From reading the book it seems only NZ5394 crashed on land and was salvageable. The others lost in the area were in the sea. I am not sure when the attempt was made to get it out to NZ but he said it was around the time PNG took over Bouganville and the rules changed.
Can't help on where it is now, but June 1990 of NZ Wings has this description of the reasons behind NZ5394's crash:
Coral dust had a more sinister effect, leading to the death of a young Flying Officer after takeoff in NZ5394 from North Piva strip on Bougainville in June 1945. Two previous flights in the same aircraft had resulted in loss of power after takeoff; one pilot continuing and completing the mission while another jettisoned his bomb load and landed. A fuel block was surmised as the problem and the carburettor replaced. However, following F/O Graham Howie's fatal crash, the problem was diagnosed as an accumulation of coral dust restricting fuel flow to the supercharger at high power settings; all P&W R2800 engines were modified as a result.
Post by Dave Homewood on Apr 19, 2013 16:57:28 GMT 12
Here is the reply from Bryan Cox:
"I have just re-read the section in Wings Over New Zealand and can answer the various queries if you could put my email address on your website - but that may not be possible??
Yes I think the aircraft in your website is definitely 5394 - but probably taken many years earlier, before some of the collateral damage now visible in Gunner Ashford's photos taken 2011. There are a couple of similar markings such as the one on the fuselage just behind the cockpit, and just below and to the rear of the tip of the native's gun barrel, in the photo attached. The native sitting in front of the rudder has his hands where the small square panel is lying open, and it is partially open in the photo in your website.
The person who almost managed to recover it many years ago is Ross Jowitt who runs the pilots shop at Ardmore called FLIGHT ACCESSORIES with his contact details available on Google. He even had a helicopter arranged before its removal was blocked politically - probably when PNG took over Bougainville, but Ross will know.
That's about all I can help with, but am happy to answer any email queries.
Post by agalbraith on Apr 20, 2013 12:25:27 GMT 12
Possibly it is this one then??
This was the same pic I was sent a few years back, but since turned up on Pacific wrecks.com site.
I have others taken off the site some time ago of the same airframe and parts dragged out in the open, stating an ex RNZAF machine attempted to be recovered to Australia. I cant find it on the site anymore for some reason as I was going to post a link.
Shame they never recovered her...or did they??? Would love to know
Last Edit: Apr 20, 2013 12:28:15 GMT 12 by agalbraith
Gents, I found this aircraft in November 1998 whilst serving as a NZ Army Officer during Operation Bel Isi II. My patrol had established a base in nearby Torokina. We had heard that there was an NZ plane in the jungle but had been unable to locate it so decided the visit a locally known US crash site. When we arrived at the site 5394 had reverted to her US paint work (hence the thought is was a US wreck) but the NZ number could be clearly seen under the tail plane where the paint was better preserved. The local chief had the pilots seat as a kind of throne. The plane was remarkably intact but every metre or so had a concertina in the skin demonstrating the impact had been sudden. The engine had been thrown forward off of the mounts several metres. From recollection the guns were still in the wings but no ammo. I took photos and a GPS fix which I provided to RNZAF on my return to NZ. As a layman, the crash looked survivable so it was sad to hear that the airman had lost his life in this accident.