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September 25, 2000 Wreck News & Information

1. Message from the Creator
2. Operation Walkabout - Brisbane
3. Swamp Ghost - Visitors Accounts & Competing Interests
4. Wreck Discoveries - Thailand, Russia, Iceland, Norway
5. Updated! Pacific Nose Art Gallery
6. Veterans Speak - Bill Coggin, 1st Marines
7. Book Reviews - Black Sunday (new edition) & Preludes to Victory
8. Links of the Week

1. Message from the Creator

Its another big week for the Pacific Wreck Database... as always, thanks go to all of you who have emailed me photos, links, history or recollections over the past weeks.

This update, I am also excited to launch the first installment of Operation Walkabout 2000, a recap of my recent trip to Papua New Guinea and Australia. Aside from visiting countless wrecks and battlefields, I was able to finally meet some of the collaborators to the site. Aside from their historical expertise, all proved to be the most interesting of personalities! Through interviews, photos and audio experts, you will get a chance to meet these familiar names to the database.

To start off, here is an interesting bit of historical trivia...

I hope you enjoy browsing, as much as I do maintaining this website!

- Justin


2. Operation Walkabout 2000 - Part I, Brisbane


During July and August, I traveled to Australia and Papua New Guinea to retrace my grandfather's WWII service, and visit war wrecks and battlefields. This is the first installment of this new section.

Locations - Eagle Farm | Amberley
Aircraft - A-20 Hell'n Pelican II | PBY Restoration
Interview - Dennis Dogget, RAAF Restorations
Interview - Phil Bradley, PWD Collaborator


3. Swamp Ghost - Visitors Accounts & Competing Interests


By popular demand, I have added more content on this highly controversial intact B-17 in a New Guinea swamp. If you have not already done so, take a moment to read the excellent history present there, and vote as to what YOU would do with the plane!

Visiting the B-17
This update, listen to an except from my interview with John Douglas about what it is like to visit the bomber. This is no easy trek - unless you have a helicopter, and can spot it from the air. A complete interview with John Douglas is coming in the next update.

Malcom Black
Malcom is another contributor to the site. Read a letter that he sent me, stating his group's claim to the salvage rights of the plane, and why it should be returned to Australia.

Survey Says...
Currently, the stats are:

58% - Recover for restoration, then sale?
  9% - Make a movie about the plane?
14% - Leave the decision to a museum?
19% - Leave the plane where the war left it?

Keep on Voting!

4. Wreck Discoveries - Thailand, Russia, Iceland, Norway

August was quite a month for WWII aircraft discoveries. There are four of particular interest to mention.

PV-1 Ventura in Russia

A Russian geologist found the wreckage in 1962 on the Mutnovsky Volcano. A local historian, Ms. Alla Paperno, reported it to the U.S. government last year. PV-1 Mission History The plane was one of five which took off from Attu, in the Aleutian Islands, on the "Empire Express," a reconnaissance and bombing mission over Japanese bases on the northern Kurile Islands.

Stearman Liason Plane in Thailand

Michael Claringbould, after provided with the data information from the landing strut and description of the engine, determined the engine was a Boeing Spearman, and his records show there were no American losses in the Mae Hong Son Province area during WWII. He thinks it might be possible that the plane crashed between 1945 and 1947 when Allied forces were in the Mae Hong Son City and area. Or, a private individual who had purchased the plane as war surplus crashed it.

Also these other WWII (non Pacific) wrecks were discovered:

German Ju-88 in Norway

The aircraft was 'stolen' on May 7, 1942 by two crewman with the intention of flying it to the UK. After exhausting fuel and probably believing they had made Scotland , the pilot decided to ditch the aircraft. The aircraft was raised in excellent condition on August 31 , 2000 to Gardermoen [ Norwegian Air Force Museum ] She will be restored to full static display , as task that is estimated to take around five years. History and description, courtesy of Dave McDonald

Iceland British Wreck
The bodies of four World War II airmen from Britain's air force, trapped in an Icelandic glacier for nearly 60 years, will at last be buried at a cemetery in Reykjavik.

5.  Pacific Nose Art Gallery
The Pacific Nose Art Gallery has been expanded and updated! In partnership with Aerothentic Publication, the new online gallery features both unique nose art designs, and their humorous, and sometimes tragic histories. You will not see these stories anywhere else on the net, or in print! New nose arts and histories for 5th Air Force aircraft:

A-20 Florida Gator
B-24 PETE the Carrier
B-24 Pug Nose
P-40 Texas Longhorn
B-26 Calamity Charlie
B-26 The Virginian
B-17 Crock O' Crap


6.  Veterans Speak - Bill Coggin, 1st Marines
Thanks to longtime contributor, Peter Flahavin for completing this exciting interview!

Bill Coggin, 1st Marines


7.  Book Review - Preludes to Victory

This update, there are two exception titles reviewed.

Black Sunday

Little wonder that Michael Claringbould is regarded as a world expert in Pacific aviation matters. Not only is Black Sunday fine work, it is also cutting-edge research, and intriguing reading. The challenging task he has completed in this book is to explain how thirty-seven aircraft came to be destroyed or lost in one afternoon by a New Guinea weather front. Michael spent eight years researching, documenting and interviewing survivors from the day's events. Six appendices, and scores of first-class never-before published photos complement the latest edition of this book. It does have a drawback however, once started 1 could not put it down, meaning in my case a 3am retirement!

Preludes to Victory

"My attention was focused on avoiding attacks from aircraft, possible torpedoes, enemy fire from surface ships and shore batteries... We were in a hot spot, hotter than we knew at the time."
Part personal memoir, part a destroy unit history and part collective oral history, this book is full of photographs, and even poetry. Written by William Griggs, former crew member of the USS KEPHART. Valued reading. It is to the sacrifices of this generation that gave up its youth, that we owe so much...

Have you read a good Pacific related book?
It will be added to the website's book review section!
Submit your review to justin@wanpela.com

8.  Links of the Week

The Burma Expedition
Chris James sent me this excellent link, and I am still going through it. This site deals with some MIA recoveries in Burma in 1996 and 1997 of Canadian servicemen.

WW2 Battlefield Relics
This site's focus is on European battlefield. It has some interesting exhibits, and shows some of the relics being found in Europe and Eastern Europe related to WWII.

HMAS Canberra - Interview with Lt. Comd. Mackenzie Gregory
An excellent veteran oral history, full of photographs and recollections about his service in the RAN and events that lead up to the sinking of the HMAS Canberra during the battle of Savo Island, August 9, 1942

USAAS-USAAC-USAAF-USAF Aircraft Serial Numbers
Found an serial number? Need a serial number? Bookmark this superb resource.
Thanks to Richard for this link.

Dive Gizo
Operates on Gizo Island in the Northern Solomons. Good wreck photos and information


# # # End of Wreck News September 25, 2000 # # #


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