The Pig Basket atrocity

basket

We all know about the atrocities committed by the Nazi regime and they are truly awful, mostly even hard to fathom, but we should never forget the crimes committed by the Japanese regime, very often they were just as evil if not worse..

One only had to look at the rape of Nanking or at the actions of Unit 731.

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After the Allies capitulated to the Imperial Japanese army  in East Java,Indonesia, in 1942, approximately  200 allied troops  took to the hills around Malang. to fight as a guerrilla resistance force. Unfortunately they were eventually captured and tortured  by the Kempeitai,the military police arm of the Imperial Japanese Army.
Kempeitai

The captured soldiers were forcibly squeezed into 91-95 cm long bamboo baskets and transported in open trucks,the bamboo baskets were usually used to transport pigs, in temperatures reaching 38 degrees Centigrade . The prisoners of war , already suffering from severe dehydration due to the extreme heat, were then placed on waiting boats, which sailed off the coast of Surabaya, the baskets  were then thrown into the ocean. The prisoners were drowned or eaten alive by sharks.

Dutch girl Elizabeth Van Kampen, who was 15 at the time was one of the witnesses, below is her testimony

“At the beginning of October 1942 when my father and I walked over the main road near the coffee and rubber plantation Sumber Sewu, laying on the ridge of the Mount Semeru, when we heard trucks from a distance coming our way. We quickly hid behind the coffee bushes laying higher up than the road, (alas) we could see everything quite well.
We saw 5 open trucks, they were loaded with bamboo baskets with therein laying white men. We heard the men screaming and crying for water and for help in English and Dutch. The baskets were piled up on the open trucks, they were driving direction Banyuwangi.

I was 15 years old and so I could fully understand what was happening there in front of my eyes, but what touched me so much deeper were the voices of the desperate men begging for help and water.
I was hiding behind my father and I heard him softly saying; “Oh my God”.

We slowly walked home but over another road, neither of us said a word. There were no words for what we both had seen and heard…

After the war, I often wanted to talk with my father about that drama we had seen together. Had the Indonesians from Sumber Sewu seen those trucks? I shall never know.”

I believe the drawing at the start of the blog was drawn by Elizabeth

It is important to note that Indonesia was and still is predominantly a Muslim country, pigs are considered ‘dirty animals’ and any contact with pigs is seen as unholy. It is therefor not hard to believe that the allied troops were put in ‘pig baskets’ deliberately to ensure that local people would or could not help them, But even if they would have attempted to help they more then likely would have been executed anyway

Lieutenant General Hitoshi Imamura, commander in chief of the Japanese forces in Java, was acquitted on war crimes charges by a Netherlands court due to lack of evidence but was later charged by an Australian military court and sentenced to 10 years in prison, which he served from 1946–54 in Sugamo, Japan.

Hitoshi

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Sources

Shark attack file

De Indische kwestie

 

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A destructive beauty.

boom

On July 16,1945,at 5:29 a.m the world witnessed a beautiful yet devastating event. When I say world I really mean only a select few. What they witnessed was the first ever nuclear test, designated the ‘Trinity Test’ it was part of the Manhattan Project.

The bomb that was detonated was ‘the gadget’.

gadget

Although we all know how devastating a nuclear device can be, there is something beautiful about it. Don’t get me wrong I don’t like nukes but the direct aftermath of the explosion does display a beautiful fireball and cloud.

The expanding fireball and shockwave of the Trinity test explosion, seen .025 seconds after detonation on July 16, 1945. It nearly looks like a perfect sphere.

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The evolution of the Trinity fireball over the first 9 seconds, with the Empire State Building for scale. Image by Alex Wellerstein.

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The evolution of the Trinity fireball over the first 9 seconds, with the Empire State Building for scale. Image by Alex Wellerstein.

The fireball of the conventional explosion was visible from Alamogordo Army Air Field 60 miles (97 km) away, but there was little shock at the base camp 10 miles (16 km) away.

