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Army engineers in Honiara

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WEDNESDAY, JUNE 7„ 1978. NO. 88/78


A party of 54 Australian Army engineers

today began a slow methodical search for unexploded

bombs and ammunition on a disused World War Two airfield

on the outskirts of Honiara in the Solomon Islands.

The engineers of the 1st Field Engineer

Regiment at Holsworthy, NSW, were flown into Honiara

on Guadacanal Island late yesterday aboard an RAAF

Hercules C-130. ,

The leader of the Army contingent, Major A.P.

Thorp, said the surface search would cover about 10

hectares and would probably take until Friday afternoon.

The engineers were sent to Honiara following

the discovery last month of a 200-pound bomb and 38

unexploded anti-aircraft shells all of American origin.

The ammunition was found a piece at a time

by a civilian contractor who was excavating the site

for a 100 metre r^dio aerial being built as part of an

Australian Government aid program.

The aerial, and several other improvements and

additions to broadcasting facilities in the Solomons,

are scheduled for completion before Independence Day

on July 7, thus bringing outlying islanders within reach

of the new government's radio service.


The ammunition found on the construction site

has been moved to a nearby beach by local authorities

* where the Australian engineers will blow it up.

Major Thorp said any further finds would be

treated similarly or dumped at sea by local working

parties. However, if any pieces were considered too

dangerous to move, they would be blown up on the spot.

Although Major Thorp and most of his senior : . '. I

NCOs have had Vietnam experience in ordnance disposal, ,

the operation will be the first "live" experience for most

of the engineer contingent.


Further Enquiries: Captain Brian Cummins 65 2999 (office hours)

26 2161 (after hours)