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Built by Nakajima. At the factory, painted overall gray with a black cowling with a white 75mm border around the the Hinomaru. Delivered to the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) as Type 0 / A6M3 Model 32 Zero Manufacture Number unknown (four digits). Possibly this aircraft was A6M2 Zero 5355.
This aircraft was assigned a Houkoku Gou (Navy Patriotic Presentation Number). Donated by Inside Outside Printing Company (Domestic and foreign printing company, meaning an international printing company). Assigned Houkoku Gou 1045 (Patriotic Presentation Number 1045) in black on both sides of the rear fuselage.
Assigned to an unknown Kōkūtai (Air Group). No known tail code. During 1943, this Zero operated from Ballale Airfield until disabled or damaged. Afterwards, the Japanese likely stripped the aircraft for usable parts.
Until the late 1960s, this Zero remained in situ on Ballale Island. In late 1968, this Zero was salvaged by Robert Diemert with the aid of local laborers who cut the aircraft into smaller pieces and carried it to the shore along with A6M2 Zero 5451, A6M2 Zero 3471 and D3A2 Val 3178 plus other aircraft parts.
The salvaged aircraft were loaded aboard a barge and shipped to Port Moresby then transported to Jackson Airport where they were stored in a pile until the middle of January 1969 when Robert Diemert negotiated an export deal with the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) to transport the wreckage aboard a C-130 Hercules to Canada then trucked to Friendship Airfield in Carman.
During the early 1970s at Friendship Airfield this Zero was disassembled by Robert Diemert and parts were used in the restoration of A6M2 Zero 5450 and A6M2 Zero 5356.
After the restorations, it is unclear what parts remained of this aircraft. In 1990, these remaining parts were sold to the Blayd Corporation.
Yokoi Houkoku List - Houkoku Gou 1000-5887 (List 2) - Houkoku Gou 1045
Gakken No. 33 claims that A6M2 5450 was assigned Houkoku Number 1045 this is in error
Ryan Toews adds:
"It has also been posited that the rear fuselage with the HKK number 1045 may be linked with A6M2 5459. While it may be possible that the front and rear fuselage sections identified by HKK number 1053 may have come from A6M2 4362 the high HKK number seems to argue against that being the case. Although it is known that HKK number sequencing did not necessarily follow the sequential serial numbers it could be argued that the discrepancy in the comparative numbers is too great. If, and this is the last in a long line of ifs, the preceding is correct, the data plate marked 4362 may have come from the front fuselage section identified with A6M2 Zero 5450."
Thanks to Ryan Toews, Jim Long and Alan Gaynor for additional information
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