A few weeks after the Trinity test the US Army Airforce would drop 2 nuclear bombs on Japan,, Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

 

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Rare historical Photos

 

Japanese attack on Fort Stevens-Oregon.

i 25

After the Pearl Harbor attack on December 7 1941, there was a fear that Japan had plans to invade the US. This never happened, although there had been a few attacks on American soil by Japan, these did very little damage.

The only military base ever to be attacked by Japan was Forts Stevens on the Oregon side of the mouth of the Columbia River.

The attack  occurred on June 21, 1942. After trailing American fishing vessels to bypass minefields, the Japanese submarine I-25 made its way to the mouth of the Columbia River. It surfaced near Fort Stevens.

Fort

The Japanese submarine I-25, commanded by Tagami Meiji, had been assigned to sink enemy shipping and attack the enemy on land with their 14 cm deck gun. Transporting a Yokosuka E14Y seaplane, it had a crew of 97.

i 25 plane

Just before midnight, the submarine used its 140-millimeter deck gun and fired 17 shells at the fort. Thinking that the return fires of the fort’s guns would only serve to more clearly reveal their position, the commander of Fort Stevens ordered his men not to return fire.  Instead a compete black out was ordered. The plan worked, and the bombardment was almost totally unsuccessful—a nearby baseball field bore the brunt of the damage.

Damage

The only significant damage was caused when one shell severed several large telephone cables.

American Army Air Corps planes on a training mission had seen the  the I-25 and called in her location,requesting  an A-29 Hudson bomber to attack. The bomber spotted the I-25, but she successfully escaped the falling bombs and submerged undamaged and got away.

Bomber

Although there were no injuries and very little damage, the Japanese attack on Fort Stevens did increase the fear of a Japanese invasion.

The Fort Stevens shelling was the only time that a continental United States military installation was attacked by the Axis Powers during World War II.

News Papaer

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Discerning History

Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal

IMTFE_judges

When we think of the WWII war crime tribunal we usually think about the Nuremberg Trials, however there were several trials for the Nazis weren’t the only ones who had committed war crimes. The Japanese Imperial Army were also guilty of atrocities, and some of them were more brutal and evil then the crimes committed by the Nazis.

The Tokyo trials or The International Military Tribunal for the Far East began on May 3, 1946 and lasted two and a half years. Three broad categories of war crimes were established. Class A charges, alleging “crimes against peace”, were brought against Japan’s top leaders who had planned and directed the war. Class B and C charges, which were leveled at Japanese of any rank, covered “conventional war crimes” and “crimes against humanity”. Former U.S. assistant attorney general, Joseph Keenan, served as the chief prosecutor. He was a Roosevelt New Dealer and had once personally prosecuted such infamous American gangsters as “Machine Gun Kelley”

 

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Sir William Webb of Australia served as the tribunal’s president. Eleven judges representing various countries presided. On November 4, 1948 Webb announced that all defendants had been found guilty. Seven were sentenced to death (including the most infamous, former Prime Minister Hideki Tojo); sixteen received life terms (though many of these were paroled in the 1950’s), and two were given lesser terms. Two had died during the trials and one was found insane. Hundreds of subsequent war crimes trials were held in other countries in Asia into the 1950’s. These Tokyo trials, while important, have often remained in the shadow of the more publicized Nuremberg war crimes trials in Europe.2017-3039-01

General Douglas MacArthur was pleased with the Tokyo trials and stated, “No human decision is infallible but I can conceive of no judicial process where greater safeguard was made to evolve justice.…no mortal agency in the present imperfect evolution of civilized society seems more entitled to confidence in the integrity of its solemn pronouncements. If we cannot trust such processes and such men we can trust nothing.”

