Michael is an Australian who was raised in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, in the 1960s where he became fascinated by the many aircraft wrecks which lay around the Port Moresby area. His thirst to understand the Japanese side of the war at a young age produced few satisfactory answers. In 1984 he assisted the RAAF salvage Douglas A-20G ‘The Hell’N Pelican’ from New Guinea which he had discovered in 1976. In 1996 he identified the wreckage of ‘Pug’ Southerland’s F4F-4 Wildcat, the first U.S aircraft shot down in the Guadalcanal campaign, coincidentally by the Tainan Naval Air Group.
Michael’s absorption in the SWPA air war has seen him author three books, The Forgotten Fifth, Forty of the Fifth, and Black Sunday. He is also co-author of ‘Rampage of the Roaring 20s’ - the history of the 312th Bombardment Group (International Research Publications, Colorado). Michael is Assistant Editor for Flightpath Magazine, Australia, and has also consulted to the former U.S military Central Identification Laboratory in Hawaii (CILHI) (now JPAC) on wreck identification in the SWPA. Michael has acquired modest proficiency in digital art, as demonstrated by the profiles in this book. He has held an Australian pilot licence since 1974, has been a paraglider pilot since 2014, and owns a Cessna L-19A ‘Bird-dog’.
Michael and Luca met via their common membership of ‘Pacific Air War History Associates - PAWHA’.
Michael has completed five diplomatic postings with the Australian Foreign Affairs Department to Thailand, Fiji, Papua New Guinea and New Zealand, with short-term postings to the Solomon Islands, Vanautu and New Caledonia. In May 2014 he finished a three-year posting to Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
He is seen here at the former Japanese airfield at Vunakanau with the propellor from a reisen fighter.