Solomons WWII era ordnance disposal goes well

Discussion in 'War Against Japan' started by adam elliott, Jul 2, 2013.

  1. adam elliott

    adam elliott Junior Member

  2. Mike L

    Mike L Very Senior Member

    Cheers for that update Adam.

    I had heard about this operation but still have a couple of queries.
    Clearance ongoing since 1945? Surely a concerted effort chould have cured the problem many years ago, I presume there have been several schemes but not continuous clearance for nearly 70 years?
  3. adam elliott

    adam elliott Junior Member

    I used ongoing in terms of since I have lived in Honiara there have been repeated / ongoing efforts by Australian and New Zealand ordnance disposal teams. There have been a few by US teams, none by English teams in my time and I cannot recall any Japanese teams here to dispose of ordnance. I have lived in the Solomon since 2004.
    I think an issue is that after the war there were so many stores of any kind that much of the gear - including explosives - was buried and left or dumped in the sea. I know the school at Tenaru, aka Hells Point, had strict rules that students not leave school grounds because of UXB. These have waned over the last few years as more concerted efforts have been made to clear out Hells Point. Now much of that area is being cleared for police and prison services residential compound........
    The amount of remaining ordinance though is huge. Much of the impetus for the recent clean ups came because militants involved in the 1999 - 2003 ethnic tension used a lot of discarded gear, especially the Guadalcanal militants who used 50 cal rounds (fired through galvanised pipe) and larger explosives (to try and blow up a bridge). The more domesticed use now is to carefully cut the ordnance in half with a hack saw and cooking oil, to get at the cordite to impovise a bomb for fishing on the coral reefs. of course somemes it works.... some times someoe gets a face blown off
    sandwichery likes this.
  4. adam elliott

    adam elliott Junior Member

  5. garynat8182

    garynat8182 Junior Member

    Speaking to a few Engineer EOD guys ... Apparently the last estimate they have is it will take at least 50 years to clear the Island chains of the majority of UXO. I don't know how accurate that account is but I think it provides a fair indication of how much Ordnance there actually is on these Islands!
  6. adam elliott

    adam elliott Junior Member

    Story from Fridays newspaper. Link to news story below

    Public urged to report finds of WWII bombs

    THE POLICE is calling on the public to report to them any sighting of World War II bombs as a precautionary measure in ensuring that people are safe from such.

    More and more discoveries of unexploded ordinances used during the World War II battle of Guadalcanal have been made, however people tend to sell them out to fishermen and others to tourists.

    “A lot of people sell these unexploded ordinances to fishermen who use them for dynamite fishing, others to tourists, whilst others collect them and just keep them as souvenirs in their homes.

    “Such is not at all safe. You find any bombs or explosives then you have to report it to the Police so that we will come collect them and have them dealt with.

    “These are for both ordinances found on land and in the sea-report such to the Police as it is very dangerous holding on to such,” Mr Kola said.

    He added that the Explosive Ordinances Division (EOD) of the RSIPF are highly qualified to handle such, therefore must be contacted immediately once any more discoveries of such are made.

    By Jeremy Inifiri
  7. adam elliott

    adam elliott Junior Member

    Old bombs to be cleared on Russells

    Friday, 25 October 2013 16:08

    MEMBERS of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) bomb disposal team will this month be assisting local police officers to clear off unexploded ordinances on Yandina, Russell Islands in the Central Islands province.
    Acting police commissioner, Juanita Matanga yesterday revealed that a team will arrive within the next couple of days before being deployed with local officers from the explosive ordinance department (EOD) of the RSIPF (Royal Solomon Islands Police Force) to help clear off various areas in Yandina whereby unexploded ordinances are believed to have been buried.
    “This is indeed a step forward for our EOD team, to be working alongside the very experienced members of the ADF.
    “The officers will be deployed to Yandina later this week and will help clear off identified areas we believe has a lot of ordinances buried,” Ms Matanga said.
    Ms Matanga also clarified why Yandina was chosen for the team.
    “We chose Yandina because of a case dated back to 2009 whereby three people including a child were killed trying to take out the powder in one of the unexploded ordinances buried there,” she said.
    Ms Matanga meanwhile called on the people of Yandina to cooperate with the team and not to interfere with them in their work.

