Japanese Diary on Kolombangara | Pacific Paratrooper

In New Georgia on the Solomon Islands a Japanese private soldier found himself thrown into a campaign that had already been lost. He and his companions from the 23rd Infantry Regiment were landed on Baanga Island, where the troops in occupation were already in retreat. U.S. forces were already well established on nearby islands and the seas around were patrolled by PT boats and destroyers, making it increasingly difficult for the Japanese to land reinforcements or supplies.Little is known about Tadashi Higa apart from what was found in his diary which was found by the Americans and translated for intelligence purposes. On the 3rd August 1943 he made the following entry…

Source: Japanese Diary on Kolombangara | Pacific Paratrooper

8 Classic Features To Help You Recognise an Old Woolworth’s Store

Oh, how I mourn the loss of Woolies. Pound shops and the like bear no comparison.

Researching Woolworth’s stores in Great Britain and Ireland allowed me to wallow in childhood nostalgia. I clearly remember the old counter-service Woolies – customers clamouring for the attention of the ‘girls’, or testing the gigantic red scales that always stood in the entrance.

In fact, as a very small person, I discovered the joys of pop music in my local Woolworth’s, jumping about with excitement to The Beatles’ She Loves You. Only years later did I realise that it must have been the ‘Embassy’ cover version, recorded especially for Woolworth’s by an invented group, ‘The Typhoons’.

Woolies was a treasure trove: the source of our Christmas fairy, sweets, books, much-loved toys, detested Ladybird ‘Liberty’ bodices and, eventually, my first…

Source: 8 Classic Features To Help You Recognise an Old Woolworth’s Store

Fepows

Pacific Paratrooper

F Force enroute to the Burma Railroad, by Otto Kreeft F Force enroute to the Burma Railroad, by Otto Kreeft

Fepows – Far Eastern POWs

Countless films and books concerned with the Second World War have, through the decades, concentrated on Europe and the Holocaust and the Far East prisoners of war have barely been mentioned.  The official 5 volumes of British history for this war include only 10 pages devoted to the subject, compared to the Australian history with 170 pages.

sketch by Jack Chalker, Fepow;British Army, Konyu, Thailand sketch by Jack Chalker, Fepow;British Army, Konyu, Thailand

Japan’s army conquered the Far East in 1941-42.  Prisoners were taken from Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaya, Thailand, Java, Sumatra, Ambon, New Britain, Celebes, Guam and the Philippines.  According to the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal, Japan took more than 50,000 British and Australian troops in Singapore alone; 42,000 Dutch (N.E.I.); 10,000 British in Java and 25,000 Americans in the Philippines and then transported to the mainland camps.

The Japanese government made…

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Eye Witness Account (1)

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rearden200x231

The following has been condensed from an article by author Jim Reardon.

In the raid of 4 June, 20 bombers blasted storage tanks, a warehouse, hospital, a hangar and a beached freighter, while 11 Zeros strafed at will.  Chief Petty Officer Makoto Endo led a 3-plane Zero group whose pilots were Flight Petty Officers Tsuguo Shikada and Tadayoshi Koga, 19 years old.  Koga’s Zero, serial number 4593, was light gray, with the Imperial Rising Sun insignia on its wings and fuselage.  It had left the Mitsubishi Nagoya aircraft factory on 19 February, only 3½ months earlier, so it was the latest design.

Tadayoshi Koga Tadayoshi Koga

Earlier that day, soldiers at an US Army outpost had seen 3 Zeros shoot down a lumbering Catalina amphibian.  Most of the 7-member crew climbed into a rubber raft and began paddling to shore.  The soldiers watched in horror as the Zeros strafed the crew until…

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Eye Witness Account (1)

Pacific Paratrooper

Doolittle_Painting_Final

The Doolittle Raid was launched on the morning of 18 April 1942, 150 miles further from mainland Japan than originally planned. At 0843 hours, Lt. Ted William Lawson took flight in “The Ruptured Duck” B-25B # 40-2261, of the 95th Bomber Squadron/17th Bomber Group.

Lt. Ted W. Lawson Lt. Ted W. Lawson

“A Navy man stood at the bow of the ship with a checkered flag.  He gave Doolittle [the lead plane] the signal to begin racing his engines again.  Doolittle gave his engines more and more throttle until I was afraid he’d burn them up.  A wave crashed at the bow and sprayed the deck.

leaving the USS Hornet leaving the USS Hornet

“The man with the flag was waiting, timing the dipping of the ship for it’s take-off.  The man gave a new signal.  Navy boys pulled the blocks from under the wheels.  We watched him like hawks, wondering what the wind would do to him…

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East and West (1)

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There are centuries of information on this subject, but I’ve done my best to shorten the data, and maintain  the gist of affairs as they occurred:

A lithograph of Cmdr. Perry's fleet in Japan A lithograph of Cmdr. Perry’s fleet in Japan

Japan’s involvement with the West began early in the 16th century.  The Western missionaries and the contrasting firearms trading caused a disruption of the feudal lord system.  Later on, Dutch trading at Nagasaki became an avenue of scientific and political knowledge.  After which, the US naval mission and “Black Ships” of Commodore Matthew Perry in the mid-1800s basically forced Japan to open its doors.

Commodore Matthew Perry Commodore Matthew Perry

By the end of the 19th century, the views of the Asian world by the Anglos were of “Manifest Destiny” (global supremacy).  The British Union Jack flew over nearly one-third of the planet and the US wanted in.  But, after teaching the island nation how to conquer territory, the…

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Intermission Stories (19)

A truly extraordinary and inspiring story from WWII.

Pacific Paratrooper

The 414th Squadron, 97 Bomber Group The 414th Squadron, 97 Bomber Group

WWII B-17 SURVIVAL STORY

This amazing story of courage, ingenuity and survival of the B-17 “All American” 414th Squadron, 97BG Crew was given to me by my dear friend Scott Brady, who also gallantly served in the U.S. Air Force.

 A mid-air collision on 1 February 1943 between a B-17 and a German fighter over the Tunis dock area became the subject of one of the most famous photographs of WWII.  An enemy fighter attacking a 97th Bomb Group formation went out of control, probably with a wounded pilot, then continued its crashing descent into the rear of the fuselage of a Fortress named “All American” piloted by Lt. Kendrick R. Bragg.  When it struck, the fighter broke apart, but left some pieces in the B-17.  The left horizontal stabilizer of the Fortress and left elevator were completely torn away.The two right engines were…

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