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The U.S. and its allies established an International Military Tribunal for the Far East (IMFTE) to prosecute Japanese military and government leaders. Twenty-eight high-ranking Japanese political and military leaders, often referred to as the “Big Fish”, along with others were indicted on 55 counts in the most publicized Tokyo trial. The accused group included former prime ministers, foreign ministers, economic and financial leaders, ambassadors, war ministers, navy ministers, and senior military officers. General Douglas MacArthur decided, with President Truman’s concurrence, not to place Emporer Hirohito or any member of the royal family on trial. He was seen by the victors as a much needed leader and symbol for the new, peaceful and democratic Japan to arise from the ashes of WW II. The U.S. was entering a new Cold War era and needed a militarily purged, newly reborn Japan as any ally with Hirohito as its unifying symbol.

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As many as 50 suspects, such as Nobusuke Kishi, who later became Prime Minister, and Yoshisuke Aikawa, head of Nissan, were charged but released in 1947 and 1948. Shiro Ishii received immunity in exchange for data gathered from his experiments on live prisoners. The lone dissenting judge arguing to exonerate all arrested suspects was Indian jurist Radhabinod Pal.Radhabinod_Pal

Following the model used at the Nuremberg Trials in Germany, the Allies established three broad categories. “Class A” charges, alleging crimes against peace, were to be brought against Japan’s top leaders who had planned and directed the war. Class B and C charges, which could be leveled at Japanese of any rank, covered conventional war crimes and crimes against humanity, respectively. Unlike the Nuremberg Trials, the charge of crimes against peace was a prerequisite to prosecution—only those individuals whose crimes included crimes against peace could be prosecuted by the Tribunal.

The indictment accused the defendants of promoting a scheme of conquest that “contemplated and carried out…murdering, maiming and ill-treating prisoners of war (and) civilian internees…forcing them to labor under inhumane conditions…plundering public and private property, wantonly destroying cities, towns and villages beyond any justification of military necessity; (perpetrating) mass murder, rape, pillage, brigandage, torture and other barbaric cruelties upon the helpless civilian population of the over-run countries.

Indictment 1

Indictment 2

The prosecution began opening statements on May 3, 1946, and took 192 days to present its case, finishing on January 24, 1947. It submitted its evidence in fifteen phases.

The Charter provided that evidence against the accused could include any document “without proof of its issuance or signature” as well as diaries, letters, press reports, and sworn or unsworn out-of-court statements relating to the charges.[6] Article 13 of the Charter read, in part: “The tribunal shall not be bound by technical rules of evidence…and shall admit any evidence which it deems to have probative value”.

Numerous eye-witness accounts of the Nanking Massacre were provided by Chinese civilian survivors and western nationals living in Nanking at the time. The accounts included gruesome details of the Nanking Massacre. Thousands of innocent civilians were buried alive, used as targets for bayonet practice, shot in large groups and thrown into the Yangtze River. Rampant rapes (and gang rapes) of women ranging from age seven to over seventy were reported. The international community estimated that within the six weeks of the Massacre, 20,000 women were raped, many of them subsequently murdered or mutilated; and over 300,000 people were killed, often with the most inhumane brutality.
Dr. Robert Wilson, a surgeon who was born and raised in Nanking and educated at Princeton and Harvard Medical School, testified that beginning with December 13, “the hospital filled up and was kept full to overflowing” during the next six weeks. The patients usually bore bayonet or bullet wounds; many of the women patients had been sexually molested.

The international community had filed many protests to the Japanese Embassy. Bates, an American professor of history at the University of Nanking during the Japanese occupation, provided evidence that the protests were forwarded to Tokyo and were discussed in great detail between Japanese officials and the U.S. ambassador in Tokyo.

Brackman (reporter at the trial and author of the book “The Other Nuremberg”) commented: “The Rape of Nanking was not the kind of isolated incident common to all wars. It was deliberate. It was policy. It was known in Tokyo.” Yet it was allowed to continue for over six weeks.Nanking

The defendants were represented by over a hundred attorneys, three-quarters of them Japanese and one-quarter American, plus a support staff. The defense opened its case on January 27, 1947, and finished its presentation 225 days later on September 9, 1947.

