Wednesday 3 February 2016

Ida and Tojo at Changi, Singapore

Following up on the blogs about the Gremlin Task Force here and here, Martin Page has very kindly shared this photo showing a Ki-36/55 and Ki-44 at Changi, Singapore in 1946. Martin's father John Page (on the left in the photo) served as an RAF LAC (Leading Aircraftman) MT (Motor Transport) Fitter/Driver attached to the mobile airfield contingent of 121 Wing, 2nd Tactical Air Force in Europe, from D+10 through to the German surrender.  He was then posted back to the UK in 1945 prior to being sent out to the Far East as part of the ground contingent to support ‘Tiger Force’ RAF SEAAF. In August 1945 he arrived in Singapore and was posted to 379MT MU (Maintenance Unit), Detach. 2 RAF SEAAF.  He finally returned home to the UK in April 1946.

The two aircraft are possibly from the 1st Yasen Hôju Hikôtai (Field Reserve Air Unit) which was stationed at Singapore under 3rd Air Army HQ and operated many different aircraft types, although the 17th Rensei Hikotai (Training Transformation Air Unit - sometimes termed Operational Flight Training Unit) also operated Ida, Sonia and Oscar at Singapore. A total of 45 IJAAF aircraft were recorded at Changi in September 1945 - 2 x Ki-21 'Sally', 13 x Ki-36 'Ida', 2 x Ki-43 'Oscar', 3 x Ki-44 'Tojo', 6 x Ki-46 'Dinah', 2 x Ki-49 'Helen', 1 x Ki-51 'Sonia', 3 x Ki-54 'Hickory', 2 x Ki-61 'Tony', 2 x Ki-84 'Frank' found intact and 9 miscellaneous wrecked aircraft. In addition a single IJN G4M 'Betty' was recorded. These aircraft were just a part of the 258 Japanese aircraft recorded on five Singapore airfields, including Kallang, Paya Lebar (a satellite of Kallang), Seletar (mainly IJN) and Sembawang.

With special thanks to Martin for sharing the image and details of his father's service.

Image credits: © 2016 John Page via Martin Page 


Ronnie Olsthoorn said...

That's a very interesting shot, Nick! Pity we can't see the vertical tail of the Tojo, but it does give a lead for looking up other photos of this base. Perhaps it will appear in the background of a snap shot of another member of this unit somewhere?

Jacob said...

I agree with Ronnie, at you see another pic't of a Tojo- with Sgt Cecil Kerry and perhaps at Tenggah(?) with an arrow-like symbol on the fuselage. Could this plane be the same one.

Jacob Terlouw

Ronnie Olsthoorn said...

Thanks Jacob. I found it on this page:
Nice! That's a camo scheme and marking I haven't seen before I don't think!


Unknown said...

Thanks for posting this photo, Nick,

Ken Glass