March 15, 1944

Wednesday

Darling:

Darn eye worse today. Frozen shut; had to wash lids apart. Cold packs this a.m. Hot packs, eye wash, and salve this afternoon. Doctor threatened to send me to hospital but didn’t. Have had experiences with the Army hospitals before. Never again! These guys evidently know their business, but am taking no chances.

The PX had many magazines. Bought several. Ironic isn’t it? No eyes, no read! Later though. Sure as hell will get bedsores if we lay around much longer.

One class today: Film trainer.1 Excused. You have to see to shoot.

Posted on Bulletin Board today: Sign payroll tomorrow a.m. Collect three weeks pay, ration beer and Coca Cola, 12 and six bottles, this coming Friday. Good thing Shorty got paid! Ha! He’s carrying the crew for the present.

Wrote you and mailed the letter today. All about love and such. Such love! Mmmm. Bet the censor says “Hmph” every time he goes through mine. Hope he croaks! Ha! Miss you darling. Think I’ll have you down for the weekend soon. If I only could.

?, Bill Garrity, ? & Bill Knowles shooting Craps C.A.A.B. 1943

?, Bill Garrity, ? & Bill Knowles shooting Craps
C.A.A.B. 1943

Epitaph for Bill Garrity.2 Shot down over Bougainville between coast and Shortland Islands. Plucky guy, generous as the outdoors is big. Little Billy went through gunnery school with me in 1942. Afraid of nothing. First man from the eleven of us who went to Columbia , that’s been killed in action. Happened several months ago. Their plane was seen to have both engines shot out by flak. Went nose first in the water. Four men were seen to take raft. Is probable that they are prisoners of war. Hope so!

Lt. Fincham is now OK.

Major Barlow came down today to escort General on cannon mission. Is trying to prove feasibility of the B-25 as flying artillery, involves the new H plane. Hope he succeeds. We still like them. Some new men are supposedly arriving today. Wonder if any from Columbia? Have several friends I’d like to fly formation with. Some of these guys are experts to have along!

Rained again today. This land is absolutely lush.

“Sis Hopkins” supposed to show at theater tonight.X One can never be sure what will finally play.

Maneuvers over the beach today. Filled landing barges simulated landing on beach, as P-38s spread smoke screen. Antiaircraft batteries have been cutting loose all day. Their aim is improving to beat heck! Chow time.

That’s all the news for today, angel face!

Notes & Commentary:

1 film trainer, Jam Handy.

2 Tail gunner William Garrity, flying with the 75th Bombardment Squadron, was aboard a B-25C, s/n 42-32255, during a combat strike on Chabai when at 0915 on November 23, 1943 the aircraft was seen to crash in Matchin Bay off the west coast of Bougainville. The aircraft is believed to have been lost as the result of enemy anti-aircraft fire. Weather conditions and visibility at the time were reported to be good.

Jack B. Routh, F/O, 75th Bomb Sq (M) filed the following report of the loss of William Garrity’s aircraft:

“On November 23, 1943 we made a law altitude bombing and strafing attack on Matchin Bay. I was leading the third element. F/O Schaffner was on my right wing. I saw Schaffner drop his bombs and while watching him to see if he was ready to turn I saw his left engine start smoking badly. I throttled back to stay with him, a few seconds later he feathered his right engine and started to turn left. I could not slow down enough to stay with him so he passed behind me and headed toward Taiof Island in Matchin Bay. I got on his right wing and flew with him. He lost altitude steadily and about 300 yards off Taiof Island he made a water landing just before he touched the water his left engine exploded, throwing his ship into a skid. He practically crashed into the water. As the plane hit the water the whole nose section disintegrated in the front. I don’t think anyone could have survived the landing.

We were about 25′[sic] off the water at this time and in a steep bank to the left to keep him in sight. We watched the wreck for about 50 seconds and saw no sign of life. By this time it was submerged except for the tail surfaces. The radio in our plane was faulty and the interphone could not be operated from the pilots’ compartment. All the other ships had by now disappeared from sight. I considered it useless to stay at the scene of the crash, as I did not think there were any survivors. So I returned to the North Coast of Bougainville at to speed. About half way down the Island I caught up with the 69th Bombardment Squadron. I made repeated efforts to contact rescue aircraft but our radio would not work. We reported the happenings COMAIRSOLS at Munda. When I returned to the ship after reporting, neither my Co-pilot nor my navigator nor I saw any signs of survivors at all.”

See Missing Air Crew Reports (MACRs) of the U.S. Army Air Forces, 1942-1947. National Archives and Records Administration, Record Group 92. digital image. Fold3.com (http://www.fold3.com/image/28682218/ : accessed 10 March 2014), Report 1217, dated 24 November 1943, aircraft s/n 42-32255, 42nd Bomb Gp, 75th Bomb Sq.

