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Thread: Leave 'em in New Guinea?

  1. #1
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    Leave 'em in New Guinea?

    ...as an aside from the 'Swamp ghost' thread.

    No! Get them out and get them out now.

    We have had the remains of four Spitfires now out of New Guinea all from the late 1970's.

    EE853, of Langdon Badger, illustrated at the South Australia Aviation Museum at Port Adelaide, which formerly opened in it's new location this past Saturday. Here is a shot that I took in March of this year.

    We have JG891 shortly to fly this year at Duxford.

    LZ844 has been crafted into a static and is now in Brisbane

    EF545 is the 'starter kit' for a further flying Mk V in the UK.

    All massive investments in time and money.

    All these aircraft in 1977 were right on the brink of being lost and would most certainly have been consumed by further degradation and corrosion by now.

    I would make one exception...and I do have the privilege of being an Eco tourist, the the recovery of BR545 from the Regent River in North Australia by the RAAF was best not done if all that you are going to do with it is watch it turn to dust in a storage area. It looked so exciting in the photos of it in the river and so miserable at Point Cook when last I saw it.

    Mark

    Last edited by Mark12; 24th May 2006 at 13:25.

  2. #2
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    I agree with Mk 12.
    We either rescue planes now or watch them eventually vanish.

    Hopefully, Swamp Ghost wil be restored to fly.
    Otherwise I'm not sure if there is much difference between leaving it where it was and being a dusty museum exhibit.

    (Although I will also point out that what makes this AC special is that unlike most surviving Flying Fortresses this is an "E" with a combat history.)
    There are two sides to every story. The truth is usually somewhere between the two.

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    i totally agree with mark12, if the b17 was left where it was, eventually it would degrade into a big pile of rust. i do feel some sympathy toward the local tourist board, but surely such a rare aircraft is better to be seen by millions of people either in a museam or as a flying tribute to those who fought and died trying to bring back freedom to that part of the world.

    Also can anybody shed light on whether the usaaf or raf ever buried complete aircraft in crates in these sorts of areas (i.e burma, PNG, guadacanal etc) or is it wishful thinking on someones part? :diablo:
    I PITY THE FOOL

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by J Boyle
    I agree with Mk 12.
    We either rescue planes now or watch them eventually vanish.

    Hopefully, Swamp Ghost wil be restored to fly.
    Otherwise I'm not sure if there is much difference between leaving it where it was and being a dusty museum exhibit.

    (Although I will also point out that what makes this AC special is that unlike most surviving Flying Fortresses this is an "E" with a combat history.)
    I agree that valuable warbirds should be taken out of the 'wild' when they are being degraded by the elements, souvenir hunters and whatever else. However, I am more and more in favour of preservation rather than restoration, particularly when you have an aircraft with combat history. Restoration to fly necessarily rips out a lot of original material, and a lot of so called restoration in the past has destroyed original features that could teach us and future generations about the history of the aircraft and the type. Look at the recently released 'KD431: Time Capsule Fighter' about the FAA Museum's Corsair for an example of just how much can be learned by keeping aircraft in their original condition. (Ironically, much of KD431's originality was preserved under a layer of paint applied in the 60s to tart the aircraft up, but fortunately no-one had decided to take it back to the metal and do a 'proper' job).

  5. #5
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    I'm with both camps - take 'em out of the wilds and either preserve them "as is", or restore them to fly if the money and the will is at hand.

    Clearly we can't do this with all of them, but some of them would be better than nothing...
    Daren Cogdon

    Spitfire fanatic

  6. #6
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    Their argument seems to be that these aircraft are a vital part of their tourist economy. This is foolhardy at best. If they have not done enough to attract tourists, other than to offer crashed aircraft scattered across the islands, then they will be in serious trouble in the future.

    Whilst I am not sure we should recover absolutely everything that is scattered across the globe, at the risk of devaluing what is already out there, there is clearly some market in some of the airframes remaining in New Guinea. However, we should be aware that these are also part of New Guineas heritage, as well as being part of the global scene.

