|Pilot Lt. Kiyoshi Izuka (KIA)
Observer Lt. Hisao Itoh (KIA)
Shot Down July 20, 1944
Built by Mitsubishi at Dotokua plant. Painted in a dark green camouflage scheme. Assigned to the 70th Dokuritsu Dai Shijugo Chutai. Painted
overall dark green with yellow wing leading edges. This Dinah had no discernible marking on the tail (from photos).
This aircraft was the last Japanese plane shot down over the
Australian mainland. Also, the only Japanese aircraft shot down over Western Australia.
Took off from Koepang at
0730 hours. Picked up by RAAF No 326 Radar Station at Cape Leveque
and logged at 0835 hours. FLTLTs Gossland and Meakin and FSGT Knapp
of RAAF 54 Squadron were placed on alert and placed on standby to scramble
at 0845 hours. The three Spitfires intercepted the Dinah at 27,000' over Truscott.
Gossland made the first attack, striking
the engines, port wing and fuselage. The "Dinah" dove
steeply towards the water and Meakin followed, his rounds taking the
starboard wing off the aircraft.
The wreckage was discovered by an
American at low tide the following day, approximately 200 yards off
shore from Truscott. Remains of the aircraft were
loaded on to a barge on July 27 and transported to West Bay. No remains were found in the wreck, the only remains were apparently several
pieces of flesh. It is believed these remains were buried in a quiet
spot on the shore near where the aircraft crashed.
Re-Discovery of Wreckage
Contemporary reports were misleading
and even the combat report made available after 30 years
was misleading. The original report about the Ki-46
shoot down stated that the plane went down at Drysdale.
The plane actually crashed 20 miles away from where they
reckoned it went down. The wreckage was
found by accident in 1979 by John Hardie who thought it was the wreckage of a P-38 Lightning. When Stan Gajda saw his photos, he identified it as a Japanese plane, and traveled there during July 1980.
Stan Gajda adds:
"I brought back a 13ft x 4ft piece of the port wing which included the
rear engine fairing and the complete flap which was half extended.
Inside in Kanji was the serial number and I presently can't find any
record of it and neither does my article mention it. This section also
had two .303 bullet holes in it showing the Spitfire was striking from
a low rear position. There was a lot of good paint remaining which
was an off-white color. All skin overlaps and joints were filled with
a material like our modern plastic body filler. The inside of the flap
was a pale yellow color. This piece is still held by the WA
Aviation Heritage Museum"
Presentation to Japanese Relatives
Stan Gajda sent some small pieces of the
plane to the relatives of the crew in Japan who were
extremely grateful, they had not known what had happened to it.
After The Battle Issue 39 by Stan Gajda
Truscott by John & Carol
Thanks to Bob Alford and Daniel Leahy for additional information
Are you a relative or associated with any person mentioned?
Do you have photos or additional information to add?
October 7, 2014