Also participating in the strike on Chabai were six Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) Venturas and 24 U.S. Navy (USN) F4U Corsairs. See http://www.ww2aircraft.net/forum/ww2-general/day-war-pacific-65-years-ago-6103-54.html.

William Garrity

William Garrity

On December 1, 1943, his hometown newspaper reported as follows: “Sgt. William Garrity, 26, son of Mr. and Mrs. John Garrity of 1377 Russell Road N.E. of Cleveland, Ohio was reported missing over Bougainville in the Southwest Pacific on Nov. 23.” See “Cleveland Marine and Army Private Are Killed in War,” Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio), 01 December 1, 1943, p. 13, col. 3; digital image, GenealogyBank.com (www.genealogybank.com : accessed 10 March 2014)

Missing since November 23, 1943, Sgt. Garrity was reported dead in January 1945. The local newspaper reported “He was awarded the Air Medal posthumously. Educated in California and inducted in July 1942, he was survived by a brother, John, and five sisters, Mrs. Florence Giles, Mrs. Ann Minto, Mrs. Jane Curtin, Mrs. Catherine Frederick and Margaret.” See “13 More Clevelanders Are Among War Dead,” Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio), 01 December 1, 1943, p. 11, col. 1; digital image, GenealogyBank.com (www.genealogybank.com : accessed 10 March 2014)

Although all six members of the flight crew were reported lost, the co-pilot, 2nd Lt. John A. Bailey, survived and was taken prisoner. He was held captive on Rabaul by the Japanese 81st Naval Guard Unit. Lt. Bailey did not survive the war and was probably murdered by the Japanese. See http://www.pacificwrecks.com/aircraft/b-25/42-32255.html. Also see The Crusaders: a history of the 42nd Bombardment Group (M), p. 54.

According to the November 4, 1948 judgment of the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, the Japanese had a “policy of killing Allied fliers” who fell into their hands . The judgment states as follows:

Japanese leaders feared that aerial warfare might be waged against the cities and towns of Japan. … The fear that Japan would be bombed was realized on 18 April 1942, when American planes under the command of Colonel Doolittle bombed Tokyo and other cities in Japan. … Sugiyama, the Chief of the Japanese General Staff, demanded the death penalty for all aviators who bombed Japan. … Prime Minister Tojo ordered regulations issued to be retroactive to the time of the raid which would permit the death penalty to be imposed upon the Doolittle fliers. …

In this manner was begun the policy of killing Allied fliers who fell into the hands of the Japanese. This was done not only in Japan but in occupied territories curing the remainder of the Pacific War.

In the occupied territories, one of the methods of killing captured airmen was by decapitation with a sword, and at the hands of a Japanese officer. Captured airmen were killed this way at Singapore, Malaya (June-July 1945); Samarinda, Borneo (January 1945); Palambang, Sumatra (March 1942); Batavia, Java (April 1942); Menada, Celebes (June 1945); Tomohon, Celebes (September 1944); Toli Toli, Celebes (October 1944); Kandari, Celebes (November 1944), (January 1945), (February 1945); Beo, Talaud Islands (March 1945); Rainis, Talaud Islands (January 1945); Singkang, Celebes (July 1945); Carara, Ambon Island (August 1944); New Guinea (October 1944); Totabil, New Britain (November 1944); Porton Island (December 1943); Kwajalein Island (October 1942); and Cebu City, Philippines (March 1945).

Another method of murdering Allied fliers was used at Hankow, China, in December 1944. Three American fliers, who had been forced down and captured sometime before, were paraded through the streets and subjected to ridicule, beating and torture by the populace. When they had been weakened by the beatings and torture, they were saturated with gasoline and burned alive. Permission for this atrocity was granted by the Commander of the 34th Japanese Army.

See ”Murder of Captured Aviators”, United States et al. v. Araki et al., Judgment (IMTFE, 4 Nov. 1948). WorldCourts.com (http://www.worldcourts.com/imtfe/eng/decisions/1948.11.04_IMTFE_Judgment.htm : accessed 13 March 2014).

The accused may have attempted to justify their actions by reference to the Enemy Airmen’s Act, passed by Imperial Japan in mid-August 1942. The Act provided for the execution or life imprisonment of Allied airmen. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enemy_Airmen%27s_Act.

3 Sis Hopkins, starring Judy Canova and Bob Crosby, was released by Republic Pictures in 1941. A tale of a girl from the sticks who comes to town. See http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0034193/?ref_=ttpl_pl_tt.

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3 Responses to March 15, 1944

  1. Daniel Heidt says:

    You have to wonder why there were no WAR Crime Trials in Japan after the surrender based on these actions by the military high command.  Just like this type of things happened in Germany to an extent on service men POW’s.
    ________________________________

    Like

  2. Tom Hurn says:

    Thanks for publishing the account of my great Uncle, William Garrity, and circumstances leading to his loss in action. I have been reading through all the posts and it really brings to life the day-to-day thoughts and actions he and others like him faced during this challenging time.

    Liked by 2 people

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