    In the past, some airframes have been traded out in exchange for restoration work being carried out for the national museum, and this is clearly a win-win situation. However, many airframes have also been lost as a result of scrap merchants moving in to clear airframes, and they are not licensed by anyone. The government therefore need to ensure they are in control of what is happening before issuing too many edicts...

    So, broadly, I am in favour of their recovery, but we should be aware of the historical value of these artefacts elsewhere. As far as airworthy restorations are concerned, in many cases, I suspect they are too far gone to be economically restored, and the resultant airframe will have only a tiny proportion of original material incorporated.


    Bruce

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    If the crew is lost with the aircraft is it deemed a war grave?

    If not or there's no crew lost with it I say get them out and into a more suitable home.
    Go Braves!

  8. #8
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    It gets a lot harder if you put yourself in PNG.

    (Both literally and figuratively! )

    The people who own the land that Swamp Ghost were on have lost an income earner from people who visited that aircraft. Not a lot of people, not a lot of money. But there, it was a worthwhile income stream to them. Remember the wants of people there are different to ours and warbird hunter or visitors cash, small it may be, went a long way there. Now it's stopped. Dead.

    To the locals (not the politicos in the PNG offices) it's an asset that cannot be replaced. They are certainly not going to able to go and see it (even if they wanted to) somewhere else, so to them, it's a total loss.

    For those they deploy the 'it's decaying & will vanish' argument, ironically it's in better condition than the Castle AFB Liberator was in US hands in the USA before it came to, and was restored by, Duxford. In that swamp the Ghost was good for a long time yet. The worst threat was actually damage or souverneering by westerners.

    Like most of us, those people probably have little time for their government and its actions. I rarely agree with my PM and Arts Minister or Minister for Tourism, and as for my newspapers... It's not that different in principle in PNG, but there's a lot more problems there as well. Don't assume the local people of PNG are spoken for by the Government or any of the other parties sounding off.

    No one asked the people of PNG if they'd like W.W.II to be fought over them. The support the Papuans and others gave us was excellent. However, since W.W.II we've done relatively little for them and it's easy to see (from a PNG point of view) as a lot of take and little give. A lot of their people died in a war that didn't make a lot of difference to their quality of life. Had the Japanese won, it would have been worse; but it's hardly better than it was pre-war - not a great achievement by the Allies, I'm afraid. They live in the world as it is, and it's tough - telling them it's better than it might have been is a short conversation.

    There were two Bostons restored by the RAAF, one for PNG, one for the RAAF Museum. The PNG machine is in Queensland, awaiting a suitable display venue for it to go into in PNG. The RAAF machine is on display. All honourable, above board, agreed, signed and sealed. But there's no Boston back in PNG. It doesn't need much of a rabble rousing politician to make hay with that kind of situation.

    There is a danger of not respecting other people's culture and values. At the end of the day, they are just tools. Strangely they mean different things to those who used them, and those they crashed on. But it would hurt no-one to take a bit of time to try and see the other guy's point of view.

    Like a lot of ghosts, when tackled some of the mystery and history just vanished. I'm open to different views, but it's easy to support our own and ignore the others. Cultural imperialism is a nasty problem.
    James K

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  9. #9
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    Hi James--

    Thanks much for that reminder that things are always more complex than they might seem.

    The references to tourism and to the Boston airframe stored in Oz on behalf of the PNG museum give me ideas: What's the chance funds could be raised to put up an uncomplicated steel hangar at one of the old airfields, perhaps a cooperative venture between PNG and the west? Doesn't need to be an AAM type structure to be sound and serviceable...and the treasures that could then be housed right in the environs where this major campaign was fought, would surely be a tourist draw far beyond a crumbling alloy hulk in the bush (however eerie and poignant the latter is). Is this worth thinking about, or is it just nuts?

    Cheers

    S.

    PS--one irrelevant quibble: the AAM Liberator came from Lackland (Texas), not Castle (California)...but yeah, she was rough.

