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Wreck News & Information - March 29, 2001


Math English's B-25 MIA Crew - Amazing Developments
Gusap 2001 - Special Section by John Douglas & Veterans
Walkabout 2000 - Canberra

Richard DeBaugh - 41st FS
Dick Williams - Interview with Truk Resident
Roy Wiggs - 1962 Discovery of remarkably intact Zero on Guam

John Innes - Discovery of Remains in 1995 on Guadalcanal
Carl Silber, Jr. - Crash of B-24 Texas Terror

Scrapping Update - Selling to the Highest Bidder
RAAF Beaufort - MIA Seeking Next-of-Kin

Ghost Wings & Atomic Magazines
Planning A Trip to the Pacific - Advice from Dianne Matthews
Links of the Month


1. Message from the Creator


It has been a busy month, full of exciting developments and revelations.

Some are sobering, like the despairing news update about scrapping in Lae. The trail leads to a Melbourne businessman quietly exporting aircraft wreckage from PNG for the past several years, including buried wreckage at Finschafen. They had permission from the PNG National Museum to do this, and they have been selling the aircraft and components in the United States.

In other news, I am proud to present the amazing story that involves two collaborators to the Pacific Wreck Database and their work assisting Jeff English, the nephew of MIA B-25 pilot Math English. The story of his MIA crew was unknown, until a remarkable series of events in in the tall kunai grass outside of Wewak, and in the archives of Canberra at the Australian War Memorial. Congratulations to Douglas & Claringbould for their work, and service with this American MIA case. And, to Jeff English, who has learned the truth about his uncle's disappearance.

Read on to learn more.

- Justin


2. Math English's B-25 MIA Crew - Amazing Developments


An amazing story has taken place this month, that involves two collaborators to the Pacific Wreck Site, and Jeff English, the great nephew of Math English, the pilot of a B-25 that forced landed behind Wewak.

Photographs taken at the site by John Douglas in February 2001 are coupled with Michael Claringbould's research in Australian records about this puzzling MIA case, that resulted in the disappearance of the crew and execution by Japanese forces who captured them.

John Douglas photographed the site in February 2001, and collected oral history from villagers who recalled the plane crash, and how the crew survived, got as far as Paiambit village, where they were captured by the Japanese. They were then taken down the Sepik River to another village called Moim, when they were made to dig their own graves, then shot. However only three graves, not five, are said to remain at Moim from this incident. New Guinea natives have rich cultural beliefs for their ancestors. They are rarely, if ever, wrong about the location of a grave. This to them, a visceral and spiritual issue, is too important to be taken lightly. Who lies in the Moim graves, if anybody, has yet to be ascertained.

Through the research of Michael Claringbould, of Aerothentic Publication, has revealed the true story from Australian Post-War interrogations at the Australian War Memorial Museum in Canberra. There is a complete file which specifically refers to "Five survivors from an identified aircraft, possibly RAAF", which crashed West of Moim in March / April 44. Aerothentic can confirm that here are no RAAF aircraft wrecks anywhere near this area. This file, beyond any doubt whatsoever, refers to the English crew. Thanks to Claringbould for contributing this information to the site.

Jeff English Interview
Learn more about the great nephew of Math, and his search to learn more about his history and advice on how to research MIA's

Full Story - Five Crew Executed 42-64835 Forced-landed behind Wewak
For full details on the history and research aspect of this case, see the link on Aerothentic


3. Gusap 2001 - Special Section by John Douglas & Veterans


Gusap 2001
Shortly after Nadzab was taken by Allied Forces, a need was seen to develop a forward airbase towards Madang, Wewak and Hollandia. Gusap was chosen. It was the front lines of the air war in New Guinea for six months of the war, when the 41st FS, 312th BG and 871st Engineers were based there. This section is a collaboration from John Douglas who traveled to the airfield in 2001 and WWII veterans who share their recollections about life at Gusap.

John Douglas - Papuan Wreck Diary
The highlight of February was a visit to Gusap airstrip. Douglas is working on a couple of PNG MIA cases, that will take time to solve. I added up the wrecks reported to me that seem to contain human remains that I need to check up on {time and money]. 22 sites. to investigate. Plus lots more vague tales to follow up on. Four RAAF crew were recovered out of the sea near Kiriwina Island recently, so gradually the remains are being recovered.


4. Operation Walkabout - CANBERRA


Australia's capital city, it is also home to their amazing War Memorial Museum and research center. This huge museum is one of the most exciting in the world in terms of displays, its enormous collection and highly accessible research area. Their collection includes two of the Japanese midget submarines that attacked Sydney Harbor and were captured, an amazing collection of aircraft and relics related to Australians in conflict. Also, visit the Museum's annex display, with its additional collection of WWII aircraft on display.


5.   Veterans Speak

Richard DeBaugh
P-47 Pilot, 41st FS Mr. DeBaugh contributes his essay titled "Island" about his recollections about New Guinea and flying out of Gusap. Today, his association with the 41st continues, as the editor of the squadron's newsletter.


6.   Interview - Dick Williams - Micronesia Resident

Dick Williams
Lived and worked in Micronesia from late 1969 to 1981. He contributes six photo galleries of the islands he stayed on and speaks about the war relics and oral histories he collected from islanders during those years. Galleries include: Moen, Dublon, Param, Guam, Kusaie and Ponape.


