|Pilot Lt. Kiyoshi Izuka (KIA)
Observer Lt. Hisao Itoh (KIA)
Crashed July 20, 1944
Built by Mitsubishi at Dotokua plant. Delivered to the Japanese Army Air Foce (JAAF). Painted
overall dark green with yellow wing leading edges.
Assigned to the 70th Dokuritsu Dai Shijugo Chutai (70th Independent Squadron). This Dinah had no discernible marking on the tail. This aircraft was the last Japanese plane shot down over the
Australian mainland and the only Japanese aircraft shot down over Western Australia.
On July 20, 1944 took off from Koepang Airfield near Koepang on West Timor at
7:30am on a reconnaissance flight over Western Australia. Picked up by RAAF No 326 Radar Station at Cape Leveque
and logged at 0835 hours.
Three Spitfires from RAAF 54 Squadron piloted by FLTLT Gossland and FLTLT Meakin and FSGT Knapp
were placed on alert and placed on standby to scramble
at 8:45am and climbed to intercept this Dinah at 27,000' over Truscott. Gossland made the first attack, striking
the engines, port wing and fuselage. The "Dinah" dove
steeply towards the water and Meakin followed, his rounds hitting the
starboard wing off the aircraft.
The next day at low tide, the crash site was discovered by an American approximately 200 yards off
shore from Truscott. Remains of the aircraft were
loaded on to a barge on July 27 and transported to West Bay. No remains were found in the wreckage, the only remains were apparently several
pieces of flesh. It is believed the remains were buried on the shore near the crash site.
Contemporary reports were misleading
and even the combat report was misleading, stating the Dinah was
shoot down at Drysdale. In 1979, the crash site was rediscovered by John Hardie who initially thought it was a P-38 Lightning. When Stan Gajda saw his photos, he identified it as this Dinah, and visited the site himself in July 1980.
Stan Gajda adds:
"I brought back a 13ft x 4ft piece of the port wing which included the
rear engine fairing and the complete flap which was half extended.
Inside in Kanji was the serial number and I presently can't find any
record of it and neither does my article mention it. This section also
had two .303 bullet holes in it showing the Spitfire was striking from
a low rear position. There was a lot of good paint remaining which
was an off-white color. All skin overlaps and joints were filled with
a material like our modern plastic body filler. The inside of the flap
was a pale yellow color. This piece is still held by the Western Australia Aviation Museum (WAAM)"
Afterwards, Stan Gajda sent some small pieces of the
plane to the relatives of the crew members in Japan who were
extremely grateful, they had not known what had to them after take off.
After The Battle Issue 39 by Stan Gajda
Japanese War Plane Wreck Find by Andrew Main August 15, 1980
Truscott by John Beasy and Carol
Thanks to Bob Alford for additional information
Are you a relative or associated with any person mentioned?
Do you have photos or additional information to add?
February 4, 2018