  8. adam elliott

    adam elliott Junior Member

    World War II bombs a daily threat in Solomon Islands
    Updated 28 October 2013, 18:23 AEST

    The Australian Defence Force says the amount of unexploded bombs in Solomon Islands - left-over from World War Two - is a "scourge" that is stunting the nation's development.

    World War II bombs a daily threat in Solomon Islands (Credit: ABC)

    This week, the Australian Defence Force begins a month-long operation to remove bombs from the Islands.
    Operation "Render Safe" involves more than 200-military personnel from Australia, New Zealand, the United States and Canada.
    Commander Doug Griffiths says its the biggest operation of its type for the Solomon Islands.
    Commander Griffiths told Iskhandar Razak World War two bombs are found on a daily-basis near populated areas, and prime development land.
    Presenter: Iskhandar Razak
    Speaker: Commander Doug Griffiths, Royal Australian Navy
    GRIFFITHS: Throughout the Solomon Islands, there's an unknown quantity of unexploded ordinance, which has been left over from World War Two.
    You have to remember that Solomon Islands was at the forefront of some of the bloodiest fighting 60 years ago, with allied forces, so, of course, that's the Japanese, who had quite a significant stronghold in the islands. So with the fighting that went on there over 60 years ago, there's been quite a lot of unexploded ordinance that remains to this day.
    RAZAK: Where do we think that they are in Solomon Islands, is it well populated areas or densely populated areas?
    GRIFFITHS: It constantly turns up when they're clearing land, when they're building. This is a hazard which has been pretty much a scourge for the local population for sometime and a lot of the time they haven't had the capability or the capacity to actually deal with it on the volume that's required to be addressed. It does get reported through to the Solomon Islands Police force on a daily basis.
    RAZAK: Is this legacy from World War Two stopping Solomon Islands from developing, from using land to develop into buildings, or pastoral or agricultural areas?
    GRIFFITHS: Well, there's certainly land in the vicinity of Honiara, on the island of Guadalcanal, that we're going to be focusing a lot of time and effort into and this is an area called Hells Point. It's just adjacent to the Henderson Airfield which is Solomon Islands International Airport and that's an area has been unable to be developed, because just the sheer volume of ordinance which was left over from World War Two.
    RAZAK: What nations are involved in this operation? It's an Australian-led operation, but are there other nations involved as well?
    GRIFFITHS: Oh, absolutely. This is the first time we've actually executed render safe on this scale. As you've said, it's Australian-led and we're represented by all three services, but this time, we're joined by the New Zealand Defence Force, members of the United States Navy and the Canadian Defence Force.
    RAZAK: What role will local authorities take in Operation Render Safe?
    GRIFFITHS: Well, we plan on working alongside the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force very, very closely. They have the connections within the community, so they're able to identify where the hazards are. So we'll be working very close with the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force, as well as their Maritime Wing for some of the transport arrangements that we around the area.
    RAZAK: This isn't the first time that the Australian Defence Force has been involved getting rid of unexploded bombs from World War Two in the Pacific, but how does this operation this time around, this month-long operation compare to previous operations in Solomon Islands or Papua New Guinea?
    GRIFFITHS: Well, previously in 2011, this was the last time we conducted an operation Render Safe. We did that in the Rabaul and Kokoda area of Papua New Guinea.
    That was highly successful, and that involved New Zealand Navy as well as the Papua New Guinea Defence Force.
    This time the scale of the operation has increased obviously with the involvement of the US and Canada and we're actually focusing on a couple of different areas. So not only are we looking at the areas around Honiara, but we're also looking at the areas around the Russell Island Group, and this is an area which was specifically identified by the Solomon Islands government as an area which they had concerns of the volume of explosive remnants of war.
    RAZAK: This is a month-long operation and you've already said, we don't really know how many bombs are left over in the region from World War Two. Is one month long enough?
    GRIFFITHS: Oh, I don't think so, I don't think so. I think that if the work that we can do there in the period that we've got available. If we can focus that on removing some of the immediate threats in the areas that we're working on, to make the area safer for the local population, I think we'll have achieved our aim.
    I think that we'll make a dent, but I think it's only going to be a small one, noting the sheer volume of ordinance which continues to turn up on a daily basis.
    RAZAK: So this isn't going to be the last of the operations, I guess. We'll be back there, won't we?
    GRIFFITHS: Well, Operation Render Safe is an enduring ADF commitment to the South West Pacific, so I have no doubt that we will be back again in the Solomon Islands
  9. adam elliott

    adam elliott Junior Member

    from yesterday's news bulletin on Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation

