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Peter Flahavin – Guadalcanal Revisited
January 1995 / February 1996  Peter Flahavin / Rod Bellars

Vilu War Museum

WWII Relics

Fred Kona, who pulled items large and small out of the jungle, started this display in the early 1970's.  Once again any good machine guns are stashed away , as the Bouganvillians stole all the ones they did have out.

WWII Relics

Fred Kona is dead now and his widow and brother run the place. When Mr. Kona started to assemble these items 20 - 30 years ago the local villagers thought he was crazy and used to destroy pieces of his "junk".

Japanese "woodpecker" machine gun

The Japanese artillery pieces on display here comprise three 150mm guns, one 105mm gun, two 37mm anti-tank guns, two 70mm Battalion guns, a 75mm anti-aircraft gun and two 75mm guns on fixed mountings. At least one of the heavy artillery pieces here was used to shell Henderson Field.

Japanese 150mm Artillery Gun

The two fixed mounting 75mm guns are probably salvaged from the beached Japanese transport ships. The 150mm guns came from the Cape Esperance area, where they overlooked the channel to Savo Island.

Click For Enlargement
Japanese tank turret 1995

 Other items include a Dauntless dive-bomber, P-38 fighter (crashed near Lunga Point in 1943), Corsair with one machine gun still in the wing (with a faint "16" on the fuselage), Japanese Betty bomber wing and nose, Val dive bomber tail, a Japanese Medium tank turret and assorted mess tins, helmets, water bottles etc.

US Grenade, Dogtag, coin, ammo, 1996

Sadly over 50 years more exposure in the open air has taken its toll on some items and aircraft markings are barely readable. The Gruman F4F4 Wildcat recovered in 1973 is still there.

They have had at least three offers from American enthusiasts to buy it, but have said no. The 20mm and 7.7mm holes from the attacking Zero fighter are plainly visible.

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