The defense argued that the trial could never be free from substantial doubt as to its “legality, fairness and impartiality”.

The defense challenged the indictment, arguing that crimes against peace, and more specifically, the undefined concepts of conspiracy and aggressive war, had yet to be established as crimes in international law; in effect, the IMTFE was contradicting accepted legal procedure by trying the defendants retroactively for violating laws which had not existed when the alleged crimes had been committed. The defense insisted that there was no basis in international law for holding individuals responsible for acts of state, as the Tokyo Trial proposed to do. The defense attacked the notion of negative criminality, by which the defendants were to be tried for failing to prevent breaches of law and war crimes by others, as likewise having no basis in international law.

The defense argued that Allied Powers’ violations of international law should be examined.

Former Foreign Minister Shigenori Tōgō maintained that Japan had had no choice but to enter the war for self-defense purposes. He asserted that “[because of the Hull Note] we felt at the time that Japan was being driven either to war or suicide”.

Shigenori_Togo

One defendant, Shūmei Ōkawa, was found mentally unfit for trial and the charges were dropped.

Two defendants, Matsuoka Yosuke and Nagano Osami, died of natural causes during the trial.

Six defendants were sentenced to death by hanging for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and crimes against peace (Class A, Class B and Class C):

General Kenji Doihara, chief of the intelligence services in Manchukuo
Kōki Hirota, prime minister (later foreign minister)
General Seishirō Itagaki, war minister
General Heitarō Kimura, commander, Burma Area Army
Lieutenant General Akira Mutō, chief of staff, 14th Area Army
General Hideki Tōjō, commander, Kwantung Army (later prime minister)
One defendant was sentenced to death by hanging for war crimes and crimes against humanity (Class B and Class C):

General Iwane Matsui, commander, Shanghai Expeditionary Force and Central China Area Army
They were executed at Sugamo Prison in Ikebukuro on December 23, 1948. MacArthur, afraid of embarrassing and antagonizing the Japanese people, defied the wishes of President Truman and barred photography of any kind, instead bringing in four members of the Allied Council to act as official witnesses.

Sixteen defendants were sentenced to life imprisonment. Three (Koiso, Shiratori, and Umezu) died in prison, while the other thirteen were paroled between 1954 and 1956:

General Sadao Araki, war minister
Colonel Kingorō Hashimoto, major instigator of the second Sino-Japanese War
Field Marshal Shunroku Hata, war minister
Baron Kiichirō Hiranuma, prime minister
Naoki Hoshino, Chief Cabinet Secretary
Okinori Kaya, finance minister
Marquis Kōichi Kido, Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal
General Kuniaki Koiso, governor of Korea, later prime minister
General Jirō Minami, commander, Kwantung Army
Admiral Takazumi Oka, naval minister
Lieutenant General Hiroshi Ōshima, Ambassador to Germany
General Kenryō Satō, chief of the Military Affairs Bureau
Admiral Shigetarō Shimada, naval minister
Toshio Shiratori, Ambassador to Italy
Lieutenant General Teiichi Suzuki, president of the Cabinet Planning Board
General Yoshijirō Umezu, war minister
Foreign minister Shigenori Tōgō was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment and died in prison in 1949. Foreign minister Mamoru Shigemitsu was sentenced to 7 years.

The verdict and sentences of the tribunal were confirmed by MacArthur on November 24, 1948, two days after a perfunctory meeting with members of the Allied Control Commission for Japan, who acted as the local representatives of the nations of the Far Eastern Commission. Six of those representatives made no recommendations for clemency. Australia, Canada, India, and the Netherlands were willing to see the general make some reductions in sentences. He chose not to do so. The issue of clemency was thereafter to disturb Japanese relations with the Allied powers until the late 1950s, when a majority of the Allied powers agreed to release the last of the convicted major war criminals from captivity.

