Built by Nakajima during November 1942. This aircraft was donated by Zen-nan-nori-gou (All-South Sea moss), a seaweed processing company. Assigned Houkoku Number
1053 (Patriotic donation number).
Assigned to the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN). Assigned to the 201 Kokutai with tail code W1-150. Possibly, assigned to 253 Kokutai and piloted by
Shibayama. Transported to the South Pacific.
This aircraft was abandoned at an airfield, either Kara Airfield or Kahilli
Airfield on Bougainville or Ballale Airfield.
This Zero remained in situ until 1968.
During the late 1960s, the forward fuselage and tail section of this aircraft were recovered by Australians on Bougainville or by Robert
Diemert during 1968. Also recovered were: A6M2 3471, A6M2
Houkoku Number 1045 and D3A2
Val 3178, in addition to Zero parts from other wrecks.
The aircraft were transported by barge to Port
Moresby where they were stored for a month outdoors at Jackson Airport. They were left in a pile until the middle of January 1969 when Robert
Diemert setup an export deal with the Royal Canadian Air
Force (RCAF) to transport the wreckage aboard a Hercules to Canada.
During the restoration of a Zero for the CAF, this fuselage was spilt into two. The front cockpit and center section were used in the restoration of A6M2 Zero 5356 for the Commemorative
Air Force (CAF).
In the 1970s the rear section
of the fuselage, with Houkoku Number 1053 was sold to the Planes
of Fame Museum. Later, it was sold to Tsucasa Kai in exchange for some Zero parts.
According to Kenji Miyazaki (via Ryan Towes):
"I saw Houkoku 1053 at Mr. Tsucasa Kai's house. It is now disassembled. Mr. Kai is planning to finish one M5 so those parts will be used for that Zero. He keeps panels but those characters have almost faded away."
Thanks to Jim Lansdale, Jim Long, Ryan Towes, David Aiken, Allan Gaynor, Yoji
Sakaida and Edward Maloney for additional information.
Gakken No. 33 confirms 5451 was Houkoku 1053.
Yokoi Houkoku List
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January 9, 2018