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    War bird relics in the Pacific can, and do, create valuable tourist dollars for the community. I refer you here . However, the current situation on Guadalcanal would not make it a nice place to visit (unless you are an Aussie Peacekeeper )

    Do the locals have any real right to these relics? They are owned by the government, but when you have paid thousands for your holiday to PNG, you do not mind shelling out another couple of dollars to see what the locals only consider to be a pile of rust that earns them enough for a few beers. They honestly do not see what all the fuss is about.

    As far as other reasons for tourism to the area, they have little in the way of the kind of culture that draws people to, say Italy. It is a very tough place to visit, but very rewarding. Anything they can offer in addition to Malaria is welcolmed

    DS


    DS
    Never underestimate the power of human stupidity.

  11. #11
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    I know several of the New Guinea recoverers. So not being specific, one told me a couple of years ago that they were were due by appointment, following procedures, to look at at something 'special' at a fairly remote spot.

    The area agent had notified the local chief of the impending visit and the reason, as per the procedures.

    When they arrived, a matter of a few weeks later, there was the impression in the ground together with a few 'chippings' where said 'something special' had been chopped up for 'x'USD a kilo and sold to the ever present scrapmen.

    Ge 'em out now.

    Mark

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    I think it's worth pointing out that in the late 1940's and 50's the Australians and Japanese scrap merchants pretty much picked clean PNG . Anything that was easily accessible was had - the wrecks that remain largely do so because of where they are i.e in a swamp ala 'Swamp Ghost' .
    Whether it's right or wrong that locals should decide to scrap something that has been abandoned for years remains to be seen - maybe they would argue that if we hadn't have been so efficient in the Western world at scrapping our aviation heritage we wouldn't be making the trip to take their's.

  13. #13
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    No, get them out now. Same goes for the Norwegian and UK hill side wrecks
    We are working on the underwater wrecks here in Holland

    Preservation is not only for this and the next generation but for the generations after that. Or we are being too egoistic?

    Cees

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    Using Swamp Ghost as an example. How many folks actually see it in New Guiniea, vs how many will see it if it's returned and restored in the US?

    If the driving force is local economy of a few people, with the plane being seen by very few, it seems a short sighted approach to preserving the history.

    But it's always about the money isn't it?

    Having it turn to rust and dust and disappearing does little to preserve the history. That to me seems to be the overriding concern. Preserve the history.

    It's a bit like that B29 on the bottom of Lake Mead being "preserved" on the bottom. Preserved for who? The very few divers who can actually visit it?

    Why not preserve it for many more to see by raising it before it's too late?

    Wish I had the cash.

    Dan

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by HP57
    No, get them out now. Same goes for the Norwegian and UK hill side wrecks
    We are working on the underwater wrecks here in Holland

    Preservation is not only for this and the next generation but for the generations after that. Or we are being too egoistic?

    Cees
    In my considered opinion not egotistic. Realistic.

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    I'm with JDK on this. I think it is arrogant and self-serving for any of us to decide that what is best for the historical aviation preservationist community, or for the overlapping but different historical aviation restorationist community, should take precedence over the wishes and perhaps the best interests of the local community. (I should point out that these are all, in a global sense, very small communities.) As to ownership, I believe that the people of PNG have at least as strong a claim on that as anyone else. And if lives were lost and remains unrecovered, the site should be considered a a gravesite until the remains have been repatriated. From my perspective, unless there has been some negotiated compensation, it sounds like the salvaging of this aircraft is something that was perpetrated upon the local community, and perhaps upon the families of the dead, by outside interests that simply had more power.

    Now, I fully understand the rarity of the B-17E model and the value of having physical access to an example of one. Accordingly, I think it would be wrong to destroy its originality in order to make it fly. Relatively speaking, there are LOTS of B-17's in the air today, and some of them are having trouble finding funding to keep them airborne. So what it boils down to is this:

    1) The local community should be compensated, if that has not already been done, perhaps by returning the Boston to PNG, suitably housed, as Steve T suggests. Perhaps it is better done by cataloguing other wrecks and lending some marketing savvy to nurture a tourist economy. Maybe there is another way, but compensation there should be.
    2) We as a community should preserve the B-17E, but not destroy its originality through restoration. If someone absolutely has to see a B-17E in the air, let it either be built new or wait until more wrecks have been found so the rarity is not as acute an issue.
    3) We as a community should support the upkeep of the B-17's that can still fly and fight for funds and for a social/political/economic climate that will allow them to survive (or even flourish?).

