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A Face Without a Name Part II
by Michael Moskow

In August of 2001, I posted A Face Without a Name - Who Was He? on Pacific Wrecks. My internet article concerned an attempt to identify an American aviator POW of the Japanese….presumably a B-29 crewman…who appears in a photo originally published in the Asahi Shimbun in 1945, and in the Time-Life book Japan at War, in 1980.

Capture of a B-29 crewman by the Japanese was the worst of fates. … For those who came back [from combat missions] there was a cleaning shower and a clean bunk to purge their weariness. But for those who did not there were many possibilities, all of them brutal and tragic.
- Kevin Herbert Maximum Effort

My starting point and the "crux" of this investigation is the photo's caption, which suggests that the POW was shot down during a mission to Kobe, or at least photographed within that city after being captured elsewhere in Japan. Using this tantalizing and uncertain clue, I've aimed at identifying those B-29s which were lost on missions specifically to Kobe, or, those Superfortresses which failed to return to missions to other Japanese targets, on the same day that raids to Kobe took place. I've used this information to identify Missing Air Crew Reports for B-29s and crews lost on such missions (several of which are reproduced here), and have found one particular Judge Advocate General's Office "Case File" which covers the mistreatment and "execution" of several of these crewmen. Several B-29 and POW related web sites have also been extremely helpful in researching this story.

My sources of information for the dates and destinations of B-29 missions to Japan are the chronological lists of 20th and 21st Bomber Command Missions which appear in Ken Rust's Twentieth Air Force Story, and Sallyann Wagoner's magisterial series of web sites chronicling B-29 operations and losses, entitled "56 Years Ago". Using these sources, I've discovered the names of thirty-nine B-29 crewmen who were captured by the Japanese on the dates in question, any one of whom might…might…have been the long-anonymous POW in the photograph. Hoping that I've assembled the vague pieces of this puzzle correctly, the names follow…

B-29 Losses During Dates of Missions to Kobe, Japan

February 4, 1945 - Mission to Kobe Urban Area. Two B-29s lost; no MACRs.

498th BG, 873rd BS - 42-24629 - No MACR
"Devil's Darlin", Piloted by 1 Lt. Maurice L. Malone. Eleven crewmen. Ten survivors, but none were POWs. Loss described in Steve Birdsall's Saga of the Superfortress.

498th BG, 873rd BS - 42-24608 - No MACR
"T Square 3", Piloted by Stendahl; crashed on Saipan due to battle damage; crew survived. [1]

March 16, 1945 - Mission to Kobe Urban Area. Three B-29s lost, and three MACRs.

9th BG, 99th BS - 42-63456 - MACR # 14272
Piloted by 1 Lt. George S. Christie. Eleven crewmen. No survivors.

500th BG, 881st BS - 42-24849 - MACR # 13079
Piloted by Major Robert J. Fitzgerald. Eleven crewmen. Two were captured, but they did not survive captivity.

504th BG, 398th BS - 42-65242 - MACR # 14246
Piloted by Major George W. Shaffer. Ten crewmen. No survivors. [2]

May 5, 1945 - Mission to Kobe Metropolitan Area. Five B-29s lost, and four MACRs.

29th BG, 6th BS - 42-65305 - MACR # 14363
Piloted by 1 Lt. Marvin S. Watkins. Eleven crewmen. Seven were POWs, but of these men, only Lt. Watkins survived captivity.

29th BG, 6th BS - 42-93953 - MACR # 14364
Piloted by 1 Lt. Ralph E. Miller. Eleven crewmen. No survivors.

497th BG, 871st BS - 44-69889 - MACR # 14365
"A-56", Piloted by 2 Lt. Joe S. McSpadden. Eleven crewmen. Four were POWs, but none survived.

498th BG, 875th BS - 42-63416 - MACR # 14366
Piloted by 1 Lt. Stephen E. Davis. Eleven crewmen. Four survivors, but none were POWs.

498th BG
Piloted by Tunnell. All survived; none were POWs. [3]

May 11, 1945 - Mission to Kobe Industrial Area. One B-29 lost, and one MACR.

29th BG, 52nd BS - 42-63571 - MACR # 14436
Piloted by 2 Lt. Clemence W. Halteman. Eleven crewmen. No survivors.

June 5, 1945 - Mission to Kobe Urban Area. Eleven B-29s lost, and eight MACRs.

6th BG, 40th BS - 44-69839 - No MACR
"Forever Amber"; "41" - Eleven crewmen. The plane was hit by flak over Osaka, instantly killing one crewmen and mortally wounding another. The aircraft managed to return to Iwo Jima, where it was used as a source of spare parts. [4]

29th BG, 52nd BS - 44-70008 - MACR # 14604
Piloted by 1 Lt. Joseph V. Franklin. Eleven crewmen. No survivors.

330th BG, 459th BS - 44-69766 - MACR # 14602
"City of Burbank - Old Soldier's Home", Piloted by 1 Lt. Donald H. Schilts. Eleven crewmen. At least two were POWs, but they did not survive the war.

4444th BG, 678th BS - 42-63451 - MACR # 14606
"Black Jack, Too", Piloted by 1 Lt. Woodrow B. Palmer. Eleven crewmen. Ten men were captured, but they never returned.

462nd BG, 770th BS - 42-65336 - MACR # 14394
"Acid Test II", Piloted by Major Eugene F. Torrand. Twelve crewmen. No survivors.

462nd BG, 770th BS - 44-69965 - MACR # 14605
Piloted by Capt. Carl T. Hull, Jr. Eleven crewmen. At least seven were captured, but none survived.