7.   Interview - Roy Wiggs - Discovery of Guam Zero

Roy Wiggs

In a June 19, 1944 action, a Zero, tail number 43-188, piloted by Shimazu Ozaki took off to attack an American SOC seaplane. Before being damaged, Ozaki shot down a F-6F piloted by Henry Clem. The Zero crash landed in the swamp just off its airfield, and Ozaki later died of the wounds he suffered. His plane lay undisturbed until 1962 in that same swamp.

Read an interview with Roy Wiggs, who was in the USN and stationed at Guam in the early 1960's. He photographed the plane after its discovered, and contributes his recollections and amazing photographs. This aircraft was later recovered and restored in Japan, and is now on display at Hamamatsu Air Force Base in Japan.


8. History - John Innes

Discovery of Remains on Guadalcanal

John Innes erected a cross for Toshio Kojima, when the bones were found in October 1995. All the implements around him in the foxhole were American and he was in an American foxhole. At the time, there was a rededication ceremony for Lofton Henderson. General Paul Henderson (his brother) his family and a group of Marines for the ceremony at Henderson Field. Innes took them along to see the remains that we had found on Hill 27. They all agreed that the remains were likely to be that of an American because of all the American equipment in the foxhole. As it turned out, the remains belonged to a Japanese man, of the 228th Infantry.


9. Interview - Carl Silber, Jr.

Son of Capt Carl H. Silber, USAAF, 8th Fighter Group, Adjutant. This is the story of his father's crash aboard the B-24 "Texas Terror" and his trip to Australia to search for the crash site, and later for the dedication of a memorial to honor the crew. Read about his amazing story, and the series of events that brought him to his father's crash site and history.


10. News - Scrapping Update

Lae Scrapping
A report by Malcom Black. Read the report that they don't want you to see. Learn about the connection to an Australian Businessman and how aircraft have been quietly exported over the past several years, and how the National Museum turned the other way while these relics were sold in the United States to the highest bidder. Selling of a country's history. Either way the wrecks lose

PBJ-1 Wreckage - Former US MIA Site - Scrapped!
I just learned from Peter Leggett in Rabual that this wreck site, that was a US MIA site until 1999 was scrapped by a Rabaul businessman, likely for a few Kina. Another WWII historical site and former gravesite now no longer exists.

11. News - RAAF Beaufort MIA Discovered 

RAAF Beaufort off Kawa Island
The remains of radio operator and air-gunner Flying Officer Geoff Wells, pilot Flight Sergeant Jack Woodgate, navigator Flight Sergeant Stewart Drakes and radio operator and gunner Flight Sergeant Byron Maclean were recovered in March 2001 from the sandy bottom of the Solomon Sea near the island of Kawa in the Trobriands. The wreck was originally discovered in January of 2000. The original 1943 search found a fuel tank which can still be seen in the island's only village.

Also, read article that appeared in The Australian about this MIA case solved,and the ongoing search for crew member. Courtesy of Graeme Leech.

12.  Reviews

Ghost Wings Magazine
The magazine is written, designed, funded and published by four young men from Pennsylvania who are in High School and College. Don't let that description fool you. This is a full color, 48 page publication that is up to, and above the production value of other periodicals in this genre. There efforts have won the attention of the likes of Tom Hanks and Senator Bob Dole, and countless WWII veterans.

Atomic Magazine
Just like stepping back to a pulp magazine of the 1940's, each magazine is colorful and well prepared. Each issue features pin-up girl centerfolds, modeling retro fashions. In the case of the winter 2001 issue, "Romancing the 1940's" and "WWII Sweater Fashions" in the Fall 2000 issue.


13.  How to Plan A Pacific Trip

Travel Advice from Dianne Matthews. Read these 21 points for Pacific Travelers. This is an excellent and concise primer for those who are planning a trip.


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

War Of Our Fathers
Richard Marin's website - updated with new screen savers and new afterward by Senator John McCain!

LST 475 Association
Thanks to Mike Guarino for this link

George P. Gaffney Jr.
Thanks to Ken Smith for this exellent link

Yamamoto Museum Photos
Thanks to Masahiro Washio for this link. Photos taken October 9, 2000

US Navy Ship Rosters & Hull Numbers
Very interesting page, and community. Highly recommened

US Navy Photo Archive
Thanks to Peter Flahavin for this link.

Bikini Atoll Wrecks
Thanks to Peter Flahavin for this link.

Russain Zero Type 22 Restoration Project

Research Sites
Thanks to Peter Flahavin for this link.

USMC 6th Division

Marine Vignettes
USMC Oral histories. Thanks to Peter Flahavin for this link

USMC History Links
Thanks to Peter Flahavin for this link

August 7th 1945
In the early hours of August 7th 1945, 8 days before the end of the war in the Pacific, a U.S. Army Air Force B-24 'Liberator' bomber with eleven crew members on board, flew to destruction into the 3,000 foot peak of Mangwoon-san on Namhae Island in Southern Korea. All eleven airmen perished.


# # # End of Wreck News March 29, 2001 # # #

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