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  D3A1 Model 11 Val Manufacture Number ?  
2nd Kōkūtai

Pilot  FPO2c Masakichi Shibuya (MIA / KIA)
Observer  F1/c Masami Koyamada (survived, POW)

Ditched  August 27, 1942

Aircraft History
Built by Aichi. Delivered to the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) as D3A1 Model 11 Val manufacture number unknown. Assigned to the 2nd Kokutai. No known tail code or markings.

Mission History
On August 27, 1942 took off from Buna Airfield at 5:30am piloted by FPO2c Masakichi Shibuya on a dive bombing mission over Milne Bay. After bombing anti-aircraft positions, this aircraft was intercepted and shot down by Allied fighters offshore from East Cape, east of Rabi. When it failed to return, it was reported as "Jibaku" (suicide crash).

Fates of the Pilot
In fact, gunner Koyamada survived the crash and swam ashore near Taupota and met native people. On September 2, 1942 he was turned over to the Australian Army and became a Prisoner Of War (POW) and was transported to Australia. In captivity, he used the alias "Torimi Sakamoto" born March 3, 1912 and was assigned prisoner number PWJA.110010.

When interrogated, he claimed he had twelve and a half years of Naval service and was a maintenance officer who was flying as a passenger aboard a Val, when it crashed into the sea on a reconnaissance flight on August 26, 1942.

On December 14, 1942, marched to Hay Camp. From December 16-31 was in hospital, then transferred to Cowra POW Camp on January 8, 1943.

Breeched N.S.P.W. Pago (?) and was removed from the camp for 28 days and returned to the camp on July 27. Koyamada did not participate in the Cowra POW Camp breakout attempt of August 4-5, 1944. Afterwards, taken to Murchison camp.

Next, taken to Victoria L of C on March 21, 1945, then returned to Cowra on March 22. He was again in hospital November 5-9, 1945. On March 1, 1946 taken to Sydney and departed aboard the Daikai Maru on March 2 and returned to Japan.

Kodochosho 2nd Kōkūtai - August 27, 1942
The Hidden Chapters by Robert Piper Chapter 14 "Zero Hour at Milne Bay" says Lt Sakamoto was a passenger in a Japanese float plane that crashed north of Milne Bay.
Australian Post "Where Japs got the third degree" by David Sissons, July 17, 1986, page 4
Thanks to Osamu Tagaya and Richard Dunn for additional information.

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Last Updated
February 14, 2020


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