The Parts of the P-38 Aircraft was kept in a safe and secure place in Luganville to be displayed in the Museum. Photo:SPWW2M

Harrison Selmen

A P-38 World War II fighter aircraft found on Milae Plantation on South Santo has been retrieved for the South Pacific World War II Museum (SPWW2M) in Luganville.

The parts of the aircraft was moved to Luganville two weeks ago and were kept in a safer place for the Museum.

According to information published on the South Pacific World War II Museum Facebook Page, the P-38 crashed near Bomber 3 during the war and 70-plus years later, the land owner decided to move it to the site of the South Santo Cattle Project which was later sold to Milai Plantation with the wreck sitting in their land near the beach.

Bradley Woods the Chairperson of the SPWW2M says parts of the plane were alleged to have been illegally taken away, however he delightedly reported that they are so fortunate to be able to take with them a few parts of the plane which they have salvaged.

It is alleged that in the past many of the War wreckage have been sold by landowners to interested buyers as WWII souvenirs.

Mr. Wood said a businessman from France tried to purchase the P-38 from landowners without knowing about the law of Vanuatu that any item older than 50 years are not allowed to be taken out from the country without permission from the Cultural Centre.

He said they sought permission to reclaim parts of this P-38 fighter aircraft from Mr. Nicholas Lee, owner of Milae Plantation and the landowners to have these parts retrieved from South Santo and relocated to themuseum.

They now belong to the Vanuatu Government.

Mr. Wood with help of his team moved all the parts of the aircraft to Luganville town.

He said they want to keep the aircraft for the museum as a crashed plane.

The team was able to find the serial number of the plane. It is a Lockheed, Aircraft Burrank, Corp California, and Serial N0. (1911040), Assem N0.248772.

The Lockheed P-38 Lightning was a World War II American piston-engined fighter aircraft. Designed and built according to the United States Army Air Corps requirement, the P-38 had distinctive twin booms and a central nacelle containing the cockpit and armament.

The SPWW2M development stages are going on well and recently the first volume of its newsletter called ‘untold Story Unfold’ has been launched.

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