Built by Mitsubishi.
Delivered to the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) as Type Zero Observation Seaplane (F1M2 Pete) manufacture number 5269. Painted with green upper surfaces and gray lower surfaces.
This floatplane was first assigned to Japanese cruiser Mikuma. Next, assigned to seaplane
Maru with tail code P2, likely P2-XX (last two digits unknown). During late 1942 until at least early 1943, assigned to the 938 Kōkūtai with tail code L2-20 (marking used until March 1943) and operated from Shortland Islands Seaplane Base.
This aircraft force landed or crashed on Magusaiai
Island. On impact, the center float broke off, and the engine was torn from its mount. According to locals, the crew survived and returned to base.
This floatplane remained in situ largely intact with the center pontoon and engine broken off during the crash. By the 1970s, the machine guns, ammunition and instruments were removed, possibly during the war by the Japanese. Traces of original green paint remained on the upper services and gray on the lower surfaces.
During the late 1970s, Charles Darby photographed the wreckage and noted manufacture number 5269 and tail code P-2. He later revised his observations that the tail was P-2 and also had tail code L2-20.
Bill Davies visited the wreck in early July, 2003:
"You can walk to it from the village of Maleai, but it takes an hour."
Until at least October 2005, this Pete remained in situ until it was removed by local people under the direction of Australian Craig Turner / Solomon Islands National Museum Project and transported to Maleai.
This Pete was reportedly sold for the sum of $20,000 Solomon Island Dollars (roughly $2,646 USD). The chiefs claimed they never received any payments for this or any aircraft wrecks removed a and the salvage was halted due to a dispute with locals.
On November 6, 2007 Craig Turner with Gary Spoors / GJD Services Ltd returned returned to complete the salvage reported to be a $220,000 USD deal to pay landowners and remove aircraft wrecks from the Shortlands. The chiefs and local people claimed they never received any payments for this or any aircraft wrecks removed.
On November 8, 2007 this aircraft was loaded aboard Solomon Islands Government barge MV Tina plus other aircraft from the area. Footage of this Pete appeared in OneNews: Shortland & Ballalae Aircraft Salvage" aired on November 20, 2007.
The salvage included: A6M3 Zero (no. 1), A6M3 Zero (no. 2), A6M2 Zero 2487 and A6M2 Zero 7434 from Ballale Island plus F1M2 Pete 1250 and F1M2 Pete 5269 (this aircraft) from Magusaiai
Island and Poporang Island. The salvaged aircraft were transported to Honiara and stored briefly before being exported overseas.
The salvaged aircraft were transported to Honiara and stored briefly before being exported overseas. Likely, this Pete was transported to Australia. Since the end of 2007, the precise whereabouts of this aircraft are unknown. Likely, placed into storage in Austral a suburb to the west of Sydney or some other location in Australia. Possibly, this aircraft was on-sold to another buyer worldwide.
Aircraft Wrecks page 38 (top photo) recorded as '5269' and tail 'PO-2'
Hostages To Freedom page 435-436
YouTube "OneNews Shortland & Ballalae Aircraft Salvage" November 20, 2007
GJD Services - Solomon's via WaybackMachine.org February 25, 2008
Thanks to Charles Darby and Ryan Toews for additional information
Are you a relative or associated with any person mentioned?
Do you have photos or additional information to add?
October 30, 2018