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IJN March 1942
NTH circa 1943
Stan Gajda 1982
Stan Gajda 1992
Goh Loon 2008
|Pilot PO1c Shigeoshi Matsuda (KIA)
Co-Pilot PO1c Kazuo Sasaki (KIA)
Observer FCPO Jiro Nishikawa (KIA)
Observer PO1c Sadami Yamashita (KIA)
Radio FCPO2c Matsu Ebisawa (KIA)
Radio Terukazu Ooyama (KIA)
Engineer FCPO1c Yoshio Ito (KIA)
Engineer FCPO2c Susumu Oniki (KIA)
Crashed April 4, 1942
Built by Mitsubishi during April or May 1941. Delivered to the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) as Type 1 Attack Bomber Hamaki / G4M1 Model 11 Betty manufacture number unknown.
Assigned to the Takao Kōkūtai (Takao Air Group) with tail code T-361.
On April 4, 1942 at 10:10am took off from Koepang Airfield piloted by PO1c Shigeoshi Matsuda on a high altitude bombing mission against Darwin. After the bomb run, this Betty was shot down by P-40E Warhawk 41-5647 piloted by Lt. John D. Landers. Hit by gunfire, this bomber exploded with the wreckage falling east to west over a wide area of the Cox Peninsula. The entire crew was killed in the explosion or crash.
Recovery of Remains
The remains of the crew were found at the crash site and buried the next day by Australian forces. Later, they were exhumed and buried at the Berrimah War Cemetery. During the 1950s they were transferred to Cowra War Cemetery. During the middle of 2006 plaques bearing the individual crews names were installed at the graves as part of a ceremony which included Japanese family members.
This Betty landed over 3 kilometers in a long debris trail from east to west, with the heaviest parts including the engines landed at the eastern side.
During the war, the crash site was picked over by Allied personnel in the area for souvenirs. Allied intelligence visited the crash site and recovered a number of component dataplates from the wreckage.
The crash site was rediscovered during the 1970s by an ex-RAAF pilot.
Stan Gajda adds:
"I found miles of stuff off this one. My son on a 14' fuselage section which included the splice joint. Excellent condition inside and out. Lots of green square corrugated floor panels around here. Some parts were given to the WAAM. I did find a small plate riveted to the outside of the big fuselage section near the splice joint. The AWM curator had asked me to get him something like this so I cut a piece of that fuselage out with that tag on it and mailed it to John White at Australian War Memorial (AWM)."
A pile of wreckage from this aircraft were recovered by John Beasy during the 1990s and were stored outside the Australian Aviation Heritage Centre (Darwin Aviation Museum). The following pieces are displayed at the museum including a piece of the waist blister, tail gunner leg armor and fuselage wreckage it was repainted with green interior and white exterior paint with a Hinomaru added, but this is not the original paint.
During 1995 this wreck site was nominated for the NT Heritage Register and was accepted on May 14, 2008.
Kodochosho, Takao Kōkūtai, April 4, 1942
NT Heritage Register G4M1 Betty
NT Heritage Assessment [G4M1 Betty Tail T-361] by Bob Alford
NT Library "Wreckage" PH0475/0006 incorrectly lists date as July 20, 1943
NT Library "Goggles / Mike Foley" PH0008/0008 incorrectly list date as July 23, 1943
Air War Over Cox Peninsula by Mike Foley (unpublished, copy in NT State Library) incorrectly lists as Ki-27 Sally shot down on wrong date.
Darwin's Air War (Revised Edition) (2011) page 53
Mitsubishi Type 1 Rikko 'Betty' Units of World War 2 (2001) page 49 (profile)
Thanks to Bob Alford and Stan Gajda for additional information
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April 3, 2021
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