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  F1M2 Pete Manufacture Number 1250 Tail L2-15
IJN
Kunikawa Maru
11 Dai 2 Kantai Dai 11 Koku Sentai
938th Kōkūtai (?)

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William Bartsch 1973

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Justin Taylan 2003

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One News 2007

Aircraft History
Built by Mitsubishi, assembled during late December 1942. The aircraft had a Hinomaru with a square white border. Delivered to the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN). Assigned to the Kunikawa Maru with the 11 Dai 2 Kantai Dai 11 Koku Sentai. Tail code L-215. This aircraft had a fuselage hinomaru outlined by a white square. Painted with green upper surfaces and gray lower surfaces.

Wartime History
This aircraft operated from the Shortland Harbor Seaplane Base. Abandoned with a group of F1M2 Pete near Nila on Poporang Island in an assembly area,.

Wreckage
The fuselage of this Pete remained in situ until November 2007. By the early 1970s, the green exterior paint had faded revealing the red primer paint layer below.

During late 2005, this aircraft was reportedly sold to Australian Craig Turner / Solomon Islands National Museum Project. The chiefs claimed they never received any payments for this or any aircraft wrecks later removed. The project ceased 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 and Ballale. 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 being salvaged appeared in OneNews: Shortland & Ballalae Aircraft Salvage" aired on November 20, 2007.

The salvage included at lease six aircraft including: A6M3 Zero (no. 1), A6M3 Zero (no. 2), A6M2 Zero 2487 and A6M2 Zero 7434 from Ballale 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 Zero 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.


Salvage
Removed by Craig Turner / Solomon Islands National Museum Project as part of a $220,000 USD deal to remove aircraft wrecks from the Shortlands and Ballale. Turner returned on November 6, 2007 with Gary Spoors / GJD Services Ltd. This aircraft was removed with other aircraft from Ballale Island on November 8, 2007 aboard the barge MV Tina. Transported to Honiara, the aircraft were presumably shipped overseas to either Australia or the United Kingdom.

On November 6, 2007 Craig Turner with Gary Spoors / GJD Services Ltd returned to complete the salvage reported to be a $220,000 USD deal to remove aircraft wrecks from the Shortlands and Ballale. If this fee was ever paid or only promised is unclear. The Shortland Island chiefs claimed they never received any payments for this or any aircraft wrecks removed.

The salvage included: A6M3 Zero (no. 1), A6M3 Zero (no. 2), A6M2 Zero 2487, A6M2 Zero 7434 from Ballale Island plus F1M2 Pete 1250 (this aircraft) and F1M2 Pete 5269 from Magusaiai Island and Poporang Island. The salvaged aircraft were transported to Honiara and stored briefly before being exported overseas.

References
Pacific Aircraft Wrecks page 52 (middle) the caption states tail code L-215 and assigned to Kashima. In a page of corrections Darby noted the tail code was actually L2-15. This would mean this aircraft was assigned to the Kashima or 938 Kōkūtai.
"F1M Register of Serial Numbers" by James Long
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
Thanks to Charles Darby and Ryan Toews for additional information

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Last Updated
August 2, 2018

 

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