The Museum is working towards compiling the most comprehensive film and video record of New Hebrides/Vanuatu during Word War II. At the same time we’re also establishing a video record of the museum from idea to completion. Obviously these are huge undertakings, but bit by bit we’ll grow our library and of course make it available to the public for viewing and research purposes. So what you’ll see on this page is just the start of exciting things to come.
Espiritu Santo Short Tours
Espiritu Santo’s World War II history is a fascinating look into what life was like on the island during the war. Even today there’s an almost limitless number of places you can visit and witness for yourself some of the infrastructure built by the American Seabees to support the Allied war effort. In mid-2019, the Museum thought it would create a number of short videos about the World War II history on the island. There are 18 videos in total and we’ll continue to add them to this library as we release them over the coming months.
Bomber #2 Airfield
Santo Bank Vault
Bomber #3 Airfield
Million Dollar Point
Turtle Bay Airfield
Eleanor Roosevelt Tour
PT Boat Base
Santo Boat Repair Yard
The Museum Project
USS Idaho In Espiritu Santo Dry Dock
USS Artisan (ABSD-1), later redesignated as (AFDB-1) was a ten-section, non-self-propelled, large auxiliary floating dry dock, that was constructed in sections in a number of locations in the United States before being shipped to Vanuatu in mid to late1943. She was 283 metres (927 feet) long, 24 metres (78 feet) tall (keel to welldeck) and had an inside clear width of 40.7 metres (133 feet 7 inches). Incredibly she had a lift capacity of 90,000 tons.
After the 10 sections were reassembled by the Artisan’s complement of 690 officers and sailors, she was kept busy servicing a range of US Navy ships throughout the latter months of 1943 and into 1944. On August 15, 1944 the mighty battleship USS Idaho arrived at Espiritu Santo for emergency repairs to the ship’s blisters. The Idaho slipped into the Artisan where the repairs were made and the great battleship was soon back at sea. This film was shot, presumably by the Idaho’s reconnaissance aircraft as it made its approach, and was lifted out of the water for the repairs.
The USS Idaho in Santo's dry dock
Lockheed P-38 Recovery
The recovery of the P-38 Lightning aircraft on Santo provided some wonderfully unique footage that was captured over the course of the recovery days. Some of what was filmed can be viewed here.
P-38 Recovery 1
P-38 Recovery 2
P-38 Recovery 3
P-38 Recovery 4
P-38 Recovery 5
P-38 Recovery 6
P-38 Recovery 7
P-38 Recovery 8
P-38 Recovery 9
US Army Films – Espiritu Santo
This series of films was shot on Santo during America’s occupation in World War II. Five of the films concern one of the Navy hospitals that were built on the island and basically show sailors being treated in various ways. There’s also footage of First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt speaking to sailors on the base while on a morale boosting visit. The other five are of a range of subjects from the construction of airfields on Santo by Seabees, to Corsair pilots and their aircraft, to sailors visiting a Catholic Mission on the island.
World War II US Army Film #1 - Base Hospital New Hebrides (Vanuatu)
World War II US Army Film #2 - Base Hospital New Hebrides (Vanuatu)
World War II US Army Film #3 - Base Hospital New Hebrides (Vanuatu)
World War II US Army Film #4 - Base Hospital New Hebrides (Vanuatu)
World War II US Army Film #5 - Base Hospital New Hebrides (Vanuatu)
WW2 U.S. Marine Fighter Pilots at Espiritu Santo in New Hebrides
US Navy Film - Eleanor Roosevelt Visits Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides
US Navy Film - Corsair Pilots and Their Aircraft on Santo WWII
Seabees Work On New Bridge & Bomber Strip & Church Espiritu Santo
Airstrip And Wrecked B-24 Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides
LCVP Arrival on Santo
Following a protracted negotiation period, Museum President, Brad Wood successfully purchased a replica LCVP landing craft on behalf of the Museum. This is the arrival of the LCVP at the Museum’s storage facility.
The LCVP being transported through the streets of Luganville
The LCVP being unloaded in Santo
F4U Corsair & B-25 Mitchell Wrecks
The island of Espiritu Santo is dotted with wrecks of Allied aircraft all over the island and in the waters surrounding Santo. Many of the wrecks are yet to be found. Our growing database of aircraft will detail their location and other relevant information about the aircraft as we spread our research wings. Of the two wrecks featured here, the Corsair was previously only known to a handful of locals while the Mitchell wreck can be accessed via tour guides from the local village upon who’s land the aircraft rests.
The discovery of the RNZAF Corsair in the jungles of Espiritu Santo
A B-25 Mitchell bomber wreck on Espiritu Santo
In this section you’ll find videos directly related to the establishment, design and construction of the South Pacific World War II Museum.
A speech by Museum Chairman Bradley Wood at the launch of the Museum project
Explore Santo Further
If you’d like to see where this gallery location fits into the bigger picture of life on Espiritu Santo during World War II, we’ve created an interactive map page. There you’ll find a Google Map of the south east corner of Santo with as many locations as possible marked out for you to explore. Clicking on the image will take you there.