Saturday, October 4, 2008

Dan Farnham Finds WWII History under the Sea

My friend Dan Farnham lives on a tiny atoll in the middle of the Pacific, called Kwajalein. Kwajalein's main island, where Dan lives.

Dan doing what he loves best--diving a World War Two aviation wreck.

Dan and I share a common passion for World War Two aviation, though we have slightly different focuses. Dan has parlayed his interest into a fullfilling hobby, and is on the cusp of a writing career, I think. He had his first article and photos published in Aviation History Magazine's November 2008 issue. Asked how he got interested in World War Two aviation, Dan responds:

"When I was a kid in the '70s, I remember watching the TV show "Baa Baa Black Sheep" (later renamed "Black Sheep Squadron" in season 2). That is what kindled my interest in WWII aviation, specifically naval aviation in the Pacific Theater. Although I love all aspects of WWII aviation, the PTO is my favorite area. That, and my favorite movie was "Midway", with Charleton Heston, etc. "

"I grew up with a love of aviation as a result of all that- not to mention the F4U Corsair is my all-time favorite plane! I was always writing short stories as a kid, loved to read, won every spelling bee I entered in 1st through 4th grade. Got my pilot's license in college, but couldn't fly for the military because of my eyesight- it's not 100%. Took Journalism and Mass Communications in my first college stint. I've been into scale aircraft modeling since 1986, and most of my subjects are WWII aircraft. I've always been into amateur photography as well, but never more than having a "point and shoot" to take pictures with. I didn't plan on getting into a lot of writing, it just kind of fell into my lap. Not long after I came to my present location, Kwajalein Atoll, I learned to scuba dive and I began photographing WWII ship and aircraft wrecks out here. A fiend of mine who runs a scale modeling website I frequent suggested I write an article on some of the plane wrecks I'd been diving on. So I did. And the rest came from that one article. So, I you could say that what I'm doing now is a culmination of lifelong hobbies and interests. "

"Kwajalein Atoll is a restricted military base, so very little has come out from here regarding the WWII wrecks in the lagoon. I guess I'm one of the VERY few writers to ever write about the wrecks here. My main problem is that I have so many ideas for writing, and so many wrecks to write about, and not enough time to write it all! :) "

So sit back and go on a virtual dive with Dan. All photos in this article copyrighted by Dan Farnham and used with permission.

"Here's one of the two 'Avenger' wrecks I've seen and photographed."

"Here's an F4F-4 Wildcat. This is one of 10 that I've counted in the aircraft graveyard, and I'm told there's more."

F4U 'Corsair'.

SB2C 'Helldiver'.

R5C 'Commando', which was the Navy designation for the C-46.

"A PBJ-1H 'Mitchell'. The PBJ's were Navy versions of the B-25 series. This is one of eight in the aircraft graveyard. I've seen and photographed four, so I have to get back up there and photograph the other four as well."

"Another SBD at "13 SBD's". Amazing that after 60+ years the plane is still upright! This is the second of two that remain upright at the site."

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