    Just my two cents worth...

    Harald

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    Quote Originally Posted by Harald
    I'm with JDK on this. I think it is arrogant and self-serving for any of us to decide that what is best for the historical aviation preservationist community, or for the overlapping but different historical aviation restorationist community, should take precedence over the wishes and perhaps the best interests of the local community. (I should point out that these are all, in a global sense, very small communities.) As to ownership, I believe that the people of PNG have at least as strong a claim on that as anyone else. And if lives were lost and remains unrecovered, the site should be considered a a gravesite until the remains have been repatriated. From my perspective, unless there has been some negotiated compensation, it sounds like the salvaging of this aircraft is something that was perpetrated upon the local community, and perhaps upon the families of the dead, by outside interests that simply had more power.

    Now, I fully understand the rarity of the B-17E model and the value of having physical access to an example of one. Accordingly, I think it would be wrong to destroy its originality in order to make it fly. Relatively speaking, there are LOTS of B-17's in the air today, and some of them are having trouble finding funding to keep them airborne. So what it boils down to is this:

    1) The local community should be compensated, if that has not already been done, perhaps by returning the Boston to PNG, suitably housed, as Steve T suggests. Perhaps it is better done by cataloguing other wrecks and lending some marketing savvy to nurture a tourist economy. Maybe there is another way, but compensation there should be.
    2) We as a community should preserve the B-17E, but not destroy its originality through restoration. If someone absolutely has to see a B-17E in the air, let it either be built new or wait until more wrecks have been found so the rarity is not as acute an issue.
    3) We as a community should support the upkeep of the B-17's that can still fly and fight for funds and for a social/political/economic climate that will allow them to survive (or even flourish?).

    Just my two cents worth...

    Harald
    I agree - but I think they would welcome some mosquito nets and anti-parasite medication over a preserved bomber

    DS

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  19. #19
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    Dan - I think in the last sixty four years more PNG people have seen Swamp Ghost than any other nationality. The notion is great of more people being able to see something but how many B-17's are preserved in Australia and surrounding nations?
    She has a clear history in that war zone and whilst I am not advocating keeping her out in the swamp maybe some thought could be given to helping the heritage of PNG.

  20. #20
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    'Land owners' have been compensated for wrecks recovered many a time, with far more money than any tourist operation will bring in. I know one guy who not only had to pay for the wreck, but also had to put the land owners kids thorough college as part of the deal.
    There have also been many offers to build new museum buildings for the War Museum over the years as compensation for wrecks, along with similar offers to restore a second example of a type as part of a trade....for one reason or another none ( except the A-20 example ) have proceeded.........they could have a world class facility and 'tourist attraction' long ago but for all the infighting.
    The Govt. preaches that these wrecks are 'protected' heritage items...seems they don't bother to let the scrap dealers in on the secret.

    Dave
    Last edited by DaveM2; 25th May 2006 at 01:21.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harald
    3) We as a community should support the upkeep of the B-17's that can still fly and fight for funds and for a social/political/economic climate that will allow them to survive (or even flourish?).

    Just my two cents worth...

    Harald
    One thing to fight here is legislation. The latest laws here in Europe which put B-17s in brackets with 737s etc. Insurance/liability premiums which means you gotta take out a second morgage to fly your plane. While I'm happy that Richard Branson coughed up some cash for Sally B' last year, that is only a short-term solution. It is the law which has to be challenged. If not the idiots in Brussels will just get away with it, and come up with new and tighter laws that will eventually strangle the vintage aviation as we know it.

    T J
    "And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who would attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee!!!"

    Jules Winnfield 1994

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by JDK
    It gets a lot harder if you put yourself in PNG.
    Cultural imperialism is a nasty problem.

