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  F1M2 Pete Manufacture Number 5269 Tail Code P-2 (L2-20)
IJN
Mikuma
Sanyo Maru

Click For Enlargement
Click For Enlargement
Click For Enlargement
Bill Davies 2003

Click For Enlargement
via Lansdale 2008

Aircraft History
Built by Mitsubishi. Delivered to the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN).

Wartime History
Assigned to Japanese cruiser Mikuma, and later seaplane tender Sanyo Maru. Likely, this aircraft operated from Shortland Islands Seaplane Base during 1942.

Mission History
This aircraft force landed on Magusaiai Island. On impact, the center float broke off, and the engine was torn from its mount. According to local memory, the crew survived and returned to duty.

Wreckage
The machine guns, ammo and instruments were removed, possibly during the war by the Japanese. This wreck remained largely intact in a banana grove, with the center pontoon and engine broken off in the crash landing.

Bill Davies visited the wreck in early July, 2003:
"You can walk to it from the village of Maleai, but it takes an hour."

This aircraft remained in situ until at least October 2005.

Salvage
Moved to Maleai village sometime after October 2005.

This wreck was sold to Australian Craig Turner / Solomon Islands National Museum Project reportedly for the sum of $20,000 Solomon Island Dollars (roughly $2,646 USD). If this fee was paid or was only promised is unclear, because chiefs claims they received no payment for any wrecks removed.

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.

Loaded on the MV Tina on November 8, 2007 and transported to Honiara, and exported from the Solomon Islands (location unknown). Afterwards, the project was halted by the current Solomon Islands government.

The present location, or fate of this aircraft is unknown. Likely, it is in storage in Australia or UK, possibly on-sold to Greg Spooner. No photographs or confirmation since it was removed in November 2007.

References
Pacific Aircraft Wrecks page 38 (top photo) recorded as '5269' and tail 'PO-2'
Charles Darby noted the tail code and manufacture number, later revised his observations that the tail was 'P-2' and also had tail code 'L2-20'.
Hostages To Freedom page 435-436
Thanks to Charles Darby and Ryan Toews for additional information
OneNews "Shortland & Ballalae Aircraft Salvage" November 20, 2007
GJD Services - Solomon's (accessed via WaybackMachine.org) circa February 2008

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Last Updated
January 9, 2018

 

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