468th BG, 793rd BS - 44-69665 - MACR # 14390
Piloted by Capt. Robert L. Arnold. Eleven crewmen. One survivor, but he was not a POW.

468th BG, 792nd BS - 42-24703
"American Beauty" - Crash-landed on Iwo Jima. Fate of crew unknown. [5]

498th BG, 874th BS - 42-24742 - MACR # 14858
"The Rocket"; "T Square 31", Piloted by 1 Lt. Robert A. Rochat. Eleven crewmen. Four survivors, but none were POWs.

B-29 "Indian Maid" 42-24809
Piloted by Major Edward Fishkin. Eleven crewmen. Two crewmen were POWs, but they were not alive when the war ended.

July 19, 1945 - Mission to Kobe / Osaka metropolitan areas. Two B-29s lost, and one MACR.

462nd BG - 44-61569
Piloted by Magaha. Crashed and burned during a training mission at West Field on Tinian. Fifteen crewmen; all killed. [6]

497th BG, 869th BS - 42-24717 - MACR # 14922
"A-11", Piloted by Rodge. Eleven crewmen. Ditched, with five survivors. [6]

July 20, 1945 - Mission to Kobe Metropolitan area. Two B-29s lost, and two MACRs.

6th BG, 24th BS - 44-7016 - MACR # 14786
"Sharron Linn", Piloted by Captain Gordon P. Jordan. Eleven crewmen. The entire crew seems to have parachuted successfully, but of the eleven, only seven survived capture to become POWs. These seven, in turn, were the only POWs to actually survive captivity and return at the war's end.

499th BG, 877th BS - 44-87652 - MACR # 14785
Piloted by 1 Lt. Wallace P.B. Ringham. Eleven crewmen. No survivors. [6]

As can be seen from the above list, two crewmen are known to have been captured on March 16, eleven on May 5, nineteen on June 5, and seven on July 20, for a total of thirty-nine.

Of the thirty-nine, the only survivors were seven of the eleven crewmen who survived capture on July 20, 1945: The men of the Sharonn Linn.

But, getting to the most important question of all: Who were these men?…

Those Known to have Been Captured

March 16, 1945
2 Lt. Robert W. Nelson - Navigator, from Minneapolis, Minnesota
S/Sgt. Algy S. Algunas - Right Blister Gunner, from Bay Shore, Long Island, New York

500th BG, 881st BS - 42-24849 - MACR # 13079

C O N F I D E N T I A L
MISSING AIR CREW REPORT (Cross out one)

881st Bombardment Squadron (Unit)

1. ORGANIZATION: Location, by Name Saipan, M.I. Command or Air Force 20th AF - 21 BC Group 500th Squadron 881st

2. SPECIFY: Place of Departure Saipan, M.I. Course See attached map
Target or Intended Destination: Kobe, Japan Type of Mission Bombing

3. WEATHER CONDITIONS AND VISIBILITY AT TIME OF CRASH OR WHEN LAST REPORTED:

4. GIVE: (a) Day 17 Month 3 Year 45 Time unknown and Location of last known whereabouts of missing aircraft. Unknown [Kobe, Japan]

5. AIRPCRAFT WAS LOST, OR IS BELIEVED TO HAVE BEEN LOST, AS A RESULT OF: (Check only one): Enemy Aircraft ( ); Enemy Anti-Aircraft ( ); Other circumstances as follows: Reason Unknown

6. AIRCRAFT: Type, Model and Series B-29 AAF Serial No 42-24849

7. NICKNAME OF AIRCRAFT, if Any: NONE

10. THE PERSONS LISTED BELOW ARE REPORTED AS: (a) Battle Casualty XX

11. NUMBER OF PERSONS ABOARD AIRCRAFT: Crew 11; Passengers 0 Total 11
(Starting with Pilot, furnish the following particulars)

Crew Name in Full Home
Position (Last Name First) Rank Town Status

Pilot Fitzgerald, Robert Johnson Major Ridgewood, N.J. KIA
Co-Pilot Copeland, Robert Eugene 2 Lt. Lewiston, Id. KIA
Navigator Nelson, Robert Watson 2 Lt. Minneapolis, Mn. KIA while POW
Bombardier Brousek, Erwin Acton 1 Lt. Chicago, Il. KIA
Flt Engineer Bond, James Carlton 2 Lt. Tulsa, Ok. KIA
CFC Holley, David William Sgt. Cedar Rapids, Ia. KIA
RG Augunas, Algy Stanley S/Sgt. Bay Shore, L.I., N.Y. KIA while POW
LG Cutler, John Lionel Sgt. Jasper, Oh. KIA
TG Wray, Ruben Austin Sgt. Tiptonville, Tn. KIA
RAD G Cookson, Robert D. S/Sgt. Uhrichsville, Oh. KIA
RDO O Barry, John Thomas Sgt. Chicago, Il. KIA

12. IDENTIFY BELOW THOSE PERSONS WHO ARE BELIEVED TO HAVE LAST KNOWLEDGE OF AIRCRAFT, AND CHECK APPROPRIATE COLUMN TO INDICATE BASIS FOR SAME:

Check only One Column

Contacted Saw
Name in Full by Last Saw Forced
(Last Name First) Rank ASN Radio Sighted Crash Landing

None

C O N F I D E N T I A L

A moving web site has been completed by Bill Copeland, nephew of the B-29's co-pilot, 2 Lt. Robert E. Copeland. Appropriately entitled "Lt. Copeland's War Diary". The site contains a transcript of Lt. Copeland's diary, a crew photo with caption, images of Copeland and Major Fitzgerald, as well as scans of documents and correspondence pertaining to the crew of B-29 42-24829. [7] The site also contains an account of the downing of Major Fitzgerald's B-29 by "Capt. Junichi Ogata, Army Air Academy 53rd Squadron Leader of the Army 56th Sentai". [8]

