|Pilot Pilot Officer 2nd Class Shigejiro Murakami (KIA, October 15, 1942)
Ditched September 11, 1942
Built by Mitsubishi or Nakajima. Delivered to the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN). Assigned to the 6th Kokutai. Tail code U-107.
On September 11, 1942 took off from Lakunai Airfield near Rabaul on a mission to escort G4M1 Betty bombers from the Kisarazu Kōkūtai bombing Guadalcanal. Returning from the mission, alone, this Zero apparently
went off course to the west, ran low on fuel and successfully ditched off the north coast of New Guinea.
Fate of the Pilot
Murakami swam ashore to a nearby island and met and befriended the local people. He convinced them to take him by canoe
from island to island in an attempt to reach friendly Japanese forces and was able to reach Kitava island before his presence was reported to the Allies.
On October 15, 1942
while hiding in a native hut on Kitava island, Murakami was
located by Australian forces and ordered to surrender. Instead, he his pistol at them. In retaliation, they returned fire and shot him dead. On his body, the Australians located a diary he kept since ditching on September 11, 1942 and two photographs.
Afterwards, Murakami was buried by the local people he befriended on Kitava island. To this day, his grave was still maintain and locals vividly remember him.
September 11th, 1942 – The Rest of the Story by Richard Dunn
Diaries of Eddie Allan Stantton pages 85 - 86
Thanks to Harumi Sakaguchi for additional information
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January 5, 2018