|Pilot Lt. Kiyoshi Izuka (MIA / KIA)
Observer Lt. Hisao Itoh (MIA / KIA)
Crashed July 20, 1944
Built by Mitsubishi at Dotokua plant during early March 1944. Delivered to the Japanese Army Air Force (JAAF) as Type 100 Command Reconnaissance Aircraft Shinshitei / Ki-46-II Dinah manufacture number 3059. Painted
with dark green upper surfaces with a a yellow identification stripe on the leading edge of both wings. No known tail number or markings.
Assigned to the 70th Dokuritsu Dai Shijugo Chutai (70th Independent Flying Regiment). This Dinah was the last Japanese plane shot down over the mainland of
Australia and the only Japanese aircraft shot down over Western Australia.
On July 20, 1944 at
7:30am took off from Koepang Airfield near Koepang on West Timor piloted by Lt. Kiyoshi Izuka with observer Lt. Hisao Itoh on a reconnaissance flight over Western Australia.
At 8:35am this aircraft was detected by Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF)
No. 326 Radar Station at Cape Leveque and reported. At 8:45am three Spitfires from No. 54 Squadron (RAF) took off to intercept: Spitfire A58-312 pilot FLTLT Gossland (call sign: Pocket White 1), Spitfire A58-390 pilot FLTLT Meakin (call sign: Red 1) and FSGT Knapp
(call sign: Pocket White 2)
and climbed to intercept the Dinah.
The Spitfires climbed to an altitude of 27,000' over Truscott. As they approached from below, this Dinah released approximately a dozen small aerial bombs that fell roughly 800 yards behind and 1,000' below before exploding. The rear gun did not open fire, likely because the Spitfires were climbing from below.
During the first attack run,
F/Lt Gossland climbed to the same altitude and opened fire with his .303 machine guns and 20mm cannons and hit the Dinah's engines, left wing and fuselage causing it to dive
steeply towards the sea. Diving in pursuit, F/Lt Meakin opened fire hitting the right wing and caused it to break off. No parachutes were observed before it crash. When this Dinah failed to return it was listed as Missing In Action (MIA).
Recovery of Remains
After the crash, the Australians found only several
pieces of flesh at the crash site. It is believed the remains of the crew might have been buried on shore near the crash site.
This Dinah impacted into the ground near Truscott with some wreckage landed in the sea slightly offshore.
On July 21, 1944 during the low tide, some wreckage from the Dinah was discovered by an Australian approximately 200 yards off
shore. On July 27, 1944 the wreckage in the sea was
recovered onto a barge and transported to West Bay.
During 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 correctly identified the wreckage as a Dinah.
In July 1980 Stan Gajda visited the crash site and recovered a piece of the left wing.
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 in Japan who were
extremely grateful. To the unit, the fate of this Dinah was unknown after take off.
Record of Ki-46 Manufacture Numbers by Jim Long
NAA "[No 54 Squadron] - Offensive Operations (Reports) and Interception of Enemy Aircraft" pages 2-9 (NAA: A11326, 1/5/INT
Combat (Fighter) Report (Individual Pilot) F/Lt F. Meakin list aircraft as Spitfire VIII A58-30 sic, A58-390
(Page 6) Appendix A - Raid No. 1 - Truscott 20th July 1944 Controller's Report / Pilot's Report
"DINAH, when intercepted, emitted serial bursts in clusters of approximately a dozen which trailed 800 yards behind and 1000 feet below and spread."
(Page 9-10) Combat (Fighter) Report (Individual Pilot) F/Lt D. M. Gossland
"I started climbing and as soon as I reached the Dinah’s height it started dropping grenade clusters which burst in groups of 12 to 15, 7/800’ astern and about 500’ below."
The West Australian "Japanese War Plane Wreck Find" by Andrew Main August 15, 1980
Truscott by John Beasy and Carol
After The Battle Issue 39 "Ki-46 Dinah recovery in Western Australia" by Stan Gajda
Thanks to Stan Gajda and Bob Alford for additional information
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October 22, 2019