Warrant Officer Yatomaru
In December 1941 Yatomaru served on the seaplane tender Kamikawa Maru flying the Mitsubishi F1M2 ‘Pete’ biplane scout.
On 19 December 1941 Japanese invasion forces were operating on the northern part of Borneo. Glenn Martin bombers from 2-VIG-I (based at Singkawang) and 1-VIG-I (based at Samarinda) attacked Japanese shipping off Miri during the morning. These were intercepted by F1M2s from Kamikawa Maru and four floatplanes intercepted the separate trios of bombers appearing at 15 minute intervals. Warrant Officer Yatomaru (ZI-16) and NAP 2/C Hosono (ZI-10) attacked and shot down the third bomber of the first flight. This was Glenn Martin M-571 of 2-VIG-I, flown by Lieutenant J. H. Groeneveld. One of the crew was being seen to bale out. They also claimed hits on a second bomber were they believed that the gunner was killed. ZI-16 suffered seven hits, whilst ZI-10 was hit twice, although no casualties occurred.
On 1 March 1942 the Japanese invaded Java. In the morning of this day three F1M2s and three E13As from Kamikawa Maru flew to Bantam Bay. Two of the F1M2s then flew on to the Eretanwetan area, where they were joined by two more from Sanyo Maru.
During the early afternoon Squadron Leader E. W. Wright led off five Hurricanes of 605 Squadron. As they approach the area they came across a lone floatplane, which all attacked. It proved very manoeuvrable and, after releasing some bombs, flew in a tight circle and opened fire on Sergeant Terrence Kelly’s aircraft, who hurriedly broke away. It then attacked a second Hurricane. Again all tried to hit it, attacking from various directions without success and they then held off to give Squadron Leader Wright a chance to deal with it alone. Although he used all his remaining ammunition he was unable to shoot down the gallant Japanese pilot and eventually broke away, returning to Tjililitan with three of his flight. Wright was credited with a damaged enemy aircraft after this engagement. Their opponent had been Yatomaru who landed to report that he had shot down three of his five opponents!
Yatomaru ended the war with 3 biplane victories.
|Kill no.||Date||Number||Type||Result||Plane type||Serial no.||Locality||Unit|
|19/12/41||½||Glenn Martin (a)||Shared destroyed||F1M2||ZI-16||off Miri, Borneo||Kamikawa Maru|
|19/12/41||½||Glenn Martin (b)||Shared damaged||F1M2||ZI-16||off Miri, Borneo||Kamikawa Maru|
|1||01/03/42||1||Hurricane (c)||Destroyed||F1M2||Bantam Bay, Java||Kamikawa Maru|
|2||01/03/42||1||Hurricane (c)||Destroyed||F1M2||Bantam Bay, Java||Kamikawa Maru|
|3||01/03/42||1||Hurricane (c)||Destroyed||F1M2||Bantam Bay, Java||Kamikawa Maru|
Bloody Shambles Volume One - Christopher Shores and Brian Cull with Yasuho Izawa, 1992 Grub Street, London, ISBN 0-948817-50-X
Bloody Shambles Volume Two - Christopher Shores and Brian Cull with Yasuho Izawa, 1993 Grub Street, London, ISBN 0-948817-67-4
Additional information kindly provided by Alexander Crawford.