P A C I F I C  W R E C K   D A T A B A S E
Comprehensive guide to WWII Pacific Wrecks http://www.pacificwrecks.com

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Five Years of WWII History, Discoveries and Friendships.

EDITORIAL - Five Years Online

Pacific Ghosts CD-ROM -
Now Available
Special Offer - Free 8x10 with order!

John Van Duis - Confessions of a Scrapper
Photo of the Month - Port Moresby Boneyard 1947

Two P-38's Exported
- What are their USAAC Serial Numbers?
A Missing P-38 disappears from Western Province, PNG, without export permit




Dear Friends, Veterans and Visitors,

I have decided to send out a special email to celebrate the fact that the Pacific Wreck Database website has been online now for FIVE YEARS this month. I wanted to pause from the normal email updates and instead send out a special message to thank all of those who have helped with the website over the years and to highlight some of its achievements.

And, to bring some very special announcements to your attention.

With the 60th anniversary of WWII in full swing, the urgency to learn more is imperative. I encourage all of you to seek out the veterans and Pacific history in your own family and community. Of course, even in five years time, the site has only scratch the surface of this topic. The humbling fact that there are so many stories yet to tell, mysteries to solve, and history yet to uncover, drives me to continue updating the site every day. The past five years has seen both new friendships, but also painful good-byes to dear friends who have passed away, and history lost to scrappers and unsanctioned recovery operations.

Despite these challenges, the Pacific wreck database has exceeded everyone's expectation as a website and virtual community. The site is independent and unsponsored, aside from the occasional donations of users. Each month, the website peaks out at over 8 gigabites of 'traffic', and in five years has had 1,077,707 hits to the main page. Photographs and leads from the site have helped to identify 'new' MIA sites and 'new' wrecks previously unknown. Also, articles posted have reconnected veterans, and brought together collaborators worldwide to meet for mutual research. To see just a few of these successes, visit

I would like to thank YOU for your visits to the site, enthusiasm, contributions of both information, photographs, and recollections. It is because of you support the site has grown and has been able to make these wonderful connections for people worldwide. I hope that this is only the beginning of more exciting things to come. On this special anniversary, I would like to today rededicate the website to my two grandfathers and all veterans of the Pacific war, worldwide. To learn how you can help the site grow, visit http://www.pacificwrecks.com/help/

- Justin
Pacific Wreck Database Creator


2. PACIFIC GHOSTS CD-ROM - Now Available


Many of you have asked where to get more information, photos and video of captivating WWII aircraft wrecks, and asked if perhaps one day I would ever release a publication with more information. Today, that day has come. I am proud to unveil a new CD-ROM to the PWD community, and a special offer for users of PWD website.

Pacific Ghosts is a groundbreaking CD-ROM series of World War II aircraft wrecks that contains video, photos and impeccable histories to document wrecks in the South Pacific. The CD-ROM details thirty-three WWII Pacific aircraft in the Pacific, as they exist today. Of particular interest are the wrecks of the F-4F Wildcat, flown by "Pug" Southerland, the first US loss over Guadalcanal, who was shot down by Japanese ace Saburo Sakai. Also, exclusive coverage of P-38 "Japanese Sandman II" of seven-victory ace Richard E. Smith, as it existed in the jungle before its recovery. Each plane has its own fascinating legacy, especially that A6M2 Zero BII-124 and its pilot who flew against Pearl Harbor and was later shot down over Australia.

It has received glowing independent reviews which can be seen below.

The CD-ROM is only available via its website, http://www.pacificghosts.com and sells for $26.50

http://www.pacificghosts.com/reviews/ Over two years of research and travel went into making this project that covers locations in Australia, Papua New Guinea, the Solomons and Vanuatu. The series was designed by PWD website creator, Justin Taylan and the narration and research of historian Michael Claringbould of Aerothentic Publications.

"The best wartime nostalgia CD ROM on the international market"
- Flightpath Magazine

"This will definitely be the best $27 you've spent!"
- J-aircraft.com, Dave Pluth

"A "Must-have" for anyone interested in the war in the pacific"
- 38th Bomb Group Website, Chris Guest

http://www.pacificghosts.com/special/photo.html Order during March, and get a FREE 8x10 photograph of your favorite wreck! For print selection, see the list of thumbnails of a selection of some of the wrecks featured in detail on the CD-ROM. Place your order, get your invoice number, and select your free print Half of your purchase will go to help Pacific Wreck Database continue to grow. If you enjoy the website, but have never donated, this is a great opportunity to do just that, and get something in return.


3. INTERVIEW - John Van Duis - Confessions of An Aircraft Scrapper


After WWII, hundreds of abandoned aircraft were left all over the Pacific. In the late 1940's scrap operations melted this debris down for profit. The memories of war were fresh and in most cases, there was no interest in the aircraft as historical relics. Today, the pieces Van Duis saved from scrapping have been rediscovered per his request these pieces forgotten for 60 years are available to WWII veterans via the Aerothentic Website. Unfortunately, shortly after Pacific Wreck Database's interview, Van Duis passed away at his home in Queensland, Australia. March 17, 2002.

WWII Veterans - Own Part of a 5th Air Force Bomber

One day in early 1949 one particular noseart caught scrapper Van Duis’ eye – the ambiguous noseart of a B-25D named Little Chief Cockeye. Struck by a sense of history, Van Duis decided there & then to unbolt and save many of the castings fittings from this and other nearby B-25 airplanes. He later sent them back to Queensland, Australia where he later settled due to looming political instability in the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia). Van Duis subsequently stored the box of fittings on his property in Queensland, Australia, for nearly six decades. In February 2002, spurred by ill health, Van Duis contacted Aerothentic Publications if we would be interested in purchasing this piece of history. Now these pieces of history are available to veterans and their families, through the above link.


4. Photo of the Month - Port Moresby Boneyard 1947


Exclusive from www.aerothentic.com comes a real piece of esoteric history.
This is the 'boneyard' not far from 7-Mile, Port Moresby, taken on 17th
October 1947 by a B-50 reconnaissance Superfortress at 10,000 feet. This
aircraft was assigned to the 338th Reconn. Squadron of the 13th AF, and was
based in post-war Port Moresby to conduct aerial mapping surveys. In the
photo you can see B-17s, P-47Ds, B-25s, P-38s, A-20Gs and even s few P-40Ns


5. MISSING P-38's From New Guinea

Do you have additional information on these P-38's email info@pacificwrecks.com

Two P-38's Exported From Finchafen
Earlier this month, a Melbourne businessman reportedly exported two P-38's "dug up" at Finschafen. Various reports about the identity and validity of this export have been brought to our attention. We ask anyone with the serial numbers of these two aircraft step forward and submit this information so the true history of these wrecks can be learned. Neither the California restoration company, or the alleged US buyers have responded to request for more information. If this indeed was a legal export, we challenge someone to step forward with the real serial numbers of these dug up P-38's so that the truth behind them can be learned.

A Missing P-38 from Western Province, PNG
By a strange coincidence, ANOTHER P-38 is missing from PNG. This intact was located at a place called Arufi in the Western Province of Papua New Guinea. This case is still under investigation for theft by authorities in New Guinea. With the dollar "value" of WWII aircraft know by many, wrecks in 3rd world countries have become the targets of recovery. These relics are property of the government where they reside and when removed, the world looses access to their history, and the country looses a piece of its historical legacy. Look for more information on this unfolding story, and complete history on this aircraft in future updates.


# # # End of Wreck News SPECIAL March 22, 2002 # # #

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