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Wreck News & Information - February 26, 2001

Message from the Creator - Scraping
Aerothentic Update

Walkabout 2000 - Wewak

William Smith - B-25 Pilot - Survivor of Kaviang raid & Rescue!

John Douglas - Papuan Wreck Diary
Elliot Smock - Travels in Irian Jaya
Daniel Leahy - Australian Wrecks and Warbirds

Pacific Ghosts - Progress Update
Travel - Considering a trip to the Pacific?
Book Review - Naval Land Unit that Vanished in the Jungle
Video - Memories in the Sand
Links - Featured Internet Site

1. Message from the Creator

Another exciting update, and thanks to all the visitors and contributors to the site, around the world, old and new. This update offers many great internet links, an amazing veteran interview with audio, new wreck & warbird photos, and focus on Wewak from my summer travels there with John Douglas. Finally, reviews of an amazing book and video.

Matt Poole had an interesting addendum to last month's mention of the Memphis Belle Tail Gunners Pacific service. Of interest, In the 39th Bomb Group, stationed at Guam was Charles Buchinski as a nose gunner in a weather recon B-29 called Old Overcast - He was later known as Actor Charles Bronson. Also as a bombardier in the 39th was pre-war cowboy actor Tim Holt. Holt was also involved in the Trials of the "Bat Bomb" which was a plan to drop Mexican Fruit Bats which had a small canisters of Napalm attached to them over Japan to start fires. Tests were successful conducted on a representative street of Japanese style houses conducted at Dugway, Utah on which the bombardier was Tim Holt. See the book called Bat Bomb for more information.

Many exciting things planned for the site, and it is only February. Veterans of the Pacific Theater, I am always honored to speak with you, and interview you for the site. Ofcourse, your contributions of information are what drives the site forward. http://www.pacificwrecks.com/resources/help.html

Sadly, I must also report some heart breaking and disappointing news, via Peter Weaver about scrapping going on in New Guinea. http://www.pacificwrecks.com/news/scrap.html I too witnessed an active scrap yard in Wewak, with several pieces of aircraft clearly visible. We must also remember that damage is not only being done by smelters, but also and equally by outsiders bent on recovery. Although there are arguments for both restoration and rust in peace, the sad truth is that the efforts of a small few have done far more damage than nearly sixty years of exposure in the jungle...

- Justin


2. Aerothentic Update


Aerothentic Publications at has completely revamped and UPGRADED its site, and this is definitely worth checking out. Aerothentic now offers free assistance to relatives of anyone who flew in the Fifth Air Force to resolve their relatives MIA cases.

President and founder Michael John Claringbould has resolved three MIA cases in the past three years and has assisted countless others discover what happened to their relatives. He has done this through an accumulation of post-war Colonial files, many of which are still classified but Michael doesn't care ! Michael will be attending the CILHI conference in Lae this April as chief consultant and wreck expert.

This site has much cutting-edge material. In its complimentary articles section there is an article which provides new evidence on loss of the Fifth Air Force's second highest-scoring ace, Thomas McGuire. The site of his P-38 wreck has been located in the Philippines!

Aerothentic's site also includes -A huge Pacific noseart section, including color shots

Photos of aircraft just days after they crashed, along with their histories

Comprehensive "People and know-how section" which contains some of the most interesting human interest photos of the war http://www.aerothentic.com/people/index.html

An incredible section of RAAF aircraft fighting along side our American forces - none of these photos has been published before http://www.aerothentic.com/5thAFlinks.htm

A section on Aerothentic's books (see reviews in this site's review section)



3. Operation Walkabout - WEWAK


This month's focus is on Wewak, the Japanese Army bastion on the north coast of New Guinea. With many airfields in the area, it was a major target for Allied planes and was bypassed and left to wither on a vine. Japanese soldiers remained there until the end of the war, and difficult combat was fought with Australians forces.

Read interviews with Charlie Wintawa and Muschu Islanders George Maiet and Michael Sumari about the Japanese occupation. Visit Boram and Wirui airfields. Locations including Brandi, Cape Wom, Wewak town, Muschu Island, Kreer and Boystown. See disturbing pictures of WWII wreckage in Wewak scrapyard.


4.   Veterans Speak - William Smith


William Smith - B-25 Pilot

Son Stephen Smith has contributed this amazing interview with his father, a B-25 pilot and veteran of the 38th BG, 71st BS. In this interview, see some of Smith's WWII photographs, and listen to him describe some of the most memorable events in his career, via Real Audio.

Smith's B-25 was hit over Kavieng February 11, 1944. His plane was forced to ditch and he and the surviving crew members clung to Smith's parachute in the water for over two hours until a rescue PBY Catalina picked them up. Despite rough seas, and Japanese fire, the PBY "The Arkansas Traveller" piloted by Nate Gordon rescued Smith and other downed crews from this mission. Gordon earned the Metal of Honor for this action.


