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World War II in Solomon Islands



Peter Joseph WWII Museum, Munda, New Georgia


Peter Joseph WWII Museum pictures

Peter Joseph Museum, Munda, Solomon IslandsBy Richard Moore

Near the island’s capital of Munda there are two fascinating places.

The first is the Peter Joseph WWII Museum, which is a trove of militaria picked up on the many local battlefields, and then a number of US landing now lying at the back of a house being covered by jungle.

You are greeted at the Peter Joseph War Museum by WWII helmets and waterbottles attached to fence poles around the property.

There are American, British and Japanese ones and they make a cool, but slightly surreal, display.

Stacked at the door of the deep green building are large shell casings and on the wall is a small signs telling you this is the Peter Joseph Museum.

Peter Joseph Museum, Munda, Solomon IslandsIt is named after a United States serviceman whose dog-tags, that is discs identifying the person, the owner of the museum Barney Paulsen found one day while searching for World War II relics. (As a side note he has the permission of relatives of Peter Joseph Palatini to keep the dogtags.)

The museum is roughly double-garage sized, but it has a nassive number of artifacts to look at.

There is an array of Japanese machinegun barrels, including almost full versions of a Type 99 light mchinegun and a heavy machinegun.

There are bullets, knuckdusters, bombs, a barrel of a mountain gun, bayonets, water canteens and glass bottles.

Almost all of the artifacts are rusting and have seen better days but this adds to the feel of the museum as these items have been either dug out of the ground or left on the battlefields for almost seven decades.

Paulsen is really interesting to listen to as he talks about how he has found various items and then he brings out his box.

Barney Paulsen, Peter Joseph Museum, Munda, Solomon Islandst is a simple, olive-green wooden box, but in it are his treasures. They include bayonets, dogtags, rare and valuable shell money and the metal section of a Thompson sub-machinegun.

A short drive away behind a house is an astonishing resting ground for US military equipment.

After they no longer needed landing craft and other vehicles the Americans cut them in half and bulldozed them off the beach to where they now lit being swallowed by the encroaching jungle.

It is very eerie to see the mighty wreckage of war peeking out through vines and branches – not to mention the fact landing craft are so far from the water!


Copyright 2014 RICHARD MOORE