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  Ki-46-II Dinah Manufacture Number 1059  
JAAF
7th Hikoshida
70th Dokuritsu Dai Shijugo Chutai

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Stan Gajda 1980



Daniel Leahy 2013

Pilot  Lt. Kiyoshi Izuka (KIA)
Observer  Lt. Hisao Itoh (KIA)

Shot Down  July 20, 1944

Aircraft History
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.

Mission History
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.

Wreckage
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.

References
After The Battle Issue 39 by Stan Gajda
Truscott by John & Carol Beasy
Thanks to Bob Alford and Daniel Leahy for additional information

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Last Updated
October 7, 2014

 

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