First Warbird Restorer, Japanese Recoveries
Carman, Manitoba Province, Canada
In 2004, Mr. Diemert provided an outline of his
work related to WWII aviation and Japanese aircraft.
Early Warbird Restorer
Arguably, Diemert is one of the first
'warbird' restorer in the world. He restored a Hawker Hurricane for use
in the movie The
Battle of Britain (released 1969) and flew as a stunt pilot
in that film. With the funds made from that project, he traveled
to the South Pacific in 1968-69 to look for aircraft to recover.
South Pacific Recoveries
His travels brought him on three trips to the South Pacific,
in search of rare aircraft, specifically a Zero and Val, to hopefully recover
and restore for use in the forthcoming movie Tora
Tora Tora! (1970). Although this plan never came to fruition,
he met with aviation museum pioneer Bill
suggested an island with several wrecks.
He recovered four airframes
(3 Zeros and an Val) from several locations, and smaller parts from other
wrecks. Using local help, they were cut into into pieces to facilitate
loading them onto a barge. Shipped to Port Moresby to await export. Stored in a pile in a fenced area at Jackson Airport during December 1968 - January 1969. A deal was made with the Royal Canadian Air
Force (RCAF) to airlift the wreckage aboard a C-130 Hercules to Canada during the
middle of January 1969.
Complete list of recovered and restored aircraft
Warbird Restoration Activities
During the 1970 - 1980s, from his private
airfield at Carman, and restoration shop,
he was involved with
the restoration of several warbirds, including a P-40, P-38 and owner
of other warbirds including a Blenheim. Also, the restoration of
the Japanese aircraft he had recovered.
Restoration of Japanese Aircraft
he restored the D3A2 Val 3178 using an American Wright R-2600 radial engine,
and flew it to Ottawa where it was donated to the Canadian
National Aviation Museum, in return for the transportation services
of the Canadian Air Force (CAF).
then restored two Zero fuselages at the same time in the 1970's.
The first plane, given A6M2 4461,
but crashed on its first test flight. He then used the rear fuselage
of the second fuselage to rebuild a single Zero that was then sold to
the USMC Museum.
Model 21 Zero Manufacture 5450 Tail EII-140
USMC Museum, today displayed at NAS
The Canadian Film
Board made a documentary The
Defender (1988) about his hopes to build a fighter aircraft
for Canada, and the restoration another Zeros for the Commemorative
Air Force (CAF), using parts from at least two of the recovered
airframes. Diemert and Chris
Ball worked on the Zero restorations. with assistance from a Mitsubishi
factory representative who joined them to work on the CAF Zero.
Model 21 Zero Manufacture
Restored for CAF, today displayed at the Pacific Aviation Museum (Ford Island Museum)
Since Diemert's involvement with
these restorations. The three restored aircraft have had several other paint
schemes and owners and restoration work preformed over the years. Also many
of his Zero parts went to the Blayd corporation also in Manitoba, Canada.
The Val was traded to the Planes of Fame
Museum at Chino, CA, for a helicopter.
Zero Parts Used in Another Project
In 1990 Diemert sold all of the remaining recovered
wreckage to Blayd Corporation / John and Earl Calverley, in Carman Manitoba.
They used the assortment of parts as templates to build a new Zero. The
only original parts on this Zero are the landing gear. This is the plane
now known as the Dakota Blayd Zero as it was purchased by a consortium
based in ND and MN. These partners took the airframe made by Blayd and
finished it (primarily engine, instruments, hydraulics)
at Tri-State Aviation in Wahpeton ND (owned by Gerry Beck). This replica
Zero was the identity of A6M2 6544. Today, Earl Calverley still has the parts Diemert sold
them stored in a semi trailer next to his
shop in Carman. The only large identifiable pieces in this collection is
a deskinned left wing from A6M2 5459 and the deskinned front fuselage
section from A6M2 3471.