a letter to Tom Mayfield (Crew
43) of our Group, Scott Downing, a POW and member of the 