Built by Mitsubishi. Delivered to the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN). Assigned to an unknown Kokutai. No known markings or tail code.
This Zero operated from Kara Airfield (Toripoil, Buin Airport) on southern Bougainville until disabled or abandoned.
Until 1984, this Zero remained in situ at the airfield.
During 1984, this aircraft was salvaged and transported to Toberoi Plantation near Kieta. Restored by the Kieta Lions Club including volunteers Stephen Turner and Bob Strong at Toberoi Plantation as a project of the Kieta Lions Club. Painted overall silver/gray with a black cowl and red spinner with a blue fuselage stripe and a red tail stripe with tail number 3-112.
In 1985, the Zero was welded onto steel beams and installed at the Kieta Memorial Park when it was dedicated.
Stephen Turner adds:
"The restoration of our Zero was done at Bob Strong's Toberoi Plantation south of Aropa Airfield [Kieta Airfield]. Bob Strong & I were members of the Kieta Lions Club and took on this project, to restore the Zero. We sought donations from the local businesses in the Kieta Arawa area to pay wages and materials. The Zero parts were plentiful on Bougainville around Buin Airstrip [Kara Airfield]. The finish of the Zero was done to the limited research we could do at the time in 1984 on Bougainville."
Josh McDade reported in 1999:
"The plane is upon a large
metal pylon approx. five to six meters up. This plane was obviously
badly damaged during the war. Many
spots of damage can be seen across the plane.
The plane has clearly been welded
for display. Currently, the tail has fallen
off and is lying on the ground in front."
Justin Taylan visited in 2005:
"The tail was re-attached and cleaned when I saw it in 2005."
Ryan Toews adds:
"This Zero is an A6M3 Model 22 for the most part. The 3-112 tail markings are taken from markings used by the Japanese Navy in China during 1940."
Thanks to Steve Turner and Ryan Toews for additional information.
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October 23, 2019