Cylinder of Leli Island

Figure 1
Even the most isolated corner of the vast South Pacific was not disconnected to the war in the theatre. Sikaiana or Stewart Islands is a very isolated atoll with few Polynesian inhabitants some 212km to the North-East of Malaita. Almost daily the American Flying Fortresses and Catalina patrol planes flew over and then there was flights of carrier attack aircraft during aircraft carrier battles. On August 24, 1942, the first Americans arrived from over the horizon in a little yellow rubber inflatable boat: Ensign Harold L. Bingaman and crew from ditched Grumman TBF-1 Avenger torpedo bomber, BuNo. 00433. The photo depicts Grumman Avengers about the same vintage at Bingaman’s. [NA, as published p. 4 of “TBF & TBM Avenger”, Detail and Scale No. 53 by Bert Kinzey, 1997].

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