Military Relic Hunting WW2 RAAF Airfield – Cape York Australia.

We visit the site of a forward airstrip used by both the RAAF and USAAC in the defence of Northern Australia against Japanese air raids during WW2. Extensive drum dumps, personnel camp sites, dispersal taxi-ways and some bomb-proof aircraft revetments remain in the bush. The airstrip, in a much truncated form, is still in use today. Please note that NO RELIC HUNTING OR METAL DETECTING is carried out in the area of DECLARED HISTORICAL WRECKS or MEMORIAL SITES – as ex-RAAF members we treat these sites with the utmost respect. Thanks for watching and please take the time to visit our site www.nqexplorers.com. Happy Hunting everyone!

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195 thoughts on “Military Relic Hunting WW2 RAAF Airfield – Cape York Australia.

  1. Great to hear that the Dak now has a decent fence placed around it for preservation purposes since it is a war grave. I am quite surprised that none of the local or interstate museums havent tried to obtain the fuselage of either of the two Beauforts. When I saw your video I thought that it would be a great addtion to my local museum at Camden in NSW as they have a fully restore front end of a Beaufort in their collection. Wish I had the money to aquire these pieces of history for restoration.

  2. Thanks for watching – actually both sites are now fenced – the Dakota site has two flagpoles and a memorial plaque detailing the history of the crash and those killed. There are two Beaufort wrecks – both now fenced, incredibly, one is labelled as a “P-40 Kittyhawk” – largest P-40 ever built LOL. Unfortunately the scant remains of an actual P-40 wreck are not fenced or marked – and the parts are well scattered in the bush, probably by tourists over the years, unfortunately. HH mate – Warren.

  3. Thanks for watching mate – the C47/DC3 wreck is a War Grave and is a Memorial Site as such. The Beaufort wreck is not a Memorial site – just a historical WW2 wreck – actually the site has recently been fenced with funding from the AWM to try and preserve it ‘as is’. Cheers mate – Warren.

  4. Thanks for that info on the DC3 crash. A very poignant spot in the bush – but a great memorial to the men who gave their lives as it remains there just as it came to rest over 70 years ago. All the best mate. Warren.

  5. Thanks for viewing and commenting Rusty – apologies for late response! Your Grandfather would definitely have flow from this airstrip, and Horn Island in the Torres Strait. Several USAAF units operated through this site. I thought that the part looked like a fuel line! All the best mate and HH! Warren.

  6. My dad was a pilot with 4 Comms Unit Archerfield QLD (where the DC3 in the video flew from). Posted there in 1945 he flew regularly over New Guinea to places like Lae. I remember one day dad reading The Australian Post (no longer in print). He went quiet before showing me a picture of the same DC3. He’d been playing cards with 1 of the RAAF pilots the night before & recalled the next day being woken when they came to collect his mate’s belongings. It was the first photo he had seen of the crash.

  7. Hello,
    my name is Rusty from Davis Junction, Illinois. As a kid I remember my grandfather talking about the P-40’s he used to fly out of Cape York and was wondering if this is one of the same?? Also I like to comment on a few things you mentioned. The fuel lines you picked up, those are primer lines to help put fuel in the cylinders to start up the engine. Also the green pain you had mentioned appears to me as Zinc Chromate to resist corrosion since its aluminum. Thank you Rusty

  8. Great job – Thanks for showing us around — Appreciate the fact that those grave sites are being respected — So many brave men and women back then, Incredible.

  9. As always..the best and most informative …..we really enjoy your adventures and the history behind them. Hats off to you and your respect to the fallen….those crash sites are sacred. Thanks and stay well…

  10. Thanks for watching and commenting Noah, that intro song was “Westaway” by instrumental group “Sky”, which had an Aussie/UK lineup, and dates from the early 1980s. Happy Hunting!

  11. too cool……..love the old ww2 stuff…….sadly…at least here in US the kids don’t even know who the fuck was in the war………they think Japan was on our side and the russian,s were our enemy…….sad…..garvey

  12. Just to give you a steer on a Beaufighter currently under restoration to fly: Its at Duxford in the UK, I would say it is 50-60% of the way there. Been about 12 years since I first saw it as a collection of bits. Merlin or Hercules is unknown to me. It is in a lovely shade of dark drab green with the distinctive blue/white roundels, and a serial A9-144, although it is unknown if that is the aircraft’s true serial number. It was found somewhere in Aus I think – maybe by yourselves!!. Good luck.

  13. thanks if you want any more info about 30 Beaufighter Squadron send me a mail and i pass it on to my dad i sure he would love to help with any questions you may have . cheers Simon .

  14. Thanks for your great comment S Bear. No doubt your Dad would have passed through here if he was with 30 Beaufighter Squadron – fantastic unit with a great history. Love those Beaufighters! Best wishes mate and HH!