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Truman Library

Wikipedia

Law Virginia

 

 

Calcutta Light Horse-Operation Creek

Calcutta-Light-Horse-Raid

Operation Creek (also known as “Operation Longshanks”) was a military operation undertaken by the British in World War Two on 9 March 1943.

Organized by the Special Operations Executive (SOE), the Calcutta Light Horse regiment was deployed to attack the German ship Ehrenfels, anchored in the Portuguese, hence neutral, Mormugao harbor in Goa, Portuguese India.

The Calcutta Light Horse was raised in 1872 and formed part of the Cavalry Reserve in the British Indian Army. The regiment was disbanded following India’s independence in 1947.Most of them had already volunteered for active duty and been rejected, and all of them were discontent–they did not like being left out of the war. They still trained regularly and enthusiastically, but any hope of seeing real action was gradually fading away.

For decades the Calcutta Light Horse, was more a social club than territorial regiment. The unit’s last military action had taken place in the Boer War almost 50 years earlier.

Ehrenfels became a target when it was discovered that she was transmitting information on Allied ship movements to German submarines, which played a part in the sinking of 12 Allied ships in the Indian Ocean in early Mar 1943.

The Germans had a secret transmitter on one of tthe Ehrenfels, a freighter that had sought refuge with two other German vessels, the Braunfels and the Drachenfels, in the neutral harbour of Goa on the outbreak of WW2

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The Calcutta Light Horse regiment sailed aboard the barge Phoebe and sailed from Calcutta to Goa. Upon reaching Mormugao harbor in the night of 9 Mar 1943, the men of the regiment infiltrated the German ship and detonated explosives.

Hopper-Barges

When British intelligence received word of the successful destruction of Ehrenfels, it sent an open message to announce that the British was about to invade Goa, which was a bluff. The crews of the other two German ships at Mormugao, Drachenfels and Braunfels, along with several Italian ships also present, scuttled their own ships to prevent British capture.

the-daring-calcutta-light-horse-raid-01

 

The operation was later the inspiration for the movie “the Seawolves”

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Warfare History

February 24 1941 Gallup Poll

gallup poll

I have always been fascinated by polls(I know it’s sad) more specifically how questions are asked in polls and how just wording the question slightly different can completely change the outcome of the poll as was the case in February 1941.

On 24 February 1941 a Gallup poll was published asking Americans, “Do you think the United States should try to keep Japan from seizing the Dutch East Indies and Singapore?” 56% said yes, 24% said no, 20% expressed no opinion.

invasion

A different version of the question asked, “Do you think the United States should risk war with Japan, if necessary, in order to keep Japan from taking the Dutch East Indies and Singapore?” 46% said no, 39% said yes, 15% gave no opinion.-

Funny enough not much has changed when it comes to polling.

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Whatever happened to Lieutenant Ernest Cody and Ensign Charles Adams.

Ghost_blimp2_pilot

Early on the morning of Sunday, August 16, 1942, a U.S. Navy blimp prepared to take off from Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay to search for enemy submarines. The United States had entered World War II only nine months earlier, but Japanese subs had sunk at least half a dozen Allied ships off the American West Coast. Japan’s frontline combat sub, I-17, had even shelled one of California’s largest oil drilling facilities in February 1942—the first time a country had attacked the U.S. mainland since the British shelled New Orleans in the War of 1812. As a result, L-8 carried two 325-pound Mark 17 depth bombs mounted on an external rack, a .30-caliber machine gun and 300 rounds of ammunition. The blimp’s mission: Locate and sink any Japanese subs its crew spotted off San Francisco.

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L-8’s two-man crew boarded the gondola shortly before takeoff. Lieutenant Ernest Dewitt Cody and Ensign Charles Ellis Adams were both Navy veterans, married and with exemplary service records.Adams was even being decorated by the German government for rescuing passengers from the infamous Hindenburg disaster.

hindenburg-crash

At 7:42 a.m. Cody radioed in to inform HQ that they were investigating “a suspicious oil slick,” which could be the sign of submarine lurking below the ocean’s surface. There would be no further communications from the aircraft.

