Taylan's Battle to Protect War Relics

Adobe Acrobat press kit (PDF)

Press release, press contact info, photo links for web & print, and fact sheet. Email for more info.
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Recent Taylan Interviews

LISTEN to ABC Radio International Battle For Ballale interview (Nov 19, 08)

LISTEN to ABC Radio International Lost planes, Lost Men (Feb 3, 08)

LISTEN to NPR interview: A Travel Nightmare (Dec 14, 07)

WATCH 7 Australia News coverage (Dec 16, 07)

READ Australia Network Focus Balalai (Dec 9, 07)

READ Air&Space Wisdom on Solomon (May 08)

Help Justin Taylan

This site was originally conceived as a vehicle for Justin's Legal Defense & Support. Because of an unexpectedly compressed timeline and unclear budgetary needs, the fundraising aspect has never been implemented. We DO need your help alerting media outlets, blogs, the historian community, and anyone else that may be interested.

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Diary of captivity in the Solomons [UPDATED]

Life in captivity

About Justin Taylan

Taylan searches out World War II plane wrecks, safeguards human remains, and returns dog tags to surprised veterans.

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Press release

VERDICT: Taylan Four guilty on all counts; fined US$108; released with passports; update here

Taylan in Times Square….


One American’s Battle to Save World War II History in the South Pacific

SOLOMON ISLANDS — December 10, 2007 — A young American, Justin Taylan, 30, of Hyde Park, New York, has been held captive five weeks since November 6, 2007 in the Solomon Islands, a tiny Pacific island nation off the east coast of Australia. Taylan is founder of a non-profit history website detailing World War II stories and Pacific theater airplane wrecks. Traveling by boat from Papua New Guinea, he hoped to explore relics from the Battle of Guadalcanal.

Also held in custody by Solomon authorities are Taylan’s colleagues Yoji Sakaida, 41, of Chiba, Japan, World War II enthusiast and graphic designer, Rodney Pearce, 57, citizen of Australia and the ship’s captain, and Daisy Eliah, 25, citizen of Papua New Guinea, the ship’s cook.

On November 6, Taylan inadvertently stumbled upon a salvage operation underway at Ballale Island, part of the famous Battle of Guadalcanal. “

There are more World War II plane wrecks there than anywhere else in the world,” Taylan said. “We saw six Zero fighters, a Val dive bomber and a Betty bomber being illegally removed. That’s why all this started.”

The group drew the attention of the salvagers. The Royal Solomon Island Police Force confiscated their passports, photos, and videotapes placing them in detention without charges. They have since been charged with illegally entering the country and pleaded innocent since they crossed borders through a published port of entry and in accordance with Solomon Islands law. Trial is set for December 12 and the maximum sentence is three years in jail.

Taylan testified in September 2006 before Papua New Guinea National Parliament in the “Inquiry into the National Museum and Art Gallery and the Sale and Export of the Swamp Ghost Aircraft.” He received an official commendation from the governing body that his “evidence as to the extent of the removal of these aircraft over the last decade and the complicity of the Museum to be of great assistance.”

The grandson of World War II combat photographer Carl Thien, Taylan gained an appreciation for Pacific War air battles early on. As a teenager, he accompanied his grandfather on a return trip to Papua New Guinea to photograph wrecks in their original locations.

More information, photos, and updates are available at https://taylandefensefund.org. Interviews with Taylan may be arranged through the press contact listed above.


Taylan searches out wrecks, safeguards human remains, and returns dog tags and other artifacts to surprised veterans. He is founder of PacificWrecks.com, a free, non-profit history website detailing World War II stories and Pacific theater airplane wrecks that draws 45,000 hits a month. He produces and distributes his own historical documentaries and has appeared on The History Channel and PBS.

Taylan was featured in the October 2007 issue of Smithsonian Magazine in an article titled “Swamp Ghosts: In Papua New Guinea, a journalist investigates the controversy over a World War II bomber.”

He wrote his first book about the war, “No Place for a Picnic,” at age 16 and has since been published in many historical and flight publications and spoken on this topic around the world.


Press Contact
Steve Kleiman
323.230.5299 p / 323.210.7273 f

Fast Facts About Solomon Islands

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