As can be seen on Bill Copeland's web site, transcripts of postwar news articles indicate that Algy Augunas and Robert Nelson were murdered on July 18, 1945. This is also thoroughly covered in Case File 35-2281, "U.S. vs. Hiroshi Anjo, et al.", in Records Group 153 at the National Archives, which reveals that both Augunas and Nelson were subjected to what essentially was a kangaroo-court "trial" before they were "executed". [9]

May 5, 1945
1 Lt. Marvin S. Watkins - Pilot, from Virginia
2 Lt. William R. Fredericks - Co-Pilot, from Bloomfield, New Jersey
2 Lt. Dale E. Plambeck - Radar Navigator, from Nebraska
S/Sgt. Teddy J. Ponczka - Flight Engineer, from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Cpl. Robert B. Williams - Radio Operator, from Westfield, New Jersey
Cpl. Leon E. Czarnecki - Tail Gunner, from Trenton, New Jersey
Cpl. John C. Colehower - Nose Gunner (?), from Pennsylvania

29th BG, 6th BS - 42-65305 - MACR # 14363

First Lieutenant Marvin S. Watkins would be the sole survivor of the seven men who survived the crash of B-29 42-65305. In an act of cruelty that was extraordinary even by the standards of typical Japanese treatment of captured airmen, the other six survivors of Watkins' crew were murdered during May and June at the Faculty of Medicine of Kyushu Imperial University. Rather than discuss the details of that tragic incident here, I suggest that the reader go to Wes Injerd's excellent web site which contains extensive information about that event, as well as a variety of comprehensive…and increasing…information about Allied POWs of the Japanese, focusing on Fukuoka, and POWs on the "Hell Ships". [10] An article about this crew also appeared in The Baltimore Sun on May 28, 1995 [11]

Remarkably, adjacent to the photo of the POW in Japan at War is an account that is consistent with the information given in both Wes' and the Sun's web sites, describing the fate of one of the four crewmen from Watkins' plane who was not captured. Namely,

But some Army officer and policemen followed orders and did what they could to save downed Americans from being murdered by enraged Japanese civilians. The report of a policeman named Tsukamoto described one such effort. Tsukamoto and a group of armed villagers raced to a small forest near the Tachiari air base near Kyushu. A B-29 raiding the base had just burst into flames, and one of the plane's crewmen had parachuted into the trees.

Catching sight of the American, Tsukamoto called out in broken English, "Hold up, hold up." The young American understood and raised his hands, dropping his pistol to the ground. But then the villagers started screaming, "Kill him, kill him now!" Terrified, the American snatched his weapon from the ground, aimed it at his temple and pulled the trigger. He collapsed and died.

Tsukamoto stood over the body, fending off angry people who were trying to hack at it with swords and knives. An old woman with a carving knife struggled toward him shouting, "I had two sons drafted, and the Americans killed them both. I want my revenge!" But then she focused on the smooth face and tousled red hair of the American, who could not have been more than 20 years old. She dropped to her knees and shook his body, crying, "Why did you have to kill? Don't you have parents of your own?

2 Lt. Joe S. McSpadden - Pilot, from Rising Star, Texas
2 Lt. Harry J. Foley - Bombardier-Navigator, from Highland, Kansas
S/Sgt. Logan M. Sparks - Flight Engineer, from Durham, North Carolina
S/Sgt. Earle P. Flannagan - CFC Gunner, from Collingswood, New Jersey

497th BG, 871st BS - B-29 44-69889 - MACR # 14365

REPORT NO. 11 (Eleven) C O N F I D E N T I A L
Original - xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
MISSING AIR CREW REPORT (Strike out one)
871st Bombardment Squadron
(Unit)

1. ORGANIZATION: Location, by Name Saipan, M.I; Command or Air Force XXI
Group 497th Squadron 871st; Detachment xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

2. SPECIFY: Place of departure Saipan, M.I; Course 330o
Target or Intended Destination: Hiro Naval A/C Plant, Kure, Honshu, Japan
Type of Mission Bombing

3. WEATHER CONDITIONS AND VISIBILITY AT TIME OF CRASH OR WHEN LAST REPORTED: Ceiling and visibility unlimited.

4. GIVE: (a) Day 5 Month May Year 1945 Time 0118Z and Location 34o 00 N; 135o 45' E of last known whereabouts of missing aircraft.

5. AIRPLANE WAS LOST, OR IS BELIEVED TO HAVE BEEN LOST, AS RESULT OF: (Check only one): Enemy Aircraft (x); Enemy Anti-Aircraft ( ); Other circumstances as follows:

6. AIRPLANE: Type, Model and Series B-29; AAF Serial Number 44-69899

7. NICKNAME OF AIRCRAFT, If Any: None

10. THE PERSONS LISTED BELOW ARE RECORDED AS: (a) Battle Casualty Battle Casualty

11. NUMBER OF PERSONS ABOARD AIRCRAFT: Crew 11; Passengers None

Name in Full Home
Crew Position (last name First) Rank Town Status

1. Ap Co McSpadden, Joe S. 2d Lt Rising Star, Tx. KIA while POW
2. Pilot King, Wilson K. 2d Lt Bennettsville, S.C. KIA
3. Nav-Bombardier Hooser, Jack R. F/O Rochester, Pa. KIA
4. Bomb-Navigator Foley, Harry J. 2d Lt. Highland, Ks. KIA while POW
5. Flt Engineer Sparks, Logan M. S/Sgt. Durham, N.C. KIA while POW
6. Radar Oper Croake, Thomas J. 2d Lt. South Orange, N.J. KIA
7. Radio-Oper Gnr Kisti, Joseph F. S/Sgt Trenton, N.J. KIA
8. CFC Gunner Flanagan, Erle P. S/Sgt Collingswood, N.J. KIA while POW
9. LeftGunner Meier, John A. S/Sgt Littlefield, Tx. KIA
10. Right Gunner Johnson, Howard R. Sgt. Valparaiso, In. KIA
11. Tail Gunner Hansser, Louis J. T/Sgt Fort Wayne, In. KIA