But when L-8 still hadn’t responded by 8:50, two Vought OS2U Kingfisher floatplanes were sent to search for the blimp. Other aircraft in the area were also alerted to be on the lookout.

The next indication of L-8’s whereabouts came at 10:49, when a Pan American Clipper pilot reported seeing the blimp over the Golden Gate Bridge. He spotted nothing wrong with the ship, which appeared to be under control and heading back to base. At 11 one of the Kingfishers reported seeing L-8 three miles west of Salada Beach, rising through the overcast at 2,000 feet.

unknown-mysteries-4

 

A few minutes later the blimp began to descend, disappearing in the clouds. Nothing indicated that L-8 was not in controlled flight, but 2,000 feet was close to the blimp’s pressure height, the altitude where its valves would automatically open and vent helium, to prevent its gas cells from bursting. Normally, the crewmen would have avoided surpassing pressure height, but for some reason they had apparently ignored this restriction.

Sunday morning golfers at San Francisco’s exclusive Olympic Club stopped to watch the blimp limp by overhead. They probably didn’t realize that the remaining depth charge could only be detonated by water pressure, which is why they gave it a wide birth. One club member reported having seen a parachute descending from L-8 while the blimp was still offshore—and he wasn’t the only one to see something of the crew.

Seventeen-year-old C.E. Taylor told the San Francisco Call-Bulletin, “I put my binoculars on it and could see figures…inside the cabin.”

The blimp then drifted into the suburbs. By this time, thousands of people had gathered to watch the aircraft’s progress, which was only halted when it crashed into a utility pole.

blimp-over-daly-city

Luckily, no one was hurt in the crash, and the blimp managed to avoid starting a major fire when it collided with the electrical wires. Policemen and firefighters rushed to the scene, in hopes of aiding the crew, but when they had cut through the wreckage, the rescuers found their efforts had been in vain: Cody and Adams were nowhere to be found.

daly-city-crash

How two naval officers vanished from one of the most heavily trafficked areas between San Francisco and the Farallon Islands while their blimp was being tracked by ships and planes, not to mention people on the ground, remains a mystery. Word soon surfaced that warm coffee and a half-eaten sandwich had been found in the control car, a rumor that later proved to be untrue. But a hat belonging to of the crewmen was discovered resting on the flight controls. And L-8’s radio was in perfect working order.

An inspection soon revealed that all three of L-8’s parachutes were still on board, along with its single life raft. Two of the blimp’s five smoke bombs were missing, but those were accounted for because the crew had used them to mark the oil slick. A briefcase containing classified material was found behind the pilot’s seat. L-8’s engines were in perfect working order. The ignition switches were on, and the blimp’s instruments and flight controls operated normally, with four hours of gas remaining in the fuel tanks. In other words, there was nothing whatsoever wrong with L-8 except that it lacked a crew.

Unofficial answers for the ghost blimp’s missing crew range from an enemy attack to alien abductions

An explanation that falls somewhere between aliens and abductions is that one of the men fell out of the blimp while it was investigating the oil slick and the other had leaped out in an attempted rescue, and himself drowned in the process. If the rescuer had hoped to quickly save his comrade, he wouldn’t have bothered to radio in or toss the confidential papers overboard..

The only hole in this theory is that the L-8 had an audience while it was circling the suspicious area. The crews of both the Daisy Gray, a fishing trawler, and the Albert Gallatin, a cargo ship, had observed the blimp as it flew low to investigate the oil slick and not a single sailor had noticed anything amiss.

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Whether it was aliens, Axis spies, or a simple accident, Cody and Adams were never heard from again. The ghost blimp, however, became one of the Goodyear blimps and toured around the nation during sporting events until 1982.