5.   Papuan Wreck Diary - John Douglas
Another month of amazing work by collaborator John Douglas!
This month, several B-25 wreck sites and three interesting rumors about new aircraft discoveries including the story of at least one wreck with remains. Local people were traveling through some previously explored kunai/cane when a machete hit metal. They had a look around at their discovery, found a plane with human remains...

6.  Travels in Irian Jaya - Elliot Smock

Long await installment of Elliot's travels in August and September of 2000. He reports: "Generally speaking, the big problem is scrapping. Intact aircraft on land are incredibly rare. The best chance are wrecks from the sea. However, the poor infrastructure makes diving very difficult. All the coastal airfields have been cleared out long ago. It was my first trip to Irian. It is very easy to underestimate its remoteness. Travel here is very very expensive. The need for a guide is also very high which adds to cost. Elliott visited the recently discovered Biak Ki 43 Oscar wreckage that in news reports greatly exaggerated its condition and misidentified. And, several other interesting aircraft, like remains of several C-47's and a P-39.

7. Australian Wrecks and Warbirds - Daniel Leahy

Meet Daniel Leahy, a new collaborator to the website. He has contributed many interesting Australian warbird and wreck photographs to the website, including photos from Point Cook Museum, the new AWM Pacific Aviation Exhibit, Eskdale RAAF Beaufort Wreck, Tocumwal (McIntyre) Field and photos of Temora Aviation's Spitfire at Avoln 2001. Also, he is the webmaster of his own amazing site. Check it out & add to your bookmark list!

RAAF Database

8.  Travel - Considering A Trip to the Pacific?

This new section will highlight tour providers and opportunities to travel to the Pacific. This month, two exciting operators who have both contributed information to PWD in the past.

Matthews' Tours International Inc.
Get to any WWII Destination - at any time, leave when you are ready- Travel arraignments, tours, tickets and accommodation arrange as economically as possible. Dianne Matthews is an excellent consultant that has herself lived in several Pacific countries and is an Australian herself. I have used her services myself when planning my Walkabout 2000 trip, and she is always patient and helpful agent with a deep interest in history and tailoring unique travel excursions.

Solomon Islands Battle Site Tour
Chris has contributed photographs and information to Pacific Wreck Database over the years. He is planning a trip to Guadalcanal and New Georgia in early September 2001 the trips itinerary includes all the famous sites on both islands, and many interesting wreck, diving and historical sites. The trip is reasonably priced and offers local accommodation, a wonderful way to really immerse yourself into the culture and history of these amazing islands.


9. Pacific Ghosts - Progress Update

The Pacific Ghost website has been updated! Look for screen shots in the Ordering Information section as well as a sneak peak at the cover art. Also, the Japanese A6M2 Tail Number BII-124 has just been added to the disc. This Zero was a veteran of the Pearl Harbor attack, and crashed near Darwin. The disc is about to enter its final phase of beta testing, before release.

10.  Book & Video Reviews

New this update: Sample chapters of past book reviews, courtesy of each publisher. Check them out for excellent reading and support these publishers and their unique and highly recommended Pacific related titles.

The Naval Land Unit That Vanished in the Jungle
by Tetsuo Watanabe
Rarely does a short book, only 88 pages in length have such a profound impact. This is the best account I have ever read about what the war in New Guinea was like for the Japanese. The book describes amazing hardships and feats of survival, and documents the travels of one Naval surgeon whose career began in Hong Kong, then to the torpedo ship Hiyodori operating in the Solomons, and finally in a Naval unit in New Guinea. Throughout the war, author Watanabe kept a dairy that he used to write the book, that was originally published in 1982.

Iwo Jima: Memories in Sand
by Beret E. Strong
This video explores recollections of veterans of the fighting on Iwo Jima in a well made documentary. Filmed around the fiftieth anniversary remembrance celebration on the island, the symbol of the sand brings veterans back a half century to the brutal landing and appalling casualties suffered to take this small island.


11.  Links of the Month
Tons of great links for your pleasure and bookmark list.


The Bent Prop Project
Dr. Pat Scannon's new website

Japanese Zero Recovery (good underwater shots)
Thanks to Goh K Loon

B-29 "Doc"
Thanks to Matt Hudak for this excellent link

Military Life at Isley Field, Saipan
Thanks to Rokuro Fujita

Preserved Axis Aircraft

Great site, thanks to Paul McMillian.

Ocean Enterprises Publishers
Publisher of many interesting titles on shipwrecks and history around the Pacific.

Saipan - Interview with Guy Gabaldon
Thanks to Peter Flahavin for this link

Marine gets dog tags back from South Pacific after 58 years
Thanks to Peter Flahavin for this link

Henderson Field
Thanks to Peter Flahavin for this link.

505th BG & B-29 Resources
Thanks to David Maxwell for these links

Dutch Submarines
http://www.dutchsubmarines.com/specials/special_lost_submarines.htm http://www.dutchsubmarines.com/pictures/pictures_kxvii.htm
Thanks to Bram for these links.

# # # End of Wreck News February 26, 2001 # # #

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