Built by Nakajima, estimated date of assembly November 1942. Delivered to the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) as A6M2 Model 21 Zero manufacture number 7434. This Zero was painted with green upper surfaces and gray lower surfaces with a 75mm white border around the Hinomaru.
Assigned to an unknown Kokutai. This Zero was abandoned at Ballale
Airfield on Ballale Island.
Until 1968, this Zero remained in situ on Ballale Island. Likely, in 1968 Robert Diemert unbolted and salvaged the tail section. Afterwards, the center section to station 11 remained.
Ryan Toews adds:
"Diemert sometimes only removed the very back section of the fuselage to get the tail section. As far as I can tell the white band is centred on Station 11. Now look at the photo of stencil 7434. Nakajima would usually paint this ID stencil between stations 11 and 12. And in the photo something white has been painted on the front section of the fuselage that wraps around the stencil. I am confident that this is the white band seen on this plane. It was common when such a band was painted on the fuselage that the ID stencil was not covered. "
During December 2005, Australian Craig Turner / Solomon National Museum Project moved this Zero the beach area and left on the beach due to a dispute with locals.
On November 6, 2007 Craig Turner and Gary Spoors / GJD Services Ltd returned returned to complete the salvage reported to be a $220,000 USD deal to pay landowners and remove aircraft wrecks from the Shortlands. The chiefs and local people claimed they never received any payments for this or any aircraft wrecks removed.
On November 8, 2007 this aircraft was loaded aboard Solomon Islands Government barge MV Tina plus other aircraft from the area. Footage of this Pete appeared in OneNews: Shortland & Ballalae Aircraft Salvage" aired on November 20, 2007.
The salvage included: A6M3 Zero (no. 1), A6M3 Zero (no. 2), A6M2 Zero 2487, A6M2 Zero 7434 (this aircraft) from Ballale Island plus F1M2 Pete 1250 and F1M2 Pete 5269 from the Shortlands. The salvaged aircraft were transported to Honiara and stored briefly before being exported overseas.
The salvaged aircraft were transported to Honiara and stored briefly before being exported overseas. Likely, this Pete was transported to Australia. Since the end of 2007, the precise whereabouts of this aircraft are unknown. Likely, placed into storage in Austral a suburb to the west of Sydney or some other location in Australia. Possibly, this aircraft was on-sold to another buyer worldwide.
YouTube "OneNews: Shortland & Ballalae Aircraft Salvage" November 20, 2007
GJD Services - Solomon's via WaybackMachine.org February 25, 2008
Classic Wings Issue 64 "Solomon Salvation" pages 48-49
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August 2, 2018