12. IDENTIFY BELOW THOSE PERSONS WHO ARE BELIEVED TO HAVE LAST KNOWELDGE OF AIRCRAFT, AND CHECK APPROPRIATE COLUMN TO INDICATE BASIS FOR SAME:

Check only One Column

Saw
Name in Full Serial Contacted Last Saw Forced
(Last Name First) Rank Number by Radio Sighted Crash Landing

Evans, Ralph J. 1st Lt
Eichenberger, William H. Sgt.
Post, William N. Sgt.
Broskey, John K. S/Sgt.

DATE OF REPORT 6 May 1945

17. REMARKS OR EYEWITNESS STATEMENTS:

At 0110Z at 35o 00N 135o 45' E B-29 A-56 lost #3 and #4 engines due to enemy fighter attack. Number 3 engine was on fire and both #3 and #4 were feathered. The aircraft maintained altitude and dropped its bombs but lost the formation.

B-29 A-55 (Lt. Evans and crew) left the formation and followed A-56, picking the aircraft up at 33o 50' N 134o 00E at 18000 feet. At this time both #3 and #4 engines were feathered, and #3 was intermittently on fire. A-56 dropped down to 11,000 feet and a Tojo made three passes from three and nine o'clock high before A-55 came to her help. Diving down A-55 tried to head the enemy aircraft off and maneuvered in order to give all the turrets full play. The enemy aircraft was fired on by all gunners up to 400 yards and left smoking. It did not return.

At this time the right wing of A-56 broke off between the two feathered engines and the wing started to blaze. A-56 slid into the ground and blew up. The right gunner, left gunner, and tail gunner of Lt. Evans' crew saw this happen, and the right gunner saw four (4) parachutes open at 2,000 feet (that was the maximum of which the gunner was certain). There is a possibility of eight (8). The crewmen were not seen hitting the ground; the ground was mountainous, there was no habitation. The aircraft crashed at 0118Z, 34o 00N, 135o 45' E.

Though uninjured when captured, none of these men returned. Flanagan and Sparks were murdered on July 20, and Lt. McSpadden on August 15, after Emperor Hirohito broadcast his surrender announcement. I do not know when Foley was killed. [9]

June 5, 1945
1 Lt. Donald J. Schilts - Pilot, from Everett, Washington
S/Sgt. George C. Reed - Navigator (?), from Hungtington, Indiana

330th BG, 459th BS - 44-69766 - MACR # 14602

REPORT NO. 3 C O N F I D E N T I A L
Original - xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
MISSING AIR CREW REPORT (Cross out one)
459th Bomb Sq. 330th Bomb Gp
(Unit)

1. ORGANIZATION: Location, by Name GUAM, M.I; Command or Air Force 20 AF
Group 330th Squadron 459th

2. SPECIFY: Place of departure North Fld., Guam Course 343o
Target or Intended Destination: KOBE, Japan Type of Mission Incendiary

3. WEATHER CONDITIONS AND VISIBILITY AT TIME OF CRASH OR WHEN LAST REPORTED: Visibility good; cloud undercast.

4. GIVE: (a) Day 5 Month June Year 1945 Time 0947K and Location of last known whereabouts of missing aircraft. 34o 30' N; 136o 00' E.

5. AIRPLANE WAS LOST, OR IS BELIEVED TO HAVE BEEN LOST, AS RESULT OF: (Check only one): Enemy Aircraft (x); Enemy Anti-Aircraft ( ); Other circumstances as follows: None

6. AIRPLANE: Type, Model and Series B-29A; AAF Serial Number 44-69766

7. NICKNAME OF AIRCRAFT, If Any: City of Burbank - Old Soldier's Home.

10. THE PERSONS LISTED BELOW ARE RECORDED AS: (a) Battle Casualty Battle Casualty

11. NUMBER OF PERSONS ABOARD AIRCRAFT: Crew 11; Passengers None

Crew Name in Full Home
Position (last name First) Rank Town Status

1. A Schilts, Donald J. 1st Lt Everett, Wa. KIA while POW
2. A Rich, Kenneth W. F/O Wichita, Ks. KIA
3. N Reed, George C. S/Sgt Huntington, In. KIA while POW
4. P Scott, Robert C. 2d Lt Indianapolis, In. KIA
5. O Boulay, Francis G. Sgt Fall River, Ma. KIA
6. K Chatham, Byron K., Jr. Pfc Kingston, N.Y. KIA
7. R Collins, Woodrow W. Sgt Chicago, Il. KIA
8. K Davidson, James H. Cpl White Plains, N.Y. KIA
9. G Grunigen, David W. Cpl San Francisco, Ca. KIA
10. C Holm, Leonard W. F/O Great Falls, Mt. KIA
11. B Picciano, Anthony A. 2d Lt Idaho KIA

