Pacific Wrecks
Pacific Wrecks    
  Missing In Action (MIA) Prisoners Of War (POW) Unexploded Ordnance (UXO)  
Chronology Locations Aircraft Ships Submit Info How You Can Help Donate
Keibitai Japanese Navy Guards in the Pacific
POWPartial list of Allied prisoners from World War II in the Pacific

The Imperial Japanese Navy Keibitai (Naval Special Police) was a Navy Guards unit tasked with detaining prisoners of War (POW). They were the Japanese Navy's equivalent of the Japanese Army's Kempeitai (military police). Some wartime documents incorrectly refer to the Keibitai as "Keibetai".

Japanese Navy POW Camp at Rabaul – 81st Naval Guard Unit at Rabaul on New Britain
The 81st Naval Guard Unit (81st Naval Garrison Unit) under the 8th Base Force (Eighth Base Force) was headquartered at the W. R. Carpenters building on Malaguna Avenue at Rabaul.

During early 1942 Allied Prisoners Of War (POW) were detained at this location until the the Japanese Army Kempeitai Rabaul Prisoner Compound (Rabaul POW Prison) was established in early 1943. Prisoners detained by the Keibitai were beaten and interrogated harshly. They were given very little food and no medical treatment. None of their prisoners survived, only the few who were transfered to the Japanese Army Kempeitai (military police) or were transported to Japan when they were liberated at the end of the Pacific War.

During 1942-1945, the Keibitai at Rabaul was responsible for many war crimes and executions. On January 14, 1944 a group of seventeen prisoners were taken from the camp an executed and buried in a mass grave on Matupi Island in a killing that became known as the "Matupi Island Massacre".

Known Prisoners Of War detained by the Keibitai
2nd Lt. Jack K. Wisener, O-662327 (POW, survived) Ponta, TX bombardier B-17F "Georgia Peach 41-24454 crashed June 13, 1943. Detained by the 81st Naval Guard unit, transfered to Kempeitai Rabaul Prisoner Compound.

2nd Lt. John A. Bailey, O-797952 (POW / MIA / KIA) NJ co-pilot B-25C Mitchell 42-32255 crashed November 23, 1943.

1st Lt. Ernest A. Naumann, O-427762 and SSgt Paul J. Cascio, Jr., 13072715 crew members from B-17 "Texas #6" 41-9207 crashed June 1, 1943 arrived June 21, 1943. Both were tortured for information and denied food or medical care. Around November 12, 1943 Cascio was transported to Japan with a group of prisoners and survived captivity. On November 25, 1943 Naumann and eleven other Allied prisoners were taken from the POW camp to the outskirts of Rabaul and executed.

1st Lt. David S. Hunter, O-420600 (POW, executed August 31, 1942, MIA / BNR) Proctor, VT pilot P-400 Airacobra crashed July 22, 1943 transfered to Rabaul early August 1942, executed August 31, 1942 at Matupi Island

1st Lt. Edward Albert Croker, O-14785 (POW executed Feb 21, 1944 / MIA) WI pilot TBF Avenger 06452 crashed September 16, 1943

These two detailed at Tunnel Hill (?), executed April 12, 1944
2nd Lt Thomas O. Thompson. Jr., O-352317 (POW, executed April 12, 1944, MIA) TX pilot B-25C 42-32319
2nd Lt Carl C. Clemons, O-742137 (POW, executed April 12, 1944, MIA) WA co-pilot B-25C 42-32319

Detained at Tobera Airfield, died July 1945
1st Lt. Moszek Zanger pilot (POW, died July 1945, BR) pilot FG-1A Corsair 14417

 

References (Rabaul)
The Siege of Rabaul by Henry Sakaida
Target Rabaul (81st Naval Garrison Unit) pages 52, 61, 64, 74, 241, 253, 255-256, 265, 295, 320, 363 (Appendix A - The Prisoners of Rabaul).
Australian Army, 7th Division "Investigating Officers Report - Events and circumstances leading to the execution of three U. S. Airmen at Samarina February 1945, and other information on the case." [Jacobs, Molinari and Hagerty from B-24J 44-41078]
Thanks to Henry Sakaida and Edward Rogers for additional research and analysis

 

82nd Naval Guard Unit (82nd Naval Garrison Unit) at Lae on New Guinea
The 82nd Naval Guard Unit (81st Naval Garrison Unit) was based at Lae.

