchill Scholarship to study internationally the environmental impacts of the oil & gas industry.
In 1989, hired by the Papua New Guinea (PNG) Department of Environment & Conservation and moved to Port Moresby. In 1999, he founded Douglas Environmental Services (DES) as the first independent environmental consultant company in the nation.
In New Guinea, Douglas began searching for World War II wreckage throughout the country. For decades, he's searched for aircraft wreckage and wartime sites and is responsible for finding or helping to report many World War II crash sites, including Missing In Action (MIA) planes. He developed a team of wreck detective "wrec 'tecs" to find and report wartime sites.
For his efforts helping the United States to find missing planes and Missing In Action (MIA) personnel in Papua New Guinea, John Douglas was recognized by Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) with a certificate of appreciation, October 15, 2004:
|“For your outstanding support to Joint Task Force-Full Accounting and JPAC during September–October 2003. During this period, Mr. Douglas volunteered the results of his detailed research an investigative fieldwork to the United States Government. The information provided by Mr. Douglas resulted in 14 World War II cases in Papua New Guinea nominated for field survey. Mr. Douglas’ passion for World War II history in particular the Papua New Guinea campaign has provided an invaluable asset to the mission of accounting for missing American servicemen. Mr. Douglas’ outstanding performance reflected great credit upon himself and is in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Armed Services.”
Monthly wreck reports about John Douglas'
travels and wreck discoveries.
Papuan Wrec 'tecs
John Douglas' team of Papua New Guineans who
help find and report World War II aircraft wrecks.
Douglas has visited countless WWII wrecks. This is a list of his six favorite wreck sites.
Searches and Discoveries
From time to time particular requests
come to find a particular aircraft wreck. These searches are usually collaborative
affairs involving other explorers,wrec 'tecs, historians and relatives. In the course of these explorations, Douglas comes across human remains that are reported to the respective agencies for the United States, Japan and Australia.
John restored WWII trucks and military vehicles for a hobby in New Zealand. Read
his comments about tourism, recovery and preservation of WWII relics in Papua New Guinea over the years.
Douglas in Port Moresby
B-17E "Swamp Ghost"
Boat up the Opi River