  15. To me its sad to see all those artifacts just rotting into the ground,someday in the future some developer will plow all that history into a pile and destroy whats left.

  16. Thanks for watching topguntopcat, yes all those wrecks are still there – plus a few more which will feature in an upcoming video. Happy Hunting!

  17. Thanks for watching our video – every chance that your Granddad flew from here, 7 Squadron was based here for quite some time before moving to New Guinea. Best wishes and HH!

  18. Thats fantastic, my granddad was a Beaufort Navigator flying from the Cape and New Guinea. The thought he could have flown in one of those blows me away.

  19. Thanks for watching and commenting Stan, we have filmed a number of further hunts in that location with a lot more detecting LOL. Best wishes mate and Happy Hunting!

  20. could have been boring but for this chaps info stopped me from clicking on tinny was a good touch must have been an Australian not much detecting though couldnt get any of that stuff in your pouch though

  21. I think I’ve figured out the source of much of the confusion:

    “HIGGINS FIELD, QLD
    DURING WW2
    ALSO KNOWN AS RED ISLAND POINT AIRFIELD OR
    RED POINT AIRFIELD OR JACKY JACKY AIRFIELD AND
    NOW KNOWN AS BAMAGA AIRFIELD OR INGANOO AIRFIELD”

    There’s the problem. Seems like this was the airdrome of a thousand names.

  22. Thanks for your comment – The DAP Beafort was a licence built version of the British Bristol Beaufort – plenty served with RAF Coastal Command in Europe. The RAAF used Aussie-bulit Beauforts and Beaufighters in the SWPA with great effect, especially the Beaufighters in anti-shipping and ground attack. RAAF Beauforts were instrumental in torpedoing a number of Japanese ships in the Battle of the Bismark Sea. Thanks for commenting and Happy Hunting!

  23. I was a bit confused there for a while, I thought ya’lls were referring to the Beaufighter. I had never heard of the Beaufort. So it was an exclusively indigenous Aussie design?

  24. That’s what I figured, all the great wrecks of WWII could only be found in remote locations. I always figured the scrap metal dealers of the world pounced on the good stuff in the years immediately after the war.

  25. Thanks for watching Poedog, the wrecks are historically protected to a point – but the area is so remote and not often visited – so salvage for scrap was not viable after the ware. There are a number of other wrecks I have visited and will be posting videos in the coming weeks. Thanks for watching and HH!

  26. very interesting video, is that an historicly protected site ? i am suprised that some one hasnt cleaned it up and recycled all the metal –thanks

  27. Thanks for your great comment. I have since filmed a second Beaufort wreck, and discovered some parts that may be useful in a restoration – I will be e-mailing the Australian War Memorial to start the process, In addition I have found top cowling complete (but corroded) from a RAAF Kittyhawk. I will be posting in an upcoming video. Appreciate you watching and commenting. Best wishes. Warren.

  28. It must of been a pleasant surprise to find the Beaufort fusilage in reasonable condition,
    the rebuild in the war memorial looked much the same before they started work on it and that
    one was in New Guinea ! I’d love to do the trip ,But I’m to long in the tooth now.
    Keep up the good work.

  29. Thanks for watching and commenting – You are probably right – there would literally be millions of dollars (even then) of fuel drums here in the bush! Staggering what WW2 mush have cost in dollar terms – let alone the lives lost and lives effected by it! Best wishes and HH from Queensland, Australia!

  30. G’day James, we use Garrett Detedtors exclusively, GTI2500, ATPro, Infinium but all the big names make great relic machines, the Minelab Xterras are good value too. As is the ATPro which can be as simple or complex as you like, and it is waterproof in the rain. We have made a lot more videos at the old airstrip and I am currently investigating another bomber crash site which I will visit in the next few days. Thanks for watching, best wishes and HH!

  31. [..YouTube..] So when can we expect the return of our rusty fuel barrels? 🙂 Our government must have paid $10,000 for each one. Thanks for the great video, it was really well done and very cool.

    Respect from Apache Junction, Arizona.

  32. [..YouTube..] as an young Australian who has an interest in our Military History, I was pleasantly surprised to come across your video, it was really well shot and with the information I felt as if I was walking the track with you, will have to come up from NSW one day and see this for myself if it is open to the public

  33. [..YouTube..] I can see that it’s history on the planes but all the gas barrels. I’m not saying anything bad about the history or anything. I love seeing stuff like this it’s cool. No disrepect to anyone or history. I was just saying.

  34. [..YouTube..] Thanks for watching MikeyMikeM21 – the cost of recovering the wrecks for scrap metal would not be econonmical given their very remote location. The DC3 is a historical War Grave and cannot be disturbed. But there are litterally dozens of similar wrecks all over Cape York (some out to sea). Thanks for your comment and HH!

