P A C I F I C  W R E C K   D A T A B A S E

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  Wreck News & Information - August 31, 2002

Pacific Ghosts Air show Appearance

Charles Darby - Author & P-40 Restorer

USS San Juan CL 54 - Seeking Veterans

Steve Irwin's "Ghosts of War"
NBC Today Show on "Black Sunday" B-24s
NEW! Pacific WWII Media Center

Dutch Divers Locate O 20 Submarine

Report from Watom Island, British POWs & History

The Whole Nine Yards
We Band of Brothers
The Man Who Flew The Memphis Belle

Guadalcanal Related Sites




I am very pleased to bring you this month's special PWD email update. As always thanks to the collaborators worldwide who provided information and news for the site. The website has been peaking with consistently more than a thousand plus visitors a day! This is a good thing, but also means that the sites bandwith is all but used, this accounts for any "408" errors. I apologize in advance. I am trying to think of ways to secure more bandwith so the site and its mission of collaboration, history, interviewing veterans can keep growing.

I had the opportunity to meet some of you in person at the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) "Wings of Freedom" Air Show in Maryland. This was an amazing event, for the warbirds in the air, and the history on the ground. The Pacific Ghosts team were guest speakers at the event, lecturing about WWII Pacific aircraft wrecks and launching the CD-ROM, and were joined by special guest historian Michael Claringbould, all the way from Australia. We were honored to help represent WWII Pacific history, and to meet the Pacific veterans in attendance. If you have not checked out the Pacific Ghosts CD-ROM, visit the website for more information and details. For photos, or to access our lectures, check out:

Pacific Ghosts at Wings of Freedom Airshow


- Justin


2. INTERVIEW - Charles Darby, Author & P-40 Restorer


Charles Darby is one of the best known names in WWII Wreck circles. Active in travel and aircraft restoration since the 1960's in New Zealand, and a traveler to New Guinea and the Solomons, he is best know as the author of the book "WWII Aircraft Wrecks... And Where to Find Them". Today, he is still active in WWII aviation, restoring P-40's in New Zealand. Read an interview with Darby, and learn more about his background, travels and writing "Pacific Aircraft Wrecks", and about the new book "The Whole Nine Yards". Also, his work restoring P-40's and views on restoration and more.



USS San Juan C.L. 54 - Seeking Veterans

Anyone that is connected with the USS San Juan CL 54. Please get in contact with Red Harper, email: redharper@webtv.net the reunion is seeking any shipmates out there, these are veterans now in their late 70's thru 90's now. If you are in any way connected with this ship, get in touch and mark your calendar for the upcoming reunion: October 15-19 Mobile, Alabama http://members.tripod.com/okaw/Harper.html


There are several important news media announcements...

NBC Today Show - CILHI & Pacific MIAs
The producer said they are tentatively scheduled to air a story on the US Army's CILHI on Sept. 3 & 4. Each piece is approximately 3 minutes. The first piece is focused on the recovery missions in Papua New Guinea which they visited in May, 2002 of two MIA B-24's from the "Black Sunday" mission, reported on Pacific Wreck Database in February. The second piece is an interview with Patricia Gaffney-Ansel, the president of the WWII Orphan Network. Her father was recovered in Papua New Guinea and identified by CILHI. For additional information, see:

WW II Japanese midget sub found
This news story has just exploded over the mainstream news. Thanks to David Aiken for the link

The Croc Hunter Explores WWII Wrecks?
It appears the "Croc Hunter" is interested in WWII wrecks too! Many caught a strange television show that aired recently that showed WWII locations and some well known wreckage at Tarawa, Truk and Palau. It was a show hosted by Steve Irwin, and called "Croc Hunter Special: Ghosts of War" Although the historical commentary was nil, it was great to see some of the more famous WWII Pacific sites in the main stream media, but it seems this program only aired once in the United States. http://dsc.discovery.com/schedule/episode.jsp?episode=30356000

NEW! Pacific WWII Media Center
We can only hope there will be more media interest in the even more exciting Pacific stories - and attention for its veterans, MIA's, current issues and history. Any serious media inquires, contact PWD for assistance locating veterans, and information to aid your news story or program. To aid media worldwide, Pacific Wreck Database has created a new media center to connect them with veterans, relatives, historians and those involved with WWII Pacific history.

WWII Pacific Media Center

Veterans - Add yourself to our archives


5. Dutch Divers Locate the wreck of O 20 Submarine


A group of 7 divers, all associated with the IAHD, participated in a dive expedition in June 2002 to look for and identify a Dutch submarine that sank after being attacked by the Japanese on December 19 1941.

Research was done by Mr. H Besançon, son of the commander of the Hr.Ms. K XVII, one of the other submarines lost by the Dutch navy during WW2. The expedition leader was Klaas Brouwer, ceo of the IAHD. Dive leader was Michael Lim from Singapore who also is the owner of the chartered vessel Mata Ikan.

The team has made photo and video shots of the wreck. In order to identify the wreck the team has removed a 'deck phone' from the submarine. The Dutch Navy has positively identified this wreck as the O 20. The wreck is located approximately 35 miles North-East of Kota Baharu (Malaysia) at a depth of 44 meters.

More info on the loss of O 20 at:

Photos of the Dive expedition at:


6. Watom Island - British POWs & Site Visits

This report is a collaboration between Watom Islander and resident, Samuel Niba Billy and sent via Peter Leggett and edited by Steve Sanders of Rabaul. This report brings the important local perspective of WWII, and some of their rich oral history about happenings during the Japanese occupation and memories of the British POWs (captured at Singapore) and interned on their island. I am proud to present this fine piece of investigation and work by so many important personalities in the Rabaul area, and hope that we will be able to learn more local perceptive from the people.

Watom Island - Investigation and confirmation of POW sites
by Samuel Niba Billy


7.  Reviews - WWII Pacific Book Reviews


The Whole Nine Yards
The story of Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) P-40N A29-448: the history of the squadron and pilots who flew it, the story of its recovery and documentation of its restoration to flying status.

We Band of Brothers
Review by Phil Bradley  A detailed, action packed personal account of flying with the 501st "Black Panthers" squadron of the 345th Bomb Group, the legendary "Air Apaches." Written by R.E. Peppy Blount

The Man Who Flew the Memphis Belle WWII Bomber Pilot
Review by Mike Fuller  Best know as the pilot of the "Memphis Belle," this book also tells the story of his 2nd tour of duty as Aircraft Commander of the "Dauntless Dotty" B-29, and Pacific missions, including the first bombing of Japan, led by Col. Morgan, since the Doolittle Raid in 1942.


8.  LINKS - Guadalcanal Related Sites
August 7, 1942 marked the 60th Anniversary of the USMC landing on Guadalcanal, and the start of the six month, turning point battle in the Solomons on land, sea and in the air. This month's internet links are specific to all things Guadalcanal.

Guadalcanal - Peter Flahavin's Website

Guadalcanal Tours
John Innes Guadalcanal Website

Guadalcanal DVD
Forthcoming DVD project - photos, interviews & locations

Guadalcanal Timeline & Maps

My Guadalcanal - Japanese Account

Rube Garrett's Diary, 11th Marines

The Cactus Air Force

Guadalcanal Journal

Guadalcanal Naval Battles


Book: Starvation Island by Eric Hammel

Book: Decision at Sea Naval Battle of Guadalcanal

Book: Dantless Marine Joseph Sailer Jr.


# # # End of Wreck News August 31, 2002 # # #

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