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Colonel Francis Fenton’s hardest battle.

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No parent should ever have to bury any of their children,unfortunately it does happen, During war time it just happens too much as was the case during WWII

Michael James “Mike” Fenton was the son of Colonel  Francis Fenton.

While Colonel Fenton advanced to higher command, his younger son, Michael, enlisted in the Marine Corps on August 17, 1943, and joined B Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division – the same division in which his father commanded the engineers. Reportedly turning down a commission so he could fight at the front, Michael served as a scout-sniper on Okinawa.

Landing On Okinawa

Father and son met once during the fighting when their paths crossed at a partially destroyed Okinawan farmhouse. After exchanging news from home, including information on Michael’s older brother, Francis, Jr., who had been commissioned a Marine officer in 1941, the two family members returned to their work.

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They would never talk again.

On May 7, 1945, while beating back a Japanese counterattack not far from Sugar Loaf, 19-year-old Pfc. Michael Fenton was killed. When his father received the bitter news, he traveled to the site of his son’s death and knelt down to pray over the flag draped body.

Colonel_Francis_Fenton_and_his_son

Upon arising, Colonel Fenton stared at the bodies of other Marine dead and said: “Those poor souls. They didn’t have their fathers here”.

After the burial, Colonel Fenton returned to his headquarters and wrote a brief note to his wife, Mary, in San Diego. The soldier then resurfaced. Fenton fixed his attention on a large map hanging in his headquarters, studied it closely for a time, then said to his subordinate, “We’d better double the guard around No. 5 bridge. The Nips may try to blow it”. The war was back on.

Mary Fenton learned of her son’s death before receiving her husband’s letter. In fact, she experienced a bittersweet two days when, on Wednesday, a telegram arrived from the Marine Corps Commandant informing her of Michael’s death. The very next day came news that her husband had been awarded a second Bronze Star.

Mrs. Fenton told reporters she was proud that Michael had done his duty as a Marine. She quoted a recent letter from him in which the youth wrote that he ‘dedicated my life to my country’ and that he was ‘prepared to die”. Both Colonel Fenton and his older son survived the war. Mike’s body was later exhumed from his temporary grave and is now resting in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii.

RIP

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The Hopevale Martyrs

 


Hopevale

The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members.

The American Catholic missionaries in Tapaz,Philippines probably could not be specified as vulnerable but the people they cared for were. additionally the missionaries themselves did not pose any threat themselves to the Japanese occupiers.

The Hopevale Martyrs were Christian martyrs who died during the World War II in the present day Hopevale, Aglinab, Tapaz, Capiz, Philippines. The martyrs were Jeanie Clare Adams, Prof. James Howard Covell, Charma Moore Covell, Dorothy Antoinette Dowell, Signe Amelia Erikson, Dr. Frederick Willer-Meyer, Ruth Schatch Meyer, Dr. Francis Howard Rose, Gertrude Coombs Rose, Rev. Erle Frederich Rounds, Louise Cummings Rounds, and Erle Douglas. Despite the order that these Americans should go home because of the war, they refused to leave their mission and eventually offered their lives when they were caught by the enemies.

During the Japanese invasion of the Philippines, the eleven American Baptist missionaries refused to surrender to the Japanese troops.

800px-US_propaganda_and_Japanese_soldier

The missionaries took refuge in the mountains of Barrio Katipunan, Tapaz, Capiz. They hid in the forest they call “Hopevale” with the help of their Filipino friends.

On December 19, 1943, Hopevale fell into Japanese hands. The martyrs begged to free the Filipino captives and instead offered themselves as ransom. At the dawn of December 20, 1943, the missionaries asked to be allowed to pray and, an hour later, they told their Japanese captors they were ready to die. The adults were beheaded and the children were bayoneted.

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December 18 1944-Fighting the unknown enemy.