12. IDENTIFY BELOW THOSE PERSONS WHO ARE BELIEVED TO HAVE LAST KNOWELDGE OF AIRCRAFT, AND CHECK APPROPRIATE COLUMN TO INDICATE BASIS FOR SAME:

Check only One Column

Saw
Name in Full Serial Contacted Last Saw Forced
(Last Name First) Rank Number by Radio Sighted Crash Landing

Cameron, William A. 2d Lt. 0-931755

DATE OF REPORT 6 June 1945

E.D. REYNOLDS
Colonel, Air Corps
Commanding, 330th BG

17. REMARKS OR EYEWITNESS STATEMENTS:

STATEMENT OF 2D LT WILLIAM A. CAMERON

Jap fighter near formation - one B-29 broke formation -
seemed out of control. Two (2) chutes opened at about
14,000 feet. At times airplane seemed to be partially
under control - during this time there were three (3) Jap
fighters on his tail. Six (6) chutes opened at 5,000 feet.
Plane leveled at about 1,500 feet and then nosed down to
crash in river bed. Plane exploded.

Sergeant Reed was murdered on June 5, and Lieutenant Schilts was killed in the same incident with Lieutenant McSpadden, on August 15. Another victim on the 15th was Captain Jack K. Ort, of the 46th Fighter Squadron, 21st Fighter Group, 7th Air Force. [9]

1st Lt. Woodrow B. Palmer - Pilot, from Buda, Texas
2nd Lt. Owen P. Walls - Co-Pilot, from Renton, Washington
2nd Lt. Robert F. Dailey - Navigator, from Eastchester, New York
1st Lt. Don A. Coulter - Bombardier, from Arkansas City, Kansas
M/Sgt. Henry T. Farish - Flight Engineer, from Alabama
Sgt. Eugene J. Prouty - Radar Operator, from Barahoe, Wisconsin
S/Sgt. Willard M. Chapman - Radio Operator, from Clovis, New Mexico
S/Sgt. Cleveland T. Niles, Jr. - CFC Gunner, from East Saint Louis, Illinois
Sgt. Peter Sabo - Right Blister Gunner, from St. Claisville, Ohio
Sgt. Charles A. Heisler - Tail Gunner, from Arnold, Maryland

4444th BG, 678th BS - 42-63451 - MACR # 14606

C O N F I D E N T I A L

MISSING AIR CREW REPORT
678th Bombardment Squadron
APO #247 c/o Postmaster
San Francisco, California Original - Supplemental
(Unit) (Cross out word not applicable)

1. ORGANIZATION: Location, by Name Tinian, Marianas; Command or Air Force XXI B.C.;
Group 444th Bomb Gp; Squadron 678th Bomb Sq

2. SPECIFY: Place of departure West Field, Tinian. Course 116o Target to lands End.
Target or Intended Destination: Kobe, Japan Type of Mission Combat

3. WEATHER CONDITIONS AND VISIBILITY AT TIME OF CRASH OR WHEN LAST REPORTED: Clear visibility, weather - good.

4. GIVE: (a) Day 5 Month June Year 1945 Time 2342Z and Location 34o 19'N 136o 32' E of last seen whereabouts of missing aircraft.

5. AIRPLANE WAS LOST, OR IS BELIEVED TO HAVE BEEN LOST, AS RESULT OF: (Check only one): Enemy Aircraft ( ); Enemy Anti-Aircraft (x); Other circumstances as follows: None

6. AIRPLANE: Type, Model and Series B-29-16-BA ; AAF Serial Number 42-63451

7. NICKNAME OF AIRCRAFT, If any Black Jack, too

10. THE PERSONS LISTED BELOW ARE RECORDED AS: (a) Battle Casualty Battle Casualty

11. NUMBER OF PERSONS ABOARD AIRCRAFT: Crew 11; Passengers None

Name in Full Home
Crew Position (last name First) Rank Town Status

1. Airplane Com. Palmer, Woodrow B. 1st Lt. Buda, Tx. KIA while POW
2. Pilot Walls, Owen P. 2nd Lt Renton, Wa. KIA while POW
3. Navigator Dailey, Robert F. 2nd Lt. Eastchester, N.Y. KIA while POW
4. Bombardier Coulter, Don A. 1st Lt. Arkansas City, Ks. KIA while POW
5. Flt/Engineer Farish, Henry T. M/Sgt. Al. KIA while POW
6. Radar Opr. Prouty, Eugene J. Sgt. Barahoe, Wi. KIA while POW
7. Radio Opr. Chapman, Willard M. S/Sgt. Clovis, N.M. KIA while POW
8. Snr Gnr Niles, Cleveland T. Jr. S/Sgt. East Saint Louis, Il. KIA while POW
9. Rt Gnr Sabo, Peter (NMI) Sgt. St. Clarisville, Oh. KIA while POW
10. Lt Gnr Romanelli, Joseph W. Sgt. Darby, Pa. KIA
11. Tail Gnr Heisler, Charles A. Sgt. Arnold, Md. KIA while POW

12. IDENTIFY BELOW THOSE PERSONS WHO ARE BELIEVED TO HAVE LAST KNOWELDGE OF AIRCRAFT, AND CHECK APPROPRIATE COLUMN TO INDICATE BASIS FOR SAME:

Check only One Column

Saw
Name in Full Serial Contacted Last Saw Forced
(Last Name First) Rank Number by Radio Sighted Crash Landing

Shelden, Harold J. Major X

DATE OF REPORT 7 June 1945

ELLIOTT S. TREMAINE,
Captain, Air Corps,
Operations Officer.

