|Pilot PO1c Takezo Uchikado (KIA, BR)
Gunner WO Katsuyoshi Tsuru (KIA, BR)
Crashed February 19, 1942
Built by Aichi during June 1942. Delivered to the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN). Assigned to the Kaga. Tail code AII-254.
On February 19, 1942 took off from Kaga on a bombing mission against Darwin. Over the target, hit by small arms fire from the 1/54th AASL Battery near Holmes Jungle fired by LCpl Fred Terrone and Spr Dick Spedding. Damaged, this dive bomber crashed at Ironstone Knob. Other sources state the crash was a mile from Berrimah.
This Val crashed into the ground creating an impact crater. Afterwards, the crash site was investigated by Allied ATIU on March 13, 1942, and coded 'AD 1'. The wreckage was souvineered by military forces in the area. Later, Australian soldiers tried to saw off the propeller blades, one of the wingtips, dataplates and other artifacts for souvenirs.
The remains of
the two crew were buried at the crash site in two graves marked "Unknown Japanese Airmen Died 19.2.42" written on a jam tin. Later in 1942 both were exhumed and buried at Berrimah War Cemetery at graves AD 10 and AD 11. Finally, both were exhumed and permanently buried at Cowra Japanese War Cemetery at Cowra with their names on the graves.
Robert Piper adds:
"Both these crewmen are now buried at Cowra with their names now on the graves via the big project we did a few years ago. Petty Officer Takezo UCHIDA and W.O. Katsuyashi TSURO. One of the latter's family married an Aussie and we were in touch with them."
Jim Long adds:
"The code AD identified airplanes inspected by the Advance Echelon, Fifth Air Force. The code letters were followed by a number which identified an individual wreck. Bob Alford claims that Val #3304 was one that crashed at Darwin on 19 February 1942, but that A.T.I.U Memorandum No. 2 listed it under the New Guinea Area instead of under the NW Australia Area. I guess that this means that #3304 has the wrong map ref. given for it, thus making the document suspect and the entry of less value."
Richard Dunn adds:
"The NW list has no VAL (it starts with NW 1400, the Bathurst Zero and then jumps to April 42) but, according to Bloody Shambles one VAL crashed on land and was souverniered. thus we have a VAL in the northwest area [Darwin] but no listing in the crash reports.
How/when did a VAL get to Yule I. It could only be during the Jan 42 raids but the targets were all along the north coast of NG. Bloody Shambles says Port Moresby was heavily hit by CV a/c on 22 January 42. BUT there is no record of such op in mono. 111, Task Force Ops, nor does the war diary of Australian 8th Military District mention it. Nor is it in my memory banks."
Another report incorrectly lists its location as Yule Island in New Guinea.
A.T.I.U. Memorandum No. 2, 27 September 1943, from Headquarters Allied Air Forces, Directorate of Intelligence, Subject: S.W.P.A. Technical References to Inspected Enemy Airplanes. The document was issued and signed by Frank T. McCoy, Jr., Lt. Col. Air Corps, Chief, Air Technical Intelligence Unit.
AWM First 'Zero' [sic] Japanese fighter brought down on Australian mainland ART21687 this painting depicts the crash site of D3A1 Val 3304
Wing tip of Aichi D3A1 'Val' dive bomber : First raid on Darwin RELAWM32663 wingtip recovered from D3A1 Vale 3304
Rikai Means Understanding: A Guide to the Japanese War Cemetery page 13 (photos)
Dariwn's Air War (Revised Edition) by Bob Alford page 37-38
J-Aircraft "Vals Over Darwin" by Bob Alford & Color Analysis Of KanBaku 3304" by Bob Alford
Thanks to Jim Long, Bob Alford, Daniel Leahy , Robert Piper and Richard Dunn for additional information
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January 5, 2018