    JDK,
    Your overall point is well taken, but I think you're reaching a bit far on this.

    It's not like the B-17E was indigenous to PNG. It was neither built or crewed by the local population. And it crashed there less than a lifetime ago...as things go, not exactly a long-time part of the local landscape.
    It's hardly a case of someone (the British Museum and the Greek antiquities to name the most famous case) taking a culture's historic artifacts.


    As a cultural artifact a far better case can be made for it being in downtown Seattle than PNG.

    To the vast majority of the locals it was nothing more than a piece of litter...and as been mentioned by Mark12, only its remote location kept it from being collected and scrapped decades ago by the locals (who would have been glad for the metal to make pots and shelter with or the few coins they would have been paid by a scrapman).
    Even in today's enlightened times, the wreckage would have been collected before moss grew on it (if for no other reasons than environmental concerns).

    Would those who have criticized its recovery have complained it it was a Sterling, Lancaster or Halifax?
    How "rare" does a plane have to be to warrant its recovery versus a slow disappearance by corrosion or vandals?
    What of the recovery of the Hailfax that's now on display in Canada? Should that have been left in place (and that also had the element of being a war grave)?
    And what of the aircraft found in India, Russia and other places? To say this recovery was wrong would mean you'd have rewrite the entire warbird recovery/preservation movement. Where would it end?
    Last edited by J Boyle; 25th May 2006 at 04:38.
    There are two sides to every story. The truth is usually somewhere between the two.

  23. #23
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    From a PNG newspaper, a reasoned voice amongst the hysteria:


    The Swamp Ghost saga
    BY all means let Papua New Guinea make sensible diplomatic arrangements to retain the grounded World War Two bomber, dubbed the Swamp Ghost.
    While the issue is scarcely in the same category as the Public Accounts Committee investigations, the numerous leadership tribunal hearings currently underway, or PNG’s battle against rape, sorcery and murder, a case can be made out for the downed bomber’s retention in this country.
    At the same time, we should avoid knee-jerk reactions and acknowledge a few facts.
    The aircraft presumably remains the property of the United States Air Force.
    We imagine that it would have great historical significance to those Americans who fought in WWII in our country, and to their descendants.
    We would do well to recognise why the Americans were fighting in our country at the time, and to calmly assess the contribution their involvement and that of the Australians made to the preservation of our freedom and the development of the independent state of Papua New Guinea.
    Had those efforts failed, landowners in the area where the Swamp Ghost was shot down might not today own any land at all.
    The Boeing B-17 bomber was downed in 1942, while returning from a raid on Japanese-held Rabaul.
    That’s 64 years ago.
    It would seem that during that long period, only the Americans have expressed any interest in the stranded plane.
    According to a local historian, three attempts have been made by American groups to salvage the aircraft and return it to the United States.
    To the best of our knowledge, no attempts have been made by any Papua New Guinean government or by the local landowners, to take advantage of the bomber, to preserve it, or in any way to create a tourist attraction from the plane’s presence.
    The clear message PNG has sent to the outside world has been one of suspicion over attempts to salvage and preserve the plane, while making no effort to do so itself.
    Let’s be honest.
    This country’s reputation for preserving contemporary history, including WWII relics, has been almost entirely negative.
    Almost all of the recognised connections with WWII that still remain in our country have been ignored, vandalised or simply forgotten.
    Nor is our record with those remaining vestiges of our own history any better.
    Only a tiny handful of our people displayed even the slightest interest in saving the birthplace of our independence, the House of Assembly.
    It is almost inconceivable that given the chance to preserve that building for posterity, we allowed it to house squatters who ultimately destroyed any possibility of restoration.
    Future generations will be scathing in their assessment of our apathy over that issue.
    PNG is littered with battle sites, remarkable wartime and historical cemeteries, and a host of other relics rotting away in our harsh climate. Very few indeed have been carefully maintained and are available for tourist inspection.
    There are dozens of fascinating wrecks in many of our harbours; there has been no attempts made to salvage any of these as aspects of our national history. In general, they have become havens for divers and fish, or have been plundered for anything of value that remained.
    The Fairfax Harbour wreck of the Burns Philp passenger ship, the MV Macdhui, a far more important war relic than the Swamp Ghost, has been allowed to rust away to near invisibility.
    The sea grave of many Port Moresby residents trapped when the ship was strafed on June 17 and 18, 1942, by Japanese bombers, the Macdhui should have been preserved as a maritime memorial park, a fitting tribute to the many innocent civilians who were slaughtered on board.
    Our government should step back from the outburst of passionate nationalism that has erupted over the Swamp Ghost.
    If it is thought to be a matter of national importance to keep this plane in PNG, then we should pursue the matter through appropriate diplomatic channels.
    But at the same time, we should look back with candour at our own poor record of preserving or capitalising upon the huge range of wartime and
    other historical relics that have waited in vain for funding, for the people’s interest, and for positive action to ensure their survival.

