Pacific Wrecks
Pacific Wrecks    
  Missing In Action (MIA) Prisoners Of War (POW) Unexploded Ordnance (UXO)  
Chronology Locations Aircraft Ships Submit Info How You Can Help Donate
 
  F1M2 Pete Manufacture Number ???? Tail Number RI-6
IJN
25th Flotilla
Yokusuka Detachment

Former Assignments
Kiyokawa Maru
Kamikawa Maru

Click For Enlargement
Click For Enlargement
Click For Enlargement
Click For Enlargement
Australian Army July 1942

Aircraft History
Built by Mitsubishi. Delivered to the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) as Type Zero Observation Seaplane / F1M2 Pete. The four digit manufacture number is unknown. This aircraft had dark green upper surfaces and gray lower surfaces. Assigned to the Kiyokawa Maru with tail code RI-6 (or possibly R-16).

Wartime History
On March 10, 1942 while the Kiyokawa Maru was operating 25 miles east of Lae, damaged by one or more bombs dropped by TBD Devastators from USS Yorktown CV-5. On May 11, 1942 the ship returned to Rabaul and transferred her floatplanes including this aircraft to Kamikawa Maru.

During April 1942 to May 1942 operated from the Kamikawa Maru and participated in the Battle of the Coral Sea operating from DeBoyne Lagoon between May 6-10, 1942. Possibly, the main float was damaged and could not be repaired. Instead, this floatplane was abandoned.

Wreckage
By May 10, 1942 abandoned on the beach on Nivani Island when when Japanese withdrew from Deboyne Lagoon. Nearby was an abandoned fuel drum. In the weeks following, the main float and wing floats became buried in the sand and the control surfaces tattered.

Between May 31, 1942 to July 1942 the wreckage was visited and photographed by three Allied parties. By the time they arrived, the three lower floats were partially buried in the sand, push ashore by waves and the tides. An empty fuel drum was abandoned near the right wing tip.

On May 31, 1942 this aircraft was investigated by an Australian Army patrol led by Lt. Charles W. M. "Mac" Rich from Australian New Guinea Administrative Unit (ANGAU).

Lousiade Archipelago Patrol Diary by Lt Mac Rich:
"May 31, 1942: The landing party returned just on dark and reported the island clear of any Japanese but that there was a 2 Seater biplane, float type, (Type 9 [sic, Type 0 Observation Seaplane] according to our identification sheets) abandoned on the beach.

On June 2, 1942 this aircraft was again visited by an Australian Army patrol led by Lt. Mac Rich and parts were removed for intelligence value.

Lousiade Archipelago Patrol Diary by Lt Mac Rich:
June 2, 1942: Returned to NIVANI Island and spent the day making a thorough search of the island and salvaging anything we thought which we thought might be of value for Intelligence from the abandoned seaplane."

During July 1942 the wreckage was again visited by Australians and photographed, still largely intact. After the three Allied visits, the left engine cowling was removed and the fabric on the control surfaces on the wings and tail were tattered. Some pieces of the fuselage and wing skin were removed, likely as souvenirs.

Around 1952, according to locals, the floatplane was damaged by a tropical cyclone that struck the area.

In 1979, William Bartsch visited the wreck and reported only parts in the sand on Nivani beach and about 100' away in the water was its engine buried in the sand and other pieces of wreckage.

During the early 1990s, only portions of the wreckage remained, mostly destroyed by the sea and storms.

References
WW2 Nominal Roll - Charles William Mackendrick Rich, P374
Lousiade Archipelago Patrol Diary by Lt Mac Rich
"May 31, 1942: The landing party returned just on dark and reported the island clear of any Japanese but that there was a 2 Seater biplane, float type, (Type 9 [sic, Type 0 Observation Seaplane] according to our identification sheets) abandoned on the beach.
June 2, 1942: Returned to NIVANI Island and spent the day making a thorough search of the island and salvaging anything we thought which we thought might be of value for Intelligence from the abandoned seaplane."
AWM "Rich, M C W (Captain, Aust New Guinea Admin Unit (Angau) AWM315 419/086/013
William Bartsch
Journal, August 16, 1979
Asahi Journal Vol 4, No. 2 page 11-13
Thanks to Jim Sawruk, John Douglas and William Bartsch and Edward Rogers for additional information.

Contribute Information
Are you a relative or associated with any person mentioned?
Do you have photos or additional information to add?

Last Updated
January 20, 2018

 

Tech Info
Pete

Photos
Photo Archive

  Discussion Forum Daily Updates Reviews Museums Interviews & Oral Histories  
 
Pacific Wrecks Inc. All rights reserved.
Donate Now Facebook Twitter YouTube Google Plus Instagram