2nd Lt Henry A. Keel, O-004018 pilot B-25C 41-12462 ditched May 23, 1942 transported to Rabaul executed

 

Naval Guard Unit at Buin on Bougainville
Possibly, there was a Naval Guard Unit based at Buin on Bougainville. Some Allied prisoners captured in southern Bougainville were transported to Rabaul, others were detained on Bougainville and executed.

 

Naval Guard Unit at Kairuru Island off New Guinea
Possibly, there was a Naval Guard Unit Saint John's Mission (Barakam, Bagaram) on Kairuru Island off New Guinea. Likely a Keibitai unit or detachment was present at this area or responsible for prisoners.

Between September 1943 to April 1945, Japanese Navy on Kairiru Island was responsible for the detention, interrogation, torture and execution of at least eight Allied Prisoners Of War (POW) including six American and two Australian in the vicinity of Saint John's Mission.

Known Allied Prisoners Of War detained and executed
F/O John D. Blain, T-120110 (POW, MIA / KIA, BR) Breckenridge, TX pilot B-25D 41-30319
F/O Charles P. Wells, T-186489 (POW, MIA / KIA, BR) Ashland, KY co-pilot B-25D 41-30319
S/Sgt William F. Green, 15104526 (POW, MIA / KIA) Whitehouse, OH navigator B-25D 41-30319
S/Sgt Robert J. Capocefalo, 32377421 (POW, MIA / KIA) Syracuse, NY radio B-25D 41-30319
S/Sgt Jack Bowman, 14063635 (POW, MIA / KIA) Johnson City, TN gunner B-25D 41-30319
2nd Lt. Robert Eric Thorpe O-810434 (POW, executed May 31, 1944, MIA) Cranston, RI pilot P-47D 42-22661
Australian Army (Z Force) commando captured during "Operation Copper" during the middle of April 1945 and executed.
Australian Army (Z Force) commando captured during "Operation Copper" during the middle of April 1945 and executed.

During the 1948 Yokohama War Crimes Trail, Thorpe's executioner Hiroshi Odazawa plead guilty. The others plead not guilty. Lt Commander Kaoru Okuma, was convicted in 1948 for the crime and hanged in 1949. Captain Kiyoshisa Noto was found guilty for his role in Thorpe's execution and found guilty of the execution of two Australian Army commandos. At the Rabaul Wart Crimes Trial, he was sentenced to twenty years but only served one year of his sentence then was released.

 

45th Naval Guard Unit at Palau
1st Lt. Grant M. Rea, O-684047 (MIA / POW, executed circa September 1944) Montebello, CA pilot B-24J 44-40596

SSgt Earl R. Curry, 36014451 (MIA / POW, executed circa September 1944) Monmouth, IL right waist gunner B-24J 44-40596
Captured by a landing craft then treated by the medical officer of the 45th Guard Unit, turned over to
Kempeitai.

 

Naval Guard Unit at Samarinda on Borneo
At Samarinda on Borneo, the Keibitai detachment "Samarinda detachment" commanded by Lt(jg) Yamaguchi Sentaro in an office. During the night of February 15, 1945 three POWs were executed by sword and buried behind the office. Postwar, their remains were recovered by the Australian Army.

2nd Lt. Leslie W. Jacobs, O-2056602 (POW, executed February 15, 1945, BR) Akron, OH navigator radio B-24J 44-41078
Cpl Frank J. Molinari, 32967255 (WIA / POW, executed, February 15, 1945, BR) Brooklyn, NY engineer B-24J 44-41078
Sgt James W. Hagerty, 13167406 (POW, executed February 15, 1945, BR) Youngstown, OH assistant radio B-24J 44-41078

References (Samarinda)
Australian Army, 7th Division "Investigating Officers Report - Events and circumstances leading to the execution of three U. S. Airmen at Samarina February 1945, and other information on the case." [Jacobs, Molinari and Hagerty from B-24J 44-41078].

 

Ueki Detachment, Yokosuka Keibitai at Ofuna Camp in Japan
"Yokosuka Kaigun Keibitai Ueki Bunkentai" (Yokosuka Ueki Detachment for Yokosuka Naval Security Force) under the command of Yokura Sashizo were based at Ofuna Camp. Americans referred to the location as "Ofuna POW Camp" or "Ofuna Interrogation Center" After interrogation, prisoners were transfered to the Japanese Army Kempei Tai (Military Police).

 

 

  Discussion Forum Daily Updates Reviews Museums Interviews & Oral Histories  
 
Pacific Wrecks Inc. All rights reserved.
Donate Now Facebook Twitter YouTube Google Plus Instagram