17. REMARKS OR EYEWITNESS STATEMENTS:

WEATHER OVER AREA WHERE PLANE WAS SEEN TO CRASH:

Thin overcast - 20000'
.3 Cumulus - Tops 4000'
Visibility - 20 Miles
Surface winds - Southwesterly.

STATEMENT MADE BY MAJOR HAROLD J. SHELDEN, JR., AC

ON AIRCRAFT NUMBER 42-63451

Upon breaking away from the target on a heading of 114o for "land's end", my gunner reported that Aircraft 42-63451, piloted by Lt. Palmer, flying on the low element, had feathered Number three (3) engine. Very shortly thereafter that engine was seen to start running and was immediately feathered for the second time. Aircraft 451 then started losing altitude and dropped out of his position in the low element. I then pulled out of formation, No. 2 in lead element, and proceeded down to act as escort.

While approximately 200 feet above and still descending it was noted that Aircraft 451 was trailing smoke out of Number 3 engine. This condition existed for approximately five minutes at which time a heavy flame broke out trailing from Number 3 engine back to the horizontal stabilizer. Lt. Palmer was at this time holding a steady heading for "land's end" and was gradually descending. At approximately two to three miles before reaching coast, and after having traveled approximately fifteen miles with fire burning furiously, the right wing was seen to buckle at Number 3 engine and break off. The airplane rolled over on its back and started into a vertical nose down spin.

Four parachutes were then seen to open almost simultaneously at an altitude of approximately 11,000 feet; then three more, then two and one. All parachutes were open relatively soon but in the groups as indicated.

The wing was seen to hit on the side of a mountain further inland and sooner than did the remainder of the aircraft which crashed approximately three hundred (300) yards inland from shore and at southeast edge of small settlement along water front.

Two enemy fighters made attacks at an interval of approximately two minutes shortly after Aircraft 451 started blazing fire out of Number 3 engine. The first fighter was destroyed and the second damaged.

One circle was made by escorting aircraft of all chutes at which time a third fighter was seen approximately two miles to the south. The escorting aircraft proceeded on 180o heading out to sea, was followed by fighter for nearly ten minutes and then broke away without being able to make an attack.

I certify this to be a true and accurate account to the best of my knowledge.

HAROLD H. SHELDEN,
Major, Air Corps.
(Airplane Commander)

According to information at 56 Years Ago: 1 - 15 June 1945, the ten men listed below were taken to the Tokai Military Command, where one died of his wounds on June 6. The other nine were murdered in the forests of Akatsu-cho Seto city, on June 28. [5]

1 Lt. Cletus W. Moser - Co-Pilot, from Ligonier, Indiana
1 Lt. Benton H. Van Horn, Jr. - Navigator, from Des Moines, Iowa
1 Lt. Oliver M. Stewart - Bombardier, from Sand Springs, Oklahoma
S/Sgt. Arthur H. Weinhauer - Radar Operator, from Wheaton, Illinois
T/Sgt. David F. McNeley - CFC Gunner, also from Des Moines
S/Sgt. Hershell D. Barrett - Right Blister Gunner, from Long Beach, California
S/Sgt. John N. Zinn - Left Blister Gunner, from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

462nd BG, 770th BS - 44-69965 - MACR # 14605

C O N F I D E N T I A L

MISSING AIR CREW REPORT
770th Bomb Sq 462nd Bomb Gp
UNIT
Original - xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
(Cross out word not applicable)

1. ORGANIZATION: Location, by Name Tinian Island; Command or Air Force XX;
Group 462nd; Squadron 770th

2. SPECIFY: Place of departure Tinian Island Course 337 - 321
Target or Intended Destination: Kobe, Japan Type of Mission Bombing (combat)

3. WEATHER CONDITIONS AND VISIBILITY AT TIME OF CRASH OR WHEN LAST REPORTED: Weather good Visibility 8/10.

4. GIVE: (a) Day 5 Month Jun Year 45 Time 22:50 and Location 35 miles SE of target of last seen whereabouts of missing aircraft.

5. AIRPLANE WAS LOST, OR IS BELIEVED TO HAVE BEEN LOST, AS RESULT OF: (Check only one): Enemy Aircraft (xx); Enemy Anti-Aircraft ( ); Other circumstances as follows: None

6. AIRPLANE: Type, Model and Series B-29-70-BW ; AAF Serial Number 44-69965

7. NICKNAME OF AIRCRAFT, If any none

10. THE PERSONS LISTED BELOW ARE RECORDED AS: (a) Battle Casualty xxxx

11. NUMBER OF PERSONS ABOARD AIRCRAFT: Crew 11; Passengers None

Name in Full Home
Crew Position (last name First) Rank Town Status

1. Pilot Hull, Carl T Jr Capt Norfolk, Va. KIA
2. CoPilot Moser, Cletus W 1/Lt Ligonier, In KIA while POW
3. Navigator Van Horn, Benton H Jr 1/Lt Des Moines, Ia. KIA while POW
4. Bombardier Stewart, Oliver M 1/Lt Sand Springs, Ok. KIA while POW
5. Flight Engr Blackburn, Charles F/O Pratt, Ks. KIA
6. Radio Opr Drew, Thomas O T/Sgt Pratt, Ks. KIA
7. Radar Opr Weinhauer, Arthur H S/Sgt Wheaton, Il. KIA while POW
8. CFC McNeley, David F T/Sgt Des Moines, Ia. KIA while POW
9. Right Gnr Barrett, Hershell D S/Sgt Long Beach, Ca. KIA while POW
10. Left Gnr Zinn, John N S/Sgt Harrisburg, Pa. KIA while POW
11. Tail Gnr Glenens, James H S/Sgt Childress, Tx. KIA


12. IDENTIFY BELOW THOSE PERSONS WHO ARE BELIEVED TO HAVE LAST KNOWELDGE OF AIRCRAFT, AND CHECK APPROPRIATE COLUMN TO INDICATE BASIS FOR SAME:

Check only One Column

Saw
Name in Full Serial Contacted Last Saw Forced
(Last Name First) Rank Number by Radio Sighted Crash Landing

Bucklin, James L. Pfc.
Murray, Charles H. S/Sgt.

