CRASH OF A JAPANESE "DINAH"
ON OPIUM CREEK STATION, NT
ABOUT 100KMS EAST OF DARWIN
ON 18 JULY 1943
Mitsubishi Ki-46-II "Dinah"
On 18 July 1943 two Mitsubishi Ki-46-II "Dinah" reconnaissance aircraft of the 70th Dokuritsu Hiko Chutai (Independent Squadron or FCs) were on a reconnaissance mission over the Darwin area. Squadron Leader Kenneth Elwyn James (408021) of 457 Squadron RAAF, shot down one of the two Japanese reconnaissance aircraft. It was "Dinah" No. 2414 piloted by Captain Shunji Sasaki with his observer Lieutenant Akira Eguri.
Squadron Leader Kenneth Elwyn
(408021) of 457 Squadron RAAF
The Japanese "Dinah" crashed in a paddock on Opium Creek Station in the Northern Territory. The crash site is about 100 kms east of Darwin. Both crew members were killed in the crash. It was reported at the time that the aircraft had crashed at Mt. Bundy, Darwin (13-30S, 131-50E) with the actual wreckage being found 20 miles south of Pt. Stuart near Lake Finnis.
Captain Shunji Sasaki was the Commanding Officer of the 70th Dokuritsu Hiko Chutai. This unit had their headquarters at Malang in Java but carried out many reconnaissance activities over northern Australia from Koepang or Lautem in Timor.
Opium Creek Station buffalo & cattle and is owned by the Sultan of Brunei. Dan Stewart, who used to work on the station, was told that some time before 2002 the Australian Army along with some Japanese flew out to Opium Creek Station a couple of times to try to locate remains of those killed in the crash.
Photo:- Dan Stewart
Dan Stewart standing on the
wreckage of the Japanese
Dinah in "Nippon" Paddock on Opium Creek Station in 2002
Photo:- Dan Stewart
The small plaque was erected at
the crash site by the
70th D.C.S. Association Japanese Army-Airforce in August 1990
A plaque was erected on the site in August 1990 by the 70th D.C.S. Association Japanese Army-Airforce. The plaque says:-
In memory of fallen comrades
CAPT. SHUNJI SASAKI
LT. AKIRA EGURI
Died 18 July 1943 at this site.
And in memory of 14 fallen comrades
Died during WW2
in Northwest Australia.
Dedicated by relatives & members of the
70th D.C.S. Association
Japanese Army Air Force
29th August 1990
The Manager of Opium Creek was there when they placed the plaque near the Dinah wreck in 1990. He said relatives of the Japanese pilots were in attendance. They lit incense and held a ceremony with all standing back solemnly. But as soon as formalities had ended, it was out with the tin snips and all were jockeying for position to get the prime cuts from the plane to take back to Japan. The Manager said he near got knocked down in the rush!
I'd like to thank Dan Stewart for his assistance with this web page. Dan used to work on Opium Creek Station. I'd also like to thank Rick Dunn for his assistance with this web page.
Can anyone help me with more information on this crash?
"Australia @ War" WWII Research Products
© Peter Dunn 2015
This page first produced 16 April 2007
This page last updated 02 February 2020