Port Moresby Museum

Series of photographs taken in Oct 2002 of the remaining aircraft in the Museum. The South Australian Museum had been able to get at least two of the P-38 Lightning’s out and I was told that they were in the process of grabbing the Tony or Kawasaki Ki-61 Hien 飛燕.

On Display:

Consolidated B-24D-130-CO Liberator 'Weezie' Serial Number 42-41081

USAAF 5th AF 22nd BG 19th BS

Former Units:
90th BS

Crew 2nd Lt Robert E. Allred, O-679012
Crew S/Sgt Robert C. Thompson, 34394642
Crew 2nd Lt Raymond J. Geis, O-815308
Crew Sgt Clint P. Butler, 6939262
Crew 2nd Lt Keith I. Holm, O-752491
Crew Sgt Stanley C. Lawrence, 20656522
Crew Captain Charles Ramacd, 734785
Crew Sgt Charles Samples Jr., 15069733
Crew 2nd Lt Stanley G. Gross, O-744980
Crew T/4 Joseph E. Kachorek, 33170120
Crew 2nd Lt Charles R. Steiner, O-749103
Crew Cpl Joseph B. Mettam, 39109096
Crew 2nd Lt Melvin F. Walker, O-737508
Crew Pfc Carlin E. Loop, 37495005
Crew 2nd Lt Emory C. Young, O-811487
Crew Sgt Harold T, Atkins, 19018763 (22nd BG)
Crew Sgt Weldon W, Frazier, 6282510 (345th BG)
Crew S/Sgt Thomas Carpenter Jr., 7080836 (5th BC)
Crew S/Sgt Frank Ginter, 20283103 (43rd BG)
Crew S/Sgt William M, Shrake, 35092402
Crew S/Sgt John J. Staseowski, 31007362 (38th BG)
Crashed March 22, 1944
MACR 4090

Aircraft History
Constructors Number 2158.

Mission History
Took off from 7-Mile Drome on a courier flight to Nadzab Airfield. Crashed into Mount Thumb, killing all aboard: the crew of 3 and 19 passengers.

The crash site was discovered in the early 1980's, and reported to Bruce Hoy, then curator of the PNG Museum Modern History Department.

Remains Recovery
The site was visited in 1982 by US Army CILHI to recover the remains for identification.

The PNG Museum has a display about this aircraft, including the tail stabalizer and artifacts recovered from the crash site displayed in the indoor gallery.

A Missing Plane deals with the history, discovery and recovery and identification of crew members from this aircraft.

'Assisting to preserve and protect PNG's unique cultural, national & contemporary heritage'
Acting Director - Simon Piratouk (2005 - present)
Past Director - Soroi Marepo Eoe (1988 - 2005)
Science Director - Senea Greh

PNG War Museum (Modern History Department)
Ahuia Street, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
Curator - Mark Katakumb, (Principal Curator) John Lelai (Senior Technical Officer)
Past Curators - Senea Greh (2000 - 2002), Francesca Drapuluvik (1997-2000) Charlie Wintawa (1993 - 1999) Maclaren Hiari (1993 -1988), Bruce Hoy (1978 - 1988).

The National Museum's 'War Museum' is part of the Department of Modern History Museum, located in Port Moresby, also there is a branch at Rabaul, the Kokopo War Museum. Sometimes called the 'PNG War Museum', this is a branch of the National museum with the country's 'Modern History' collection of the 20th century, that include a fascinating collection of WWII aircraft, vehicles, relics and other displays.

Multiple Museum Names
The museum was known by several names during its history: 'Papua New Guinea National Museum's War Museum', then 'Aviation, Maritime and War Branch' and then finally, 'Department of Modern History'

Formation of the Museum
Arguably, its collection is one of the most impressive in the world in terms of historical value and rarity. The museum was formed by the Board of Trustees of the National Museum in April 1978, with the Museum begriming in September 1978. Bruce Hoy was its first curator, from 1978-88 who acquired many of the museum's most impressive pieces.

Its collections include items that were once part of the earlier (pre-PNG independence) Territory War Memorial Trust, Air Museum of Papua New Guinea both private organizations and private collections. Items held by Bill Chapman were held on behalf of either The Territory War Memorial Trust or the Air Museum of Papua New Guinea, as Bill was chairman of both organizations. The museum is housed in a small building, and only has limited weekday hours. Its collection is divided into three areas: outside display area, indoors display area, and a back room storage area (normally not open to visitors).

The museum is in charge of all wartime relics in PNG, and works in conjunction with organizations like CILHI when MIA sites are discovered, and in the past with restoration organizations to authorize preservation of aircraft in its collection. Today it also investigates and attempts to prevent scrapping and illegal export of relics. Some of its collection is on loan overseas, like portions of the Yamamoto's G4M1 Betty to the Yamamoto Museum, and C-47 'Flying Dutchman' Door to USAF Museum in Dayton, Ohio, USA.

Indoor Gallery
The museum's main gallery are two rooms with many wartime artifacts, photographs and relics related to the war in Papua New Guinea.

G4M1 Betty 2656 Tail Number T1-323

Fuselage door, Yamamoto's seat and outer wing (permanent loan at Yamamoto Museum)

C-47A 'Flying Dutchmen' 41-18564

Door diary (replica, original permanent loan to USAF Museum) and nose art fragment.

B-24D Liberator 42-41081
Tail fin displayed, recovered from MIA crash site of 22 Americans.

Aircraft Collection
The museum has a collection of World War II aircraft recovered from the local area. Some have disappeared, been sent overseas for restoration, and others are being restored for eventual return.

Ford Tri-Motor 5-AT A45-1
Recovered from Lake Myola displayed unrestored at the museum

CAC CA-1 Wirraway Tail Code A20-13
Donated to the PNG Museum, static display in storage in backroom

P-38F-5-LO 'Dottie From Brooklyn' 42-12647
Center section only, parts removed for restoration by Robert Greinert / HARS

Former Aircraft Collection
During 2000-2001, most of museum's aircraft were removed by two groups: Robert Greinert / HARS and '75 Squadron' to Melbourne Australia. Reportedly, these airframes were containered with other legal exports and slipped out of the country without detection.

F-5A Lightning Serial Number 42-13084
Salvaged in 1978 by Bruce Hoy to PNG War Museum, disposed in 2001 parts to Robert Geinert

P-39F Airacobra Serial Number 41-7191
Wreckage salvaged to museum, removed between late 2000 to early 2001 by '75 Squadron'

P-39 Airacobra Serial Number ?
Removed from the PNG Museum between late 2000 to early 2001 by '75 Squadron'

P-39 Airacobra Serial Number ?
Removed from the PNG Museum between late 2000 to early 2001 by '75 Squadron'

Ki-43 Oscar
Removed from the PNG Museum between late 2000 to early 2001 by '75 Squadron'

Around 2000-2001, a number of the museum's aircraft were removed by Australian restorer and collector, Robert Greinert / HARS. Some are slated to be restored and returned and others have been sold to other collectors.

Kawasaki Ki-61 Tony Constructor's Number 640
Removed for restoration to Australia by Robert Greinert / HARS

P-40E-1 Serial Number 41-36166

Removed in 2001 by Robert Greinert / HARS, wing set now in South Australia

P-39D-1BE Serial Number 41-38351

Removed in 2001 by Robert Greinert / HARS, now in Sydney Australia.

P-47D Thunderbolt 'Frankie' Serial Number 42-8130
Given to Robert Greinert / HARS, sold to PIMA Aviation Museum


 Port Moresby Papua New Guinea Map

This webpage was updated 27th January 2020