Wreck News & Updates - March 2006 Update

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In Memory
Richard E. Smith, P-38 Lightning pilot & Ace

Aircraft Salvage in PNG (Part I)
A Song For Sister Shean by Bob Piper
What's at the Bottom of Empress Augusta Bay

Dogtag Discovery Followup by John Douglas
Japanese Bomb Explodes on Guadalcanal
Taizou Nakamura - Japanese restorer & Ki-45 crash site
Yokohama Japanese Radio Museum
The Bomber Reef, Kokoda Frontline
Links to new WWII Pacific websites


Welcome to a new year of PacificWrecks Updates. In February, the documentary Honor Deferred aired on the History Channel (USA) including interviews with since deceased Don Fetterly and myself about George Watson who earned the medal of honor. Veteran Richard E. Smith passed this past February. He flew with the 39th Fighter Squadron, the first unit to fly the P-38 Lightning in the South Pacific. I had the pleasure of correspond with Smith for many years, and met him in January. This update profiles his legacy.

- Justin Taylan
email - |

Richard E. Smith
39th Fighter Squadron P-38 Pilot & Ace
Click For StorySmith served in the earliest days of the New Guinea air war. Also, he has the distinction of being the only pilot to ever visit the actual aircraft he flew in combat, where the war left it. His former airplane,P-38H "Japanese Sandman II" 42-66905, with his name and victory markings still visible, was discovered in 1985 and the following year, Smith and his wife visited the wreck. The trip to New Guinea was on of his life's greatest highlights.


Aircraft Salvage in Papua New Guinea (PNG)
Part I - The War Years  
by Justin Taylan  Aircraft salvage in Papua New Guinea (PNG) spans from the war years to the present day.  Over the decades, these wrecks have gone from being worth only their weight in scrap metal, to relics sought after by collectors.

A Song For Sister Sheah
by Bob Piper  In November 1945 a RAAF transport aircraft crashed on a 7,000’ mountain peak during a short flight from Jacquinot Bay to Rabaul in New Guinea. All twenty eight on board lost their lives. Among the crew was Sister Verdun Sheah, whose remarkable life and premonition of the accident made the loss all the more tragic.
What Is At The Bottom of Empress Augusta Bay
by John Douglas  To my knowledge no-one has ever dived into Empress Augusta Bay, to see what remains of 50 landing craft and over 100 aircraft.  This must be an undiscovered, unexploited, diver’s paradise, and one day I will visit the bay and dive it.


Click For StoryDouglas Dog Tags
In the news item reported last update, John Douglas reported a cache of US Army dogtags at 14 Mile Drome . With the help of contributors from around the world, information on several of the names has come to light, and one tag will be returned! Learn about these tiny pieces of history and their stories to be told.
Click For EnlargementJapanese Bomb Explodes on Guadalcanal
This bomb, likely a Type 98 No.7 Model 1 Navy fire bomb exploded inside an aggregate crushing plant on Guadalcanal after being collected in gravel excavated from the Lunga River area. Story via Jimmy Nuake with special thanks to Don MacArthur, Stan Gajda and Peter Flahavin for identification of bomb.


Click For StoryTaizou Nakamura
Japanese restorer of Zero Panels and gauges
Learn about Nakamura-san's work with the Harada collection Zeros, restoring meticulous instrument panels and gauges for aircraft. Also, his involvement with the crash site of Ki-45 4057 in Japan.
Click For StoryYokohama WWII Japanese Radio Museum
Museum dedicated to radar, radios and associated gear of the Japanese Army and Navy during WWII. The museum is privately funded by curator and founder, Takashi Doi.

6.  REVIEWS - Pacific WWII Related Books

View all WWII Pacific Book, Magazine and Video Reviews a comprehensive source for all the best Pacific related references and reading. Have a book related to WWII Pacific to recommend? Write a review and add it to the archive. This month's update focuses on new DVDs and multimedia releases.

Order DVDThe Bomber Reef
by Walt Deas This documentary explores the history of Papua New Guinea, and the wartime history of the USAAF 5th Air Force's 38th Bombardment Group, 405th Bombardment Squadron that flew the B-25 Mitchell at low level as a strafer. The focal point is the specific history of one crew and aircraft: B-25D 41-30118, which ditched on a coral reef.
Order BookDamien Parer’s Kokoda Frontline
Review by Daniel Leahy. Damien Parer’s Oscar winning documentary, “Kokoda Frontline” has finally been released on its own, exclusive DVD. Parer’s films include some of the best ‘up close and personal’ footage to come from the battles of World War Two. This is the first time these newsreels have been presented in such a high quality, and it’s great to pick out new details even though I’ve seen each on numerous occasions.

7.  Pacific WWII - Links of the Month

Great links related to WWII Pacific, submitted by users of the Pacific Wreck Database site. Do you know of a good Pacific related website? Email the URL for inclusion in our comprehensive list of links!

345th BG 500th BS Website
Thanks to Ben Muller for this link
Valor Tours
Pacific WWII Tours
Pacific Book House
WWII & South Pacific Bookstore
RAAF Metrological Service in WWII
Thanks to Frank Morrill for this link
SeaWolf Productions Truk Lagoon Photos
New photos from Larry Roth & Fujikawa Maru clip
B-24 Best Web
Thanks to Dale McCarthy for this link
Marshalls WWII
Thanks to Bob Rocker for this link
Australian POW / KIA Changi Remains Return
Thanks to Daniel Leahy for this link
Marine Corps Museum
Thanks to Bob Rocker for this link
Ken's Men: 43rd Bomb Group
Thanks to Bob Rocker for this link
Thanks to Bomb Rocker for the link
7th Bombardment Group Historical Foundation
Thanks to Joe Cassiere for this link
WWII Aircraft Cockpits
Thanks to Daniel Leahy for this link
13th BS B-25 Photos
Thanks to Edward Rogers for this link
RAAF Histories from AWM
Thanks to Edward Rogers
USN Dry Docks (AFD, ARD)
In service during WWII

# # # End of Wreck News March 15, 2005 # # #

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