  35. [..YouTube..] Thanks for watching Jonajoneseyboy, all the photos are D.A.P Beauforts, the R.A.A.F. did not have any Blenheims, they are similar in appearance and layout of course, but the Beaufort was a torpedo bomber and was built in Australia by the Department of Aircraft Production (over 700 served in the R.A.A.F.) The wreck is a Mk VIII. Thanks for your comments and HH!

  36. [..YouTube..] I stumbled across this one and jumped. My father served as Medical Officer with RAAF at this field I think ( he named it Higgins Field near Jacky Jacky) This was a major US and Aust base. My father said before he passed in 1984 that there were numerous crashed aircraft in the scrub. A lot were crash landed, stripped of bits then just bulldozed away. Hi main role was running the ‘crash boat’ recovering down aircrew from the Coral Sea. Somewhere I have a hand drawn map of the base he made.

  37. [..YouTube..] I worked on a P-40 restoration project, and yes we did use that Zinc Chromate primer until the advent of epoxies. My Dad’s Navy career started in 45 and his first job was a radioman on TBM Avengers. My Dad is the last one left of his generation and we also had several relatives lost in WW2. I also followed in his footsteps, doing 20 to his 30. It is unusual that anything is left at all, since all of those bases were worked over by scrap collectors for many years after the war.

  38. [..YouTube..] I have an interest in the history of old RAAF airfields as ex RAAF member and having visited Learmonth, Talgano(Anna Plains) at the end of the Woomera Rocket Range, Curruna Downs and Truscott near Kalumburu.
    Plus having a cousin killed in an aircraft crash near Tindal in 1944.

  39. [..YouTube..] Man!! I wish i lived there!! relichunting in europe, is like searching threw all the trash..
    greetings from the other side of the world

    Ps check my vids!

  40. [..YouTube..] @Rebel1476
    Thanks for watching and commenting on the video. Looks like we all got rid of the old C-47s at the same time. I was in Perth in 1978 when the R.A.A.F. retired the last serving C-47, same deal, she was a WW2 vet! Every panel and rivet creaked and groaned but she was lovingly maintained and missed when she was put out to pasture. Truth is she could have still been serving to this day LOL. Hey good luck down in Virginia – hope you get some great finds! GL and HH. Warren.

  41. [..YouTube..] Thanks for watching and commenting on the video. Looks like we all got rid of the old C-47s at the same time. I was in Perth in 1978 when the R.A.A.F. retired the last serving C-47, same deal, she was a WW2 vet! Every panel and rivet creaked and groaned but she was lovingly maintained and missed when she was put out to pasture. Truth is she could have still been serving to this day LOL. Hey good luck down in Virginia – hope you get some great finds! GL and HH. Warren.

  42. [..YouTube..] Another great video Warren. I was able to catch a hop from S. Korea to Okinawa Japan on the last C-47 in the Marine Corps Arsenal back in 78. It was an experence I will not forget. That bird served in WWII, Korea, Viet-Nam and finished her career as a mail plane..Leaving next week for a week of Civil War relic hunting in Virginia USA..maybe I’ll be able to send you a couple of bullets for your collection..cheers.

  43. [..YouTube..] Thanks for watching John, hope the weather clears up for you soon mate, go hard on those researched and permission sites – look forward to your next outing. GL and HH!

  44. [..YouTube..] @OLDGOLD1100
    Thanks for watching John, hope the weather clears up for you soon mate, go hard on those researched and permission sites – look forward to your next outing. GL and HH!

  45. [..YouTube..] What an amazing place to hunt at, nice to see them old parts of WW2 planes.
    I didn’t get out today as it was raining all day. I spent the day looking for places to try to get permission to hunt at.
    Good luck for next time matey!!!.

  46. [..YouTube..] Thanks Iroc – the plan is to return to this area a few times in the coming months (dependent on the wet season) – and there are other areas and relics to explore, but long grass and lots of ‘metal’ make it a tough gig LOL. The 20c – as you know the same size as a florin, but the low tone gave it away – never mind, nice to leave some good targets for next time! GL and HH mate.

  47. [..YouTube..] @IrocOn2
    Thanks Iroc – the plan is to return to this area a few times in the coming months (dependent on the wet season) – and there are other areas and relics to explore, but long grass and lots of ‘metal’ make it a tough gig LOL. The 20c – as you know the same size as a florin, but the low tone gave it away – never mind, nice to leave some good targets for next time! GL and HH mate.

  48. [..YouTube..] What a great adventure – thanks NQ – magic. Having places like this to go to – within driving distance – I’m glad you’re going – and sharing the experience with us all. Seeing the site – the relics and doing some detecting [where permitted] is great. Tough stuff you must be – detecting these sites – lots of “metal”. Big congrats on the highly unexpected 20c. Well done mate – cheers GL & HH

  49. [..YouTube..] Thanks for commenting Willo – was wondering why you subscribed to me LOL. When I went to the new channel format, I was somehow unsubscribed from a heap of channels, including Snoopy, so had to re-sub them all. Inexplicable glitch! HH mate, hope to see you on a new hunt soon – GL and HH!

