Box Cars Over Buka

Box Cars Over Buka

John Erwin Ramsay, Sr.

1940-1949

During the summer of 1943 Lt. John E. Ramsay served as a Naval Intelligence Officer at Henderson Field, Guadalcanal. Spending most of his days analyzing photographs taken by surveillance planes, Ramsay helped locate ground based targets for Allied bombing runs. This painting, looking north from over the island of Bougainville, was his visualization of one of many B-24 “Flying Boxcar” attacks on Buka Airfield near Buin on the southern tip of Buka Island in Papua New Guinea (Not to be confused with Buin/Kahili Airfield on the southeastern shore of Bougainville). The details of the shoreline and the beaches almost perfectly match current satellite images of the island. Modern Buka Airport, the primary route into Bougainville remains on this site today. Ramsay went on to become a Fellow in the American Institute of Architects and a leading proponent of modernist design in North Carolina until his death in 1991.