Fascinating Finds in a Guadalcanal Relic Museum

Today I’m visiting the Solomon Islands War Memorial Museum in Honiara (the capital city on Guadalcanal). This is a private museum run by two brothers on the island, and it is filled to the brim with artifacts recovered from the jungles and battlefields, both American and Japanese. From Coke bottles to 20mm cannons, everything conceivable off a battlefield is represented here, including some really interesting items you might not expect. A few things that stuck out to me include:

– WW1 V-B type rifle grenades used by the US Marines
– Dutch small arms, including KNIL Madsen LMGs used by the Japanese
– Field-modified M1918 American trench knives

My trip to Guadalcanal was made possible by War Historian Battlefield Expeditions. If you are interested in seeing sights like these in person yourself, check out their upcoming schedule:


  1. I made the Pilgrimage to Guadalcanal and Tulagi for the 75th Anniversary of the landings. I was particularly struck that as you walk around the area all you need to do to find an artifact is to drag the toe of your boot on the ground. The stuff is everywhere. You will be walking down a path and suddenly come upon a crashed Betty (G4M) and around the next turn in the trail a burned out M3 Stuart. The Japanese must have been absolutely convinced that we intended to use gas, as the chemical canisters for Japanese gas masks are to be found everywhere.
    It was a great trip and a real learning experience. We had many what I call “Ah ha” moments when everything you have ever read or heard about the fighting on those islands suddenly coalesces and makes perfect sense.

  2. Mr. McCullum: Thanks for your recent email about your Guadalcanal trip. And seeing that you travel quite a bit around the world about old forgotten guns. Well several years ago I read about this store-front museum in ‘old’ city of Havana, La Habana Vieja at Mercaderes No. 157; it’s simply called ‘Armeria’ with a simple red sign & white lettering. It has guns going from the 1950’s Cuban revolution going back to the 18th (maybe 17th) centuries. Supposedly it has the guns of Fidel Castro as well as Che Cuvera. I’m sure you can get several videos from what you’d find there. Unfortunately, most of the collection at this museum is not really cataloged, identified nor any background info on. So it could be challenging. I hope you can arrange a visit & be able to create some informative videos from that visit. Thanks.

  3. Trivia, those bright yellow “pineapple” grenades are still in the same original yellow paint as they left an American factory. Yellow made them too easy to spot in the jungle. After Japanese soldiers threw back too many grenades, the USMC River shed to repaint them green.

  4. As for yellow grenades, see page 25 in Gordon L. Rottman’s book: “The Hand Grenade” (Osprey Publishing, Oxford and NY, 2015).

  5. Yellow was the interwar (and maybe Great War) color code for a high explosive munition. It was superseded by today’s green with a yellow stripe early in the war. BUT, my uncle, who was a flight engineer / top turret gunner on B-24’s in the Eighth Air Force, could remember dropping yellow painted bombs on Germany during his 1944 combat tour.

  6. Ian,

    Thank you for bringing these fantastic pieces of equipment for us to see, (by way of internet.) I love seeing the older pieces in their “natural” state of being.

    I greatly enjoy your finds and range trips. Thank you.

  7. That pile of grenade spoons, every one a story.

    Thank you, I like these found stuff museums. Good luck to them!

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