  50. [..YouTube..] @1963Willo
    Thanks for commenting Willo – was wondering why you subscribed to me LOL. When I went to the new channel format, I was somehow unsubscribed from a heap of channels, including Snoopy, so had to re-sub them all. Inexplicable glitch! HH mate, hope to see you on a new hunt soon – GL and HH!

  51. [..YouTube..] Warren, thanks for taking us along on another interesting adventure and i appreciate all the research that you have put into it. I agree – “Lest we forget”.
    k

  52. [..YouTube..] @gravediggermax
    Thanks for your comments Max – will be back up there in the coming weeks in the search for the campsite – and other WW2 relics and wrecks – Best of Luck mate and Happy Hunting!

  53. [..YouTube..] @PacificTreasureHunt
    Thanks PTH – the beer – was nice and cold LOL. Look forward to seeing you in some Hawaiian WW2 action mate, appreciate your comments – GL and HH!

  54. [..YouTube..] @BigbunnySSS
    Thanks for your great comment BigBunny, and that you enjoyed the video – very few people get to see this part of Australia, let alone the remote WW2 sites scattered in the bush, but at one time there were thousands of personnel camped in there – maybe even your Grandfather on his way to Iwo? Who knows – best of luck and HH mate!

  55. [..YouTube..] @fluoridekid
    Thanks for watching Rich, that Lizzie 20c – LOL – got my heart racing, thought it was a wartime Florin at first LOL. Never mind. And agree – seems fitting that these wrecks should be left undisturbed. Best of luck mate and HH!

  56. [..YouTube..] @sscindercoop
    Thanks Coop, we love aeroplanes too – especially WW2 ones – will keep exploring that area on the next trip up and hope to find some more relics/wrecks! GL and HH mate.

  57. [..YouTube..] @xscorpio1953x
    Thanks for watching Xscorpio – agreed the memory of the few and the sacrifices needs to be kept alive in this modern throw-away world. GL and HH mate!

  58. [..YouTube..] @ozziepete55
    Thanks for your comments Pete, will be back up in that area in the coming weeks for some more WW2 hunts, will be sure to set aside a drum bung for your collection LOL. GL and HH mate.

  59. [..YouTube..] @PlugMartian
    Thanks for your comments Mars, agreed, the P40 is one of my all-time favourite aircraft, the R.A.A.F. had well over 1,000 in service and they fought some pretty ferocious dogfights in the area and over New Guinea in the early war years. Nice to see some small remains still in the bush there – best of luck mate and HH!

  60. Awesome video! Thanks Warren! Thanks for all of the historical information! I sure hope that this history is passed on to future generations, so that they may realize the sacrifices made for their freedom! Best of luck on your next hunt!

    Beerbarrel

  61. [..YouTube..] Lest We forget indeed my friend. Another excellent and enjoyable video. I wouldn’t have been able to do any detecting at all at that site because I would have been way too busy drooling over all the stuff ABOVE ground. The early variants of the P-40 are some of my favorite aircraft. I would love to see that place someday before the bush totally re-claims it. Keep up the super job mate! HH

  62. [..YouTube..] Great place you have found there!! To bad about those rusty barrels.
    I hope you make a new video soon with gold hunting in it. 😀
    Ps, tomorrow i am going out hunting for the “first” time in 2012. Its frost free ground some 15 european miles away.. hehe.. Be prepared for new vid 🙂 HH

  63. [..YouTube..] really great film and tour round the old base,that place must have been a hive of activety,but to find the nice stuff ,you have to plough your way through all the junk,,good luck next time out

  64. [..YouTube..] Another outstanding short film mate. I love old military sites like this, you never know what you might find, I have always loved the designs of WWII aircraft, and the P 40 is one of my favorites. The Flying Tigers P40’s were already fighting the Japanese in China prior to the break out of the war for the US. My Grandfather was in Burma supporting them with a line of communications and he told me all sorts of cool facts. BTW, I am on the hunt of a F89C that crashed in 53′ here in the valley HH

  65. [..YouTube..] Another great video mate. Keep up the good work. When I was posted to Palmerston NT I used to explore the old strips up there too. Loved it. Like time travel. I once found a crashed USAAC 49th Pursuit Sqn P40 just a few hundred metres from Robertson Bks. Found out it was brought down by 4 x Zero and it exploded in mid-air. The burning wreckage started a massive fire. The pilot 2Lt Keith Brown got out with burns but lived to old age. I ramble….Well done mate. Tim