Built by Mitsubishi as a A6M5 Model 52, C/n 5622. Delivered to an unknown Japanese Naval Air Force Unit at either the Philippines or the Dutch East Indies.
In Allied hands
Sources give conflicting information about how the Australian got hold of this airframe. One source claims it was given to them by TAIU-SWPA at Clark Field from the various Zero's captured or brought there, another source claims that on 9 September 1945 this Zero and several (Japanese Naval Air Force) G4M Betty bombers with the Japanese surrender delegation flew from Halmahera to Moratai, where the aircraft were surrendered. Footage of that ceremony however show the Japanese delegation landing and taking off in Ki-49 and Ki-21 Japanese Army Air Force bomber aircraft, and there is no Zero on the footage. This Zero was repaired by engineers from RAAF 79 Squadron and repainted with RAAF roundel markings and stripped to a bare aluminum finish. The Australians of 457 Squadron test flew the aircraft for some time, but it's ultimate outcome is unknown. Rumour has it that it was flown to ATAIU-SEA at RAF Selatar and that it crashed into the Singapore harbour on a test flight. That source quotes an entirely different aircraft though (A6M5 C/n 1303, TAIC 11), that at that time flew in the US at NAS Anacostia, wearing RAF markings.
- Butler, Phil. War Prizes. Leicester, Great Britain: Midland Counties Publications, 1994. ISBN 0-904597-86-5