Statue to honour man that captured Australia’s First Japanese WWII POW

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A bronze life-size statue of the Aboriginal man who captured Australia’s first Japanese prisoner of World War II is to be created on the Tiwi Islands off the Northern Territory coast, reports ABC.

The statue will honor Tiwi man Matthias Ullungura, an aboriginal from the Snake Bay settlement, who claimed Australia’s first Japanese WWII Prisoner of War. His prisoner was Hajime Toyoshima a pilot of a Japanese Mitsubishi Zero B11-1 aircraft, from the Japanese Imperial Navy aircraft carrier Hiryu, which carried out an air raid on Darwin on 19 February 1942. He crashed landed on Melville Island after his aircraft was hit during the air raid and lost oil pressure.

Hajime Toyoshima

He was disarmed and captured by the aborigines, who then took him to Bathurst Island, where they handed him over to Sergeant Leslie J. Powell of the Royal Australian Engineers. Sgt. Powell used Toyoshima’s service pistol to escort him into captivity. Since he had been sent to Bathurst Island unarmed as his task was to maintain demolition installations on the island. Hajime Toyoshima later died after he tried to break out – with others prisoners – from the Cowra POW Camp.

Identification Photographs of Sgt. Hajime Toyoshima. (Credits: AWM)

Identification Photographs of Sgt. Hajime Toyoshima under the name of “Tadao Minami”, whom he posed to be. (Credits: AWM)

Hajime Toyoshame crash-landed Mitsubishi Zero

Sgt. Hajime Toyoshima’s crash-landed Mitsubishi Zero. His plane was also the first intact zero to be captured by the Allies.

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Argunners Magazine is an independent online historian and collector's magazine, dedicated to the militaria and history of both Axis and Allied powers during the World War 1 & 2. Argunners is a central resource offering the latest militaria and war history news, journals, articles and press releases related to these themes.

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