John Loughman  Papua New Guina Photos 1968–1973

In 1968  prior to PNG independence I went up in May to prepare the handover of the Australian Post Office Radio Branch. I had been corresponding with a Barry Flood of the Commonwealth Bank who relieved all over the Territory where he was able to inspect and photograph a lot of wrecks. I left the territory in December and lost contact with all but Barry Flood who died of cancer in 1982.

Click For Enlargement B-17 Tail
Another trip was to a small rain forest near Bomana Prison where the tail of a B-17 41-2627 that was wedged in a tree. There was a lot of .30 and 50 cal ammo near the tail and a prison guard who was with us said he fired them sucessfully in his official rifle. I guess this wreck is gone today.

A-20 Havoc Wreck
Click For EnlargementA-20 43-9625 Went in below the crest of a hill. the Nose dug in but the wings, engines and tail careered for over one hundred yards over the hill. When one of the wings was lifted the olive drab paint had turned pinky purple. This wreck is gone today.

P-47 "Sweetwater Swatter"
Click For Enlargement
P-47D 42-8066 came down in the Waigaini swamp about 20 miles north of Port Moresby. The plane landed wheels up and the pilot was never found, probably lost in the swamp or taken by crocodiles. There was a bit of damage to the canopy from duck hunters and around 1966 an attempt was made to recover the plane during the short dry season. It was raised onto a trailer but the rains came and it had to be left behind. Next dry season someone lit a fire and the kunai grass burnt under the wings setting off the .50 cal ammo which ruptured the wing top covers but no other damage.

Click For EnlargementWhether this damaged the paintwork also I cannot say. In 1968 during a posting to Port Moresby I went out to see the site where a more determined attempt was being made .This time the aircraft was cut up behind the engine, the tail and the wings. A causeway was bulldozed across a small creek and the pieces towed across and brought back to Port Moresby. I never saw it again but I understand it was pieced together and maybe even re-skinned.

Catalina at Jacksons
There used to be a PBV Catalina 68045 fuselage at the airport which I think used to belong to Taa or Ansett. It was meant to be used for fire practice but I dont know if it was recovered before this happened.

Click For EnlargementP-38F Wreck
I visited this recce lightning that I visited in another swamp. This aircraft, P-38F 42-12647 was also recovered a few years later, and could now be in a War Museum in Port Moresby. I visited it on the ground and also flew over in a helicopter once.

Recovered Zero and Val
Click For EnlargementWrecks of the Zero and Vals collected by Canadian Bob Dimiert and left on the Port Moresby for a month until collected by a RCAF Hercules. I believe the zero was restored and powered with an engine from a B-25 which would given it a mind boggling performance The other wreck on its gear is D3A2 Val 3178 and a portion of a A6M2 Zero 5451. The Diemert stuff was dumped on Jacksons strip. I used to go there on Sundays at noon to watch the RAAF Caribous touch and go.

Bill Champan
I met Bill Chapman who began holding regular meetings of aircraft enthusiasts including Bobby Gibbes. I was and still am a keen model builder and Bill had aquired from Airfix and others a lot of plastic aircraft kits. I wound up building them all for his Air Museum of Papua New Guinea and went on several trips out bush to see various wrecks. There was a rubbish dump which had lots of P-47 flat belly drop tanks but nobody was game to move them because of snakes and spiders.


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