  24. #24
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    For me, the Swamp Ghost is a tangible reminder that the landowners of PNG have already been compensated--with private ownership of land. This opportunity would not have been possible under Japanese rule. Far too many Australian and American boys paid a heavy price for this advantage the locals enjoy today. I think PNG has already been paid in full for Swamp Ghost and any other allied war relic retrieved.

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    I fully agree with Mark 12.And it is not only the Americans who had eyes on Swampy,know of a coupla guys here that would have loved to have gotten it if we were a little(well a lot)richer.My brother works at a scrap dealer in Brizzy and once a month a container load of metal comes down from PNG.He has told me of aircraft parts in amongst the scrap as well as shell casings by the drum load.It is a thriving buisiness up there for the villagers and believe me PNG is a "lost world" with very large expanses of it unvisited by man.Not to long ago a wreck that was lost had been found along with the remains of the crew who where all listed MIA.As far as parts being discarded from fliers,hell send them up here so we can get patterns off them to build our plane.Also they can make great static displays in their own right.And the collectors will go ape over any original part these days so sell them off to generate a bit of cash for your project.Well done to the lads to seal the deal and hopefully one day old Swampy will rumble the air in the southern hemisphere..."Please,please,please,please.!!"..Is BR545 still in its fishtank??All the action seems to be down at the bottom end of the country,will have to do a trip down there one day and see what the excitement is all about.

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    The original thread mentions one of the recoverers, Fred Hagen ,is he the chap that was featured in the "Lost Bomber" programe, in which he searches PNG for his uncle's(?) B25 ?
    Why be your own worse critic, that's what the forum is for.

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    I'm being provocative, of course. Thanks for those who've made thoughtful posts on the subject.
    Quote Originally Posted by J Boyle
    Your overall point is well taken, but I think you're reaching a bit far on this.
    Maybe. I was just trying to promote a bit of thought and some alternative points of view. As to the cultural imperialism tag, few here on the forum have demonstrated any understanding of the needs or belief systems of the people in PNG. Right now, they have more urgent needs than a load of old aeroplanes, but that does not mean that one day they may not regret a loss to their environment for a quick buck. That is in that specific aspect a direct comparison to the Elgin Marbles.

    As a cultural artefact a far better case can be made for it being in downtown Seattle than PNG.
    Exactly. But a good case does not mean that all other cases are invalid, or stupid or just a bunch of greedy locals. It's been skated over that we've left it there for over 60 years (a goodish stature of limitation period) and it's not like we are hurting for other B-17s.

    If it had been used as scrap by the locals it would have done people who'd appreciate the metal some good. But previously we (non-PNG folks) just wanted the aircraft for scrap for cash. Now we want it to 'preserve'. Well, if it's to fly, then that will be a waste, and precious little of the real 'Swamp Ghost' will kiss the sky again. I remember reading the Pacific Wrecks book and being 'spooked' by the eeriness of the Swamp Ghost's story. That's over now, and presented in a hangar, fully restored also sanitises that history.

