Built by Tachikawa. Manufacture number unknown, but pressure shock absorber dataplate has manufacture number 4119, manufactured July 16, 1944. Painted with green mottled over the natural aluminum. Assigned to the 10th Hikoshidan Shireibu Hikohan (10th Independence Air Brigade). The tail had three yellow diagonal lines and the rear fuselage a white recognition stripe.
At the end of the war, painted in surrender markings, including a white cross over the fuselage Hinomaru markings and white cross to the side of the under wing Hinomaru markings.
On September 10, 1945 this aircraft flew a Japanese delegation to Labuan Airfield to surrender to the Australian Army. Aboard was Lieutenant General Masao Baba, Commander of the Japanese 37th Army and Supreme Commander of Japanese forces in Borneo and his staff. After landing, his delegation surrendered to Australian Army Major General Wootten.
While this Ki-54 was at Labuan Airfield, RAAF Warrant Officer Leonard Anthony "Len" Pearce, 300276 of the 47 Operational Base Unit and his crew were responsible for the aircraft. Afterwards, he removed a dataplate from the aircraft.
This Ki-54 remained at the airfield until at least October 20, 1945. Afterwards, this aircraft was either flown or shipped to Australia. Possibly, it was abandoned at Seletar Airfield with the propellers removed and missing engine access panels and shipped to Australia.
It is unclear if the wings, tail and engines ever arrived in Australia. During the 1970s, the fuselage of the aircraft was used in a playground
near RAAF Fairbairn (Canberra Airport).
During 1981, the fuselage was transported to the RAAF
Museum and placed into long term storage. Next, stored at the AWM Annex / Treloar Technology Centre item code REL29084. As of June 12, 2012, this fuselage was in long term storage, sealed and suspended about 5m off the ground.
John White, AWM Senior Curator of Technology adds:
"The fuselage is sealed to prevent the asbestos insulation getting loose, and the fuselage is stored about 5 m off the ground so viewing is not possible."
AWM REL38480 dataplate from a shock absorber, donated by RAAF W/O Pearce
Japanese Experimental Transport Aircraft of the Pacific War pgs 137, 163-164, 169, 193-194
Thanks to Daniel Leahy for additional information
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January 31, 2018