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Pacific World War II Reviews  

by Fritz Herscheid
Ocean Enterprises  2006
497 pages
Index, photos
ISBN: 0-9586657-6-1

Language: English

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The Last New Guinea Salvage Pirate
The Exploits of Fritz Herscheid During Twenty Years of Post-War Salvage in New Guinea and the Philippines

This book's forward by Ray Walters of Simsmetal, a buyer of scrap metal sets the stage for the book. This book is an autobiography of Fritz Herscheid, an amazing personality, business man, diver. Certainly he is a character who is larger than life in terms of his adventures, dive exploits and work with World War II shipwrecks and relics.

The book begins with his arrival at Rabaul at age 20 to work as a carpenter. He and his wife were captivated by the beautiful location, and was taught to dive by George Tyres diving on "George's Wreck" and down to 250' at the sea wall of the Submarine Base at Tavui Point.

Soon afterwards, Herscheid decided to quit his job to dive full time, and remove scrap and non-ferrous metal from the shipwrecks of Rabaul. Ever enterprising, he and his wife purchased the dive school at Rabaul, and met other salvager and salvagers in Rabaul, all the while learning new techniques for salvage and under water blasting with explosives to remove propellers.

Herscheid became a keen researcher, and even searched without result for missing Royal Australian Navy (RAN) submarine HMAS AE1. In late 1969, he purchased the salvage rights to the President Grant shipwreck and assembled a team of divers and helpers, including his wife to work the wreck for over six months while living on nearby Wari Island. During that period, they removed non-ferrous metal, the propellers, .50 caliber ammunition and 6" shells from the wreck and area with his dive team and the help of locals.

Afterwards, Herscheid investigated a wreck at Bougainville and then Madang Harbor and Hansa Bay.

Review by Justin Taylan  

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Last Updated
September 21, 2023

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