|Pilot Petty Officer Yukio Hikiune (survived, KIA November 5, 1942)
Observer P.O. Goichi Koretsune (survived, KIA November 5, 1942)
Ditched August 24, 1942
Built by Aichi. Delivered to the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN). Assigned to the Zuikaku, 2nd Shotai. No known markings or tail code.
On August 24, 1942 during the Battle of the Eastern Solomons took off from Zuikaku on a bombing missing against USS Enterprise (CV-6) and lost contact with his section and at 1646 dived and dropped his bomb against the "rear aircraft carrier", but missed. Departing, this Val continued to experienced radio trouble and had difficulty finding
their carrier. Ditched after dusk off Malu'u at Cape Astolabe on the northern tip Malaita Island.
Both crew survived the ditching unhurt.
Fate of the Crew
After the crash, both joined a small party of Japanese coastwatchers
near the village of Afufu. For nine weeks they survived on little food. On November 5, 1942 a landing by the 2nd
Marines attacked the outpost and killed twenty, including the crew of this aircraft.
After the firefight, one of the Marines captured Goichi's diary and it was translated by Allied intelligence.
Paul Vanderhaar reports:
"I was part of the International Peace Monitoring
Team in Malu'u in Malaita. About three kilometers
from Malu'u at a village called Gwa'ako I was shown a 14
cylinder radial aircraft engine that local people told me
was from a Japanese WWII aircraft which crashed into the
sea nearby. The local people told me that the two aircrew
were captured and later 'executed' by the American located
on North Malaita. I was later shown the remains on the aircraft
in about two meters of water a few hundred metres off the
coast of Gwa'ako. It is upside down with its wheel struts
visible at low tide, facing out to sea."
was removed from the plane not long after it crashed. It was displayed next to
the Gwa'ako market until 2001.
Paul Vanderhaar reports:
weeks before I left Malu'u in early December 2001, the local
people moved the engine to an as yet unknown location when
I showed some interest in it. I am sure they will disclose
its location if asked. I was proposing to include it in a
memorial in the market place but could not meet the local
chief to discuss the matter before I finished my mission.
I have asked my colleagues to pursue the matter but don't
yet know if they have.
Small pieces of this wreckage, were removed by an Australian visitor, including a dataplate from vacuum pump and a small piece of heavily corroded piece of exterior skin were auction on Ebay during December 2008, but failed to sell and were erroniously listed as part of a "Zero".
The First Team And the Guadalcanal Campaign page
140, 145, 147 (chart), 156, 614
Are you a relative or associated with any person mentioned?
Do you have photos or additional information to add?
January 5, 2018