    "RENDER SAFE" OPERATION DRAWS DOWN Posted at 17:43 hrs 28/11/2013 [​IMG]
    In brief: The Australian led Operation "Render Safe" is now drawing down this week but with over seven thousand pieces of ordinances already removed from areas within the country. The Australian led Operation "Render Safe" is now drawing down this week but with over seven thousand pieces of ordinances already removed from areas within the country.

    This was confirmed by the Operations Commander Doug Griffiths.

    But he says despite the draw down, it does not mean the hazard posed by any remaining ordinances are gone- people should report any ordinance they come across to relevant authorities.

    " anybody who may locate explosive remnants of war, bombs or hand grenades or explosive items in their yard or maybe have them in their homes, should report these to the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force and appropriately qualified E-O-D operators will remove those and dispose them safely," he said.

    Meanwhile, Commander Doug described the work done by the entire operations team as "highly rewarding and very worthwhile".

    "The work done by the Task Force has been very rewarding, everybody involved in whether they are doing the explosive remnants of all clearance, or the working in the local community on some of the aid program initiatives, have had a fantastic time working in the Solomon Islands. They've thoroughly enjoyed the experience, its been highly rewarding and very worthwhile," said Commander Doug.
  10. adam elliott

    adam elliott Junior Member

    This story in yesterday's newspaper here. JPAC have been in the Solomon Islands for a few weeks now. I understand the aeroplane is a P39 Aircobra. Link to the story here:

    US fighter plane found

    Monday, 02 December 2013 12:50

    The aircraft which was found in swampy area behind the Lau Valley near the LDA area. Photo supplied.

    The wreckage of a second world war US fighter plane 382 has been found in a swampy area behind Lau Valley, near the former livestock development authority (LDA) area in East Honiara.

    The discovery was said to have been made last year.

    The man who found the plan said following the discovery arrangement was made with the US family whose relative was the pilot of the aircraft.

    For the whole of last week a team from US including members of the immediate family of the fallen soldier have unearthed the plane with the help of locals.

    And they managed to discover the pilot’s remains with some war time items.

    Details of the aircraft and the pilot as to how and when the aircraft crashed at the site were not immediately available.

    The man who found the aircraft but declined to reveal his identity said he did found the plane last year when clearing the swampy area to plant taro.

    “I found it last year. But I do not want it to be put it out in the media.”

    With the second world war being fought in the country, many old world war relics such as aircraft and unexploded world war II ordnance, including grenades, mortars and high explosive shells are still lying around in parts of the country where the war was fought.

  11. adam elliott

    adam elliott Junior Member

    sorry all, the US fighter plane is actually a P38 Lightning. They still have not said anything more about the pilot.

    However the Premier of Guadalcanal Province has fired up on the radio with a mis-informed statement against the removal of the aeroplane without notice to his government. AFAK there is no plan to remove the aeroplance at all. Nor is there any fee to be paid to the national Government

    Link here: .


    Posted at 16:41 hrs 4/12/2013


    In brief: Guadalcanal Premier Steven Panga has condemned the removal of the U-S fighter plane from the Lau Valley Area.

    Guadalcanal Premier Steven Panga has condemned the removal of the U-S fighter plane from the Lau Valley Area.

    The war relic was discovered in the area last week by a resident of the area.

    Premier Panga said according to provincial ordinance and jurisdiction, the remains of the fighter plane is located on customary land and should not be removed.

    The premier told S-I-B-C News, the actions taken to remove the fighter plane was disrespectful to his provincial government and the Guadalcanal people.

    He said his government should have been notified before the World War 2 relic could be removed.

    Panga says those responsible for the discovery and removal of the fighter plane must follow the legal procedure.

    S-I-B-C News understands an unspecified fee will be paid to the national government for the World War 2 relic.

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