Report from John Brown, Betio, Tarawa:

Eight-inch shells are being recovered at Tamikin close to the two guns and toilets recently constructed. Dai Nippon Company is sandbagging the sewage outfall close to the guns there.

Bordelon's bunker (Generating Station) behind the Betio police station has been cleaned up the steel doors are locked. The keys kept next door with the Ministry of Tourism.

The Betio Town Council will not give access to the Japanese/Korean memorial gardens; they have the only key to the compound,

The American War Memorial is now isolated after the demolition of the old Betio Town Council headquarters in preparation for the new Chinese aid-funded stadium where the airfield was. I am not sure if it is intended to move it again or leave it where it is.

Red Beach two “garbage tip” is being upgraded to a proper refuse area and has been fenced off. There are three leaching pumps to go in there to take the water out.

Large amounts of munitions have been dug up and are now located behind the motor pool at the Betio police headquarters, awaiting disposal by an Australian disposal team. Similarly, two naval mines have been located in the entrance to the port at Makin. These too are awaiting disposal.

There is a new coastal watchers memorial on black beach one, installed on the 25th November 2002, British Armistice day (I think), in remembrance of the coastal watchers. One of them, Private C.J. Owen, was the brother of Corporal J. Owen, who was identified as shooting a Thompson submachine gun at the Japanese prisoners of war at Featherston Prisoner of War Camp in New Zealand, killing 42 of them on the 25th February 1943. (Thought to be an eye for an eye.)

(Ref: The Featheston Chronicles - A legacy of War - ISBN 1-86950-295-7)

Red Beach Three now has a new Maneaba (meeting house) on the site of the area laid with land mines.

Harry Jackson Trust is trying to clarify what is happening in November. To date we have no idea what will happen. Valor Tours are completely booked out.

The command bunker has been fenced off with wire netting and barbed wire and no access gained to it. Town Council holds the key to the gate.

A new President has been elected, Anote Tong. Full cabinet yet to be sworn in.

I think this fixes up a few of the current issues.

Cheers, John

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