Typhoon_Cobra,_18_December_1944_east_of_Luzon

If you’d to believe the media nowadays you would think that severe storms are a 21st century phenomena. However they have been around for quite a while.

On 18 Dec 1944, divine intervention interfered with human action again. Admiral William Halsey and his Task Force 38 were caught unaware amidst refueling when Typhoon Cobra struck them to the east of island of Luzon of the Philippines. Halsey’s weather experts misread the track of this impending storm, and the admiral sailed right into it. As the heavy swells caused by 60-knot winds tossed his ships like children’s toys, Halsey’s ships scattered over 3,000 square miles. By the time he issued a typhoon warning to his captains, he had already lost three destroyers Spence, Hull, and Monaghan.

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Task Force 38 (TF 38) had been operating about 300 mi (260 nmi; 480 km) east of Luzon in the Philippine Sea, conducting air raids against Japanese airfields in the Philippines. The fleet was attempting to refuel its ships, especially the lighter destroyers, which had small fuel tanks. As the weather worsened it became increasingly difficult to refuel, and the attempts had to be discontinued. Despite warning signs of worsening conditions, the ships remained in their stations. Worse, the information given to Halsey about the location and direction of the typhoon was inaccurate. On December 18, Halsey unwittingly sailed Third Fleet into the centre of the typhoon.

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Aboard the carrier Monterey, aircraft in the hangar deck slammed into one another “like pinballs”, Gerald Ford recalled. It was inevitable that fires broke out. Captain Stuart H. Ingersoll was ordered by Halsey to abandon ship, but Ingersoll thought that “We can fix this”, and Ford, among others were the heroes who battled the bitter fire and eventually put it out, saving the carrier.

 

Aboard the carrier Cowpens, the scene was similar.

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A Hellcat fighter, despite being triple-lashed, broke loose and smashed into the catwalk, starting a fire. Even as the firefighters attempted to extinguish the fire, a bomb handling truck rolled across the hangar deck and struck the tank of another fighter. The 100-knot winds even ripped out a 20-mm gun emplacement right out of its mounts. In the end, Cowpens survived, but the Hellcat that smashed into the catwalk did not.

When the fleet emerged from the typhoon, Halsey found seven more ships seriously damaged and 146 aircraft lost or unusable (some were pushed by the wind over edges of flight decks, some were intentionally pushed overboard after running into each other, and some lost to fire and impact damage). Worst of all, 800 lives were lost from this natural disaster. Water Tender Second Class Joseph McCrane, one of only six survivors of the USS Monaghan recalled:

“The storm broke in all its fury. We started to roll, heaving to the starboard, and everyone was holding on to something and praying as hard as he could. We knew that we had lost our power and were dead in the water…. We must have taken about seven or eight rolls to the starboard before she went over on her side.”ww2dbaseAfter ship sunk, the sailors held on to whatever they could to stay afloat. McCrane continued:

“Every time we opened a can of Spam more sharks would appear…. Toward evening some of the boys began to crack under the strain…. That (second} night most of the fellows had really lost their heads; they thought they saw land and houses.”A court inquiry at Ulithi a week later placed blame squarely on the shoulders of Halsey, though finding no negligence on the part of the admiral due to “stress of war operations” and “a commendable desire to meet military requirements”. With 790 officers and sailors lost to this storm, Nimitz submitted a letter to Washington recommending the Navy to improve its weather service, which was promptly started. The Pacific Fleet established new weather stations in the Caroline Islands and, as they were secured, Manila, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. In addition, new weather central offices (for coordinating data) were established at Guam and Leyte.

Halsey’s misfortune with the Divine Wind would not be over just yet. During his support roles of the Okinawa landing, a typhoon developed, and Halsey attempted to steer his ships away from it at the recommendation of his weather experts. He, again, sailed right into it. Fortunately, with this meeting with the storm, he only lost six men.

Even though the Divine Wind interfered with history again, this time, Japan would not be saved by the heavens in this human conflict.

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