Built by Nakajima. At the factory, painted with a 75mm white border around the fuselage Hinomaru. Delivered to the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) as A6M2 Model 21 Zero manufacture number unknown (four digits). Possibly this aircraft was Houkoku Number 1045.
Assigned to an unknown Kokutai. This Zero was abandoned at Ballale
Airfield on Ballale Island.
This Zero remained in situ until 1968.
This aircraft's rear fuselage was salvaged by Robert Diemert in 1968, and transported to Port Moresby by barge, then flown to Canada by the RCAF.
The rebuilding of CAF's Zero, A6M2 5356 began with the rear fuselage of this aricraft, which still bore its stenciled 5355 when recovered.
Justin Taylan adds:
"In 2005, at least some part of A6M2 Zero 5355 remained in situ. A nose gun cover with 5355 clearly stenciled on the inside surface was found near the wreckage of an A6M3 Zero. It is unclear if this was the manufacture number of this Zero, or swapped in as a replacement cover from another wreck. Another nose gun cover with a manufacture number 5351 (A6M2 Zero 5351) was found near the same wreck."
Production figures of the Mitsubishi/Nakajima A6M Zero by Jim Long
A Brief History of the Blayd Zero and Its Markings by Ryan Toews June 15, 2014 page 1
"The recovered Zero artifacts bore the serial numbers... 5355..., all of which were Nakajima-built A6M2 21s."
Thanks to Jim Long and Ryan Towes for additional information.
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December 4, 2018