DATE OF REPORT 6 June 1945

ALFRED F. KALBERER
Colonel, Air Corps,
Commanding, 462nd Bomb Gp

17. REMARKS OR EYEWITNESS STATEMENTS:

S T A T E M E N T

I was flying as tail gunner on airplane No. 329 and saw airplane No. 44-69965 get hit as we were flying over the target. The #2 engine began to smoke and burn, but the fire was soon put out. I lost sight of #965 until two fighters attacked it. The plane caught fire again and shortly afterward blew up. As the plane fell I saw seven chutes open up.

CHARLES H. MURRAY,
S/Sgt, 16044739
770th Bomb Sq.

S T A T E M E N T

I was left gunner in aircraft No. 329, which was flying #7 ship in the formation. After we had left the target and were heading for the turning point, aircraft No. 44-69965 was hit by a flak burst which caused damage to the left wing around #2 engine. A fire started in this engine, but was extinguished temporarily by the application of CO2 and the feathering of the prop. The decrease in air speed was soon evident and # 965 began to drop back of our formation.

As we made the first turn away from the target, # 965 was still close enough to receive protection from us. The fighter attack at this point was very concentrated. As we made our turn toward the coast, # 965 was approximately 800 yards out at 7 o'clock from our ship. Our altitude at that time was 15,500 true. About two or three minutes from the second turn two Nicks worked around us and attacked # 965. Several coordinated attacks were executed by them.

A smoldering fire had existed on # 965's number two engine up to this time. After the fighter attacks, 965 began to blaze fiercely and it was evident that the ship would not make it. I saw three chutes open up. Then a great sheet of flame enveloped # 965 and the left wing fell off. Both wing and plane were burning as they tumbled toward the earth. Five more chutes opened in a bunch, making a total of eight (8). Shortly afterward the ship hit the ground and exploded.

JAMES L. BUCKLIN,
Pfc, 36566246,
770th Bombardment Squadron

Also according to 56 Years Ago: 1 - 15 June 1945, all the above except for Barrett and Moser were captured in their life rafts. "Those listed and later executed (bodies found and identified) were Moser, Van Horn, Stewart, Weinbauer, Zinn and McNeley. Those not accounted for (never found) were Hull, Drew, Blackburn and Clements." [5]

July 20, 1945

6th BG, 24th BS - B-29 "Sharon Linn" 44-70116 - MACR # 14786
Capt. Gordon P. Jordan - Pilot, from Monroe, Louisiana
2 Lt. Paul A. Trump - Bombardier, from Kimberton, Pennsylvania
M/Sgt. George E. McGrew - Flight Engineer?, from Gillett, Arkansas
S/Sgt. Walter W. Wiernik - Radio Operator?, from Buffalo, New York
S/Sgt. Walter W. Dickerson - Gunner?, from Aurora, Illinois
S/Sgt. Robert J. Burkle - Gunner?, from Wheeling, West Virginia
Sgt. Robert A. Grant - Gunner?, from Jamesville, Wisconsin

C O N F I D E N T I A L

MISSING AIR CREW REPORT
24th Bombardment Squadron
(Unit)
Original - xxxxxxxxxxx
(Cross out word not applicable)

1. ORGANIZATION: Location, by Name Tinian, M.I; Command or Air Force 20 AF;
Group 6th Bomb Gp; Squadron 24th Bomb Sq

340o to Iwo Jima
2. SPECIFY: Place of departure Tinian, M.I. Course 350o to Niigata
Target or Intended Destination: Niigata Type of Mission Mining

3. WEATHER CONDITIONS AND VISIBILITY AT TIME OF CRASH OR WHEN LAST REPORTED: Clear visibility, weather - good.

4. GIVE: (a) Day 20 Month Jul Year 1945 Time 0200 and Location Niigata of last seen whereabouts of missing aircraft.

5. AIRPLANE WAS LOST, OR IS BELIEVED TO HAVE BEEN LOST, AS RESULT OF: (Check only one): Enemy Aircraft ( ); Enemy Anti-Aircraft (x); Other circumstances as follows: None

6. AIRPLANE: Type, Model and Series VHB B-29-80-BW ; AAF Serial Number 44-70116

7. NICKNAME OF AIRCRAFT, If any Sharron Linn

10. THE PERSONS LISTED BELOW ARE RECORDED AS: (a) Battle Casualty Battle Casualty

11. NUMBER OF PERSONS ABOARD AIRCRAFT: Crew 11; Passengers None

Name in Full Home
Crew Position (last name First) Rank Town Status

1. Pilot A Jordan, Gordon P. Capt. Monroe, La. Returned
2. A Hawkins, Wails 1st Lt Bessemer, Al. KIA while POW
3. C Wride, Clinton L. 1st Lt Portland, Or. KIA while POW
4. B Trump, Paul A. 2d Lt Kimberton, Pa. Returned
5. W McGrew, George E. M/Sgt Gillett, Arkansas Returned
6. L Wiernik, Walter W. S/Sgt Buffalo, N.Y. Returned
7. S Adams, Max A. S/Sgt Grove Hill, Al. KIA while POW
8. O Dickerson, Walter W. S/Sgt Aurora, Il. Returned
9. I Burkle, Robert J. S/Sgt Wheeling, W.V. Returned
10. K Grant, Robert A. Sgt Jamesville, Wi. Returned
11. R Sparo, Florio D. S/Sgt Chicago, Il. KIA while POW

