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105th Naval Base Air Unit
Built by Aichi at Watanabe Iron Works, estimated date of assembly July 31, 1943. True serial number 326. Delivered to the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) as Type 0 Reconnaissance Seaplane Zero Shiki Sui Tei / E13A1 Jake.
This Jake was based at Rabaul and was assigned to an unknown Kōkūtai (Air Group). In late February 1944, the remaining Japanese aircraft in flying condition were withdrawn to Truk. This Zero remained at Rabaul, possibly due to damage or mechanical issues.
Assigned to the 105th Naval Base Air Unit and repaired to flying status and became part of the so called "The Rabaul Air Force" that remained at Rabaul. At the end of the Pacific War, this Zero was one of only a handful of flyable Japanese aircraft left at Rabaul.
After Japan surrendered on August 15, 1945, painted in surrender markings with white paint and green crosses, in accordance with the terms of surrender. On September 6, 1945 the Japanese at Rabaul surrendered all remaining forces to Allies. As Allied forces occupied Rabaul, the Japanese requested permission to surrender their flyable aircraft to an Allied Air Force unit. Their request was granted and the planes including this Jake were readied for the flight to Jacquinot Bay. During September 1945, photographed on a dolly in surrender markings.
On October 14, 1945 a pilot (unclear if Japanese or Allied) taxied from Malaguna Seaplane Base then took off from Simpson Harbor. Airborne, this Jake joined formation with B5N2 Kate Tail 302 from Vunakanau Airfield and the pair were escorted by four Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) F4U Corsairs from No. 16 Squadron led by Bryan B. Cox. The Kate landed at Jacquinot Bay Airfield and the Jake landed in Jacquinot Bay. This was the last confirmed flight of Japanese aircraft in present day Papua New Guinea (PNG).
This Jake was abandoned and sunk into Gasvala Lagoon near Montingteng Island inside Jacquinot Bay. Pieces were recovered by Brian Bennett during 1981 and were donated to the Kokopo War Museum.
Production Records for the Type Zero Reconnaissance Seaplane (E13A1) (Jake) by Jim Long
Pacific Aircraft Wrecks (1979) page 20 (lower photo) caption reads: "The Aichi E13A1 Jake was surrendered at Kokopo [sic Malaguna] floatplane base, Rabaul, and later flown down to the RNZAF base at Jacquinot Bay by a New Zealand pilot."
Thanks to Bryan Cox and Brian Bennett for additional information
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