Relics of War in the Coral Sea: Traces of the Past Yr 4:03: Thursday’s Special

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© irene waters 2018

We were lucky in Weewak, the capital of Papua New Guinea’s East Sepik Province, to pick up a local girl in a brand new dual cab. Not only did we have the best guide on the island but in air conditioned comfort. The girl turned out to be the daughter of a kamakaze pilot who was lucky that the war ended before he had to suicide. At 96 he still lives in Weewak and hosts an annual pilgrimage from Japan to remember those lost and another that comes yearly searching for bones and other war wreckage.  She took us to the top of Mission Hill where a monument to the soldiers is found. The Japanese used this as a lookout being able to see Milne Bay and any ships entering.


© irene waters 2018

Occupied by the Japanese during the war the foliage gave perfect hiding spot for the heavy artillery.

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© irene waters 2018


© irene waters 2018

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© irene waters 2018


© irene waters 2018

In Rabaul the Japanese built over 300 miles of underground tunnels, an engineering feat designed to conceal munitions stores, hospitals and more.

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© irene waters 2018


© irene waters 2018

Remanants of a couple of japanes fighter planes. Prior to the volcanic erruptions of 1994, which half buried these relics in ash, they were in better condition (well as well as could be expected for a plane that has been shot down.

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© irene waters 2018

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© irene waters 2018


© irene waters 2018

On Kiriwina Island we had relics of a different kind to look at.

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© irene waters 2018

I don’t know that these are genuinely the remains of local people who fought and died in World War II. I think it much more likely that these are local remains, possibly in the resting place they have always been but the local people, poverty stricken, have discovered a new way to part the tourist from his dollar.

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© irene waters 2018

In a country where vegetation grows quickly there are still traces of the past to be seen.

In response to Paula’s Traces of the Past – A Thursday’s Special Prompt

About Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

I began my working career as a reluctant potato peeler whilst waiting to commence my training as a student nurse. On completion I worked mainly in intensive care/coronary care; finishing my hospital career as clinical nurse educator in intensive care. A life changing period as a resort owner/manager on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu was followed by recovery time as a farmer at Bucca Wauka. Having discovered I was no farmer and vowing never again to own an animal bigger than myself I took on the Barrington General Store. Here we also ran a five star restaurant. Working the shop of a day 7am - 6pm followed by the restaurant until late was surprisingly more stressful than Tanna. On the sale we decided to retire and renovate our house with the help of a builder friend. Now believing we knew everything about building we set to constructing our own house. Just finished a coal mine decided to set up in our backyard. Definitely time to retire we moved to Queensland. I had been writing a manuscript for some time. In the desire to complete this I enrolled in a post grad certificate in creative Industries which I completed 2013. I followed this by doing a Master of Arts by research graduating in 2017. Now I live to write and write to live.
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27 Responses to Relics of War in the Coral Sea: Traces of the Past Yr 4:03: Thursday’s Special

  1. Rowena says:

    My Great Uncle was stationed in Milne Bay when the Japanese attacked. I never met him and my Mum only had some very scant details, but I’ve managed to fill in a few of the gaps. It was such a rugged place to do battle and so many of the men who came back weren’t the same. t’s such a tragedy but they paid their lives for our freedom.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. calmkate says:

    yes my father was war damaged for his service in that area… nobody wins a war except the gun runners!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dimitry says:

    Unbelievable footage


  4. Rebel Girl says:

    Great photos! Something I would never get to see unless you posted them.


  5. Charli Mills says:

    Stunning photos, Irene. Just something most people wouldn’t even know about. There’s something surreal about the plane wreckage and pretty pink flowers.


  6. restlessjo says:

    So many ruined lives, Irene. Beautifully told. 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Total fascinating, Irene. Not a place I would have thought of visiting but so interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Paula says:

    Oh Irene, I am used to your posts being different, but this is a whole new category. Powerful documentary. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

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