12. IDENTIFY BELOW THOSE PERSONS WHO ARE BELIEVED TO HAVE LAST KNOWELDGE OF AIRCRAFT, AND CHECK APPROPRIATE COLUMN TO INDICATE BASIS FOR SAME:

Check only One Column

Saw
Name in Full Serial Contacted Last Saw Forced
(Last Name First) Rank Number by Radio Sighted Crash Landing

Seddon, Marshall E. 1st Lt
Meadow, Walter A., Jr. 1st Lt

DATE OF REPORT 23 July 1945

EDMUND S. STEFFLER
Captain, Air Corps,
Adjutant, 24th Bomb Sq, 6th Bomb Gp

17. REMARKS OR EYEWITNESS STATEMENTS:

A huge flame believed by observers to be a plane burned for
approximately four (4) minutes. Observers did not have the opportunity to
determine whether or not the flame went down but it is believed that there
was ample time to use parachutes if the object actually was a plane.

These seven men listed above survived, and are mentioned in Robert Martindale's The 13th Mission. They were eventually imprisoned at the Omori POW Camp, in Tokyo, from which they were liberated in the summer of 1945. [12] Brief accounts by Trump and Dickerson are present in Fiske Hanley's Accused American War Criminal, with Dickerson reporting that Adams, Hawkins, Sparo, and Wride were hung by Japanese civilians upon capture.

Concluding Thoughts

While there is a possibility that any one of the thirty-nine POWs listed here may (may) have been the still anonymous prisoner in the photograph, it's important to be aware that this list of names is almost certainly incomplete. The passage of time (more years have now elapsed since the end of the Second World War, than between the end of the American Civil War and World War One!), the deliberate or accidental destruction of documents and physical evidence, a lack of eyewitnesses, and a host of other factors almost certainly assure that we may never be able to identify, and determine the actual fate, of each and every B-29 crewman who was Missing in Action during the Second World War. Perhaps, then, this small account can serve as a kind of memorial for those whose names and fates are still…and may forever…be unknown. Let alone, those who are known.

References

[1] 56 Years Ago: 1 - 15 February 1945
http://home.att.net/~sallyann5/b29/56years-4502a.html

[2] 56 Years Ago: 16 - 31 March 1945
http://home.att.net/~sallyann5/b29/56years-4503b.html

[3] 56 Years Ago: 1 - 15 May 1945
http://home.att.net/~sallyann5/b29/56years-4505a.html

[4] The 6th Bomb Group: #41, Forever Amber, at
http://home.southwind.net/~crowther/6thBG/6bgplane41.html

[5] 56 Years Ago: 1 - 15 June 1945
http://home.att.net/~sallyann5/b29/56years-4506a.html

[6] 56 Years Ago: 15 - 31 July 1945
http://home.att.net/~sallyann5/b29/56years-4507b.html

[7] Lt. Copeland's War Diary, by Bill Copeland, at
http://home.att.net/~sallyann2/copeland1.html

[8] Captain Junichi's Last Combat, by Koji Takaki, at
http://home.att.net/~sallyann2/copeland7.html

[9] Case File 35-2281, "U.S. vs. Hiroshi Anjo, et al." (in) Records Group 153 - Records of the Office of the Judge Advocate General - United States National Archives, College Park, Md.

[10] Prisoner of War Camp #1, Fukuoka, Japan:
An Insight into Life and Death at a POW Camp in War-Time Japan, by Wes Ijnerd, at
http://www2.gol.com/users/winjerd/Pwcmp1_a.htm

[11] A Quiet Honesty Records a World War II Atrocity, by Thomas Easton,
copyright The Baltimore Sun, 1995, at http://www.sjwar.org/bs052895.htm

[12] Martindale, Robert R. The 13th Mission, Eakin Press, Austin, Tx., 1998.

Other Sources

Books

Birdsall, Steve Saga of the Superfortress: The Dramatic History of the B-29 and the Twentieth Air Force, Doubleday, Inc., Garden City, N.Y, 1980

Hanley, Fiske III Accused American War Criminal, Eakin Press, Austin, Tx., 1997.

Herbert, Kevin Maximum Effort: The B-29s Against Japan, Sunflower University Press, Manhattan, Ks., 1983

Hicks, George Japan's War Memories: Amnesia or Concealment?, Ashgate Publishing Limited, Aldershot, Hants, England, 1997.

Ienaga, Saburo The Pacific War: World War II and the Japanese, Pantheon Books, New York, N.Y., 1978

Marshall, Chester, and Stallings, Scotty "Gravesite of Twenty Murdered Flyers Found by Army Lieutenant", by Michael Moskow, in The Global Twentieth: An Anthology of the 20th AF in WW II, Volume II, Marshall Publishers, Memphis, Tn., 1987.

Rust, Kenn C. Twentieth Air Force Story, Historical Aviation Album, Temple City, Ca., 1979.

Simons, Gerald (editor) Japan at War, Time-Life Books, Chicago, Il., 1980.

Web Sites

B-29 Research Resources by "Dave and Sparky"

"Sallyann's Boys / B-29 Superfortress Then and Now… by Sallyann Wagoner

Aircraft of the 73rd Bombardment Wing 497th Group by Tom Robison

A Pilot's Story: Memories of WWII by Paul Schifferli

 

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