    What of the recovery of the Hailfax that's now on display in Canada? Should that have been left in place (and that also had the element of being a war grave)?
    As it wasn't visible, wasn't a destination, and no-one gained in any way from its location, it's not a fair comparison. I note you've avoided my mention of the comparison to the B-24 from Lackland Tx. (Thanks for the correction by SteveT) Care to comment on Texan care for a B-24?

    And what of the aircraft found in India, Russia and other places? To say this recovery was wrong would mean you'd have rewrite the entire warbird recovery/preservation movement. Where would it end?
    Good point. And so what? The warbird interest is great, but it's not more important than everything else. Bluntly, it's a hobby for some, and a secondary activity for others. Museums and memorials, as we consider them, are the products of communities with excess cash and time; they are not, and never have been, a primary requirement for life.
    Quote Originally Posted by DaveM2
    There have also been many offers to build new museum buildings for the War Museum over the years as compensation for wrecks, along with similar offers to restore a second example of a type as part of a trade....for one reason or another none ( except the A-20 example ) have proceeded.........they could have a world class facility and 'tourist attraction' long ago but for all the infighting.
    AFAIK, Dave's quite right. While PNG getting a display building with the environmental control required to preserve the Boston is a good idea, it will continue to be a nice to have against the political issues and needs of PNG for some time. Would you like mosquito nets (as Doc S said) or a museum? There's an answer implicit in the question. What do you really NEED?

    tbyguy. Did you read my post? Yours is a very Allied-centric view. I don't think the folks in PNG would entirely agree. I suggest you try and present that point of view in PNG. You aren't wrong, but we hardly bust a gut in the USA or Australia to help PNG post-war. Being better than the W.W.II Japanese was an easy position to adopt. A lot of the rights of a case depend on where you stand.

    ****

    Just something else to think about. I grew up fascinated by W.W.II aircraft. As an adult, however, I realise that much as most commemoration is to be applauded, it's a very poor substitute for not having looked after our veterans very well.

    I stood on Tuesday watching a Tiger Moth fly. A old man I got chatting to turned out to have been an English wireless op on Halifaxes. He didn't say a lot, but he's done one tour, two ops on a second, shot down, captured, prison camp... Very average, very extraordinary. Lives, very happily, in New Zealand today. Which is more 'important'? Looking after him and his squadron mates, or the Tiger Moth?

    The dead can't argue; so they get the memorials we choose. The living who survived W.W.II got, in many cases in Europe, Britain, N.America, and the antipodes a cr@p deal. Recovering, polishing and presenting an aircraft, while laudable, is not a good enough substitute for the failures of our societies to make a 'world fit for heroes.'

    Yes, I'm being awkward (Mark12 was looking for debate) and I've an open mind as to what should happen, and I know what's is probably going to happen.
    James K

    Looking and thinking...
    Vintage Aero Writer: Blog & Details

  28. #28
    Join Date
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    Well said JDK and today a lot of the Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels still havent recieved compensation or payment for duties carried out at Kokoda during the war.They only did what any human would have done in those attrocious conditions,without compaints or selfish motives.There are a lot of stirrings about recoveries in PNG these last 12 or so months.It is good to hear that the Boston is going up there as it is only gathering dust as it is in a quiet hangar corner at Amberly.Put it out to the public and let them enjoy it.

  29. #29
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    Dec 1999
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    Tbyguy - I think that's a little simplistic. Whilst the PNG people do indeed enjoy the freedoms of not having Japanese landlords - the reality was of an advance towards Australia and the need to stop it. The mines of PNG also provided many opportunities
    for Western interests to gain rich resources. There were very good reasons for stopping the Japanese there and many PNG people paid a price during the very intense fighting that took place. The B-17 was abandoned there - it wasn't loaned or just left for a little while ! Whilst the opportunities for recovery have greatly increased over the last thirty years - it doesn't mean that other people's heritage should be fair game!

  30. #30
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Posts
    165
    Fair enough. What was stated was, after all, only an opinion.

    I can't help but wonder how the discussion would flow if Swamp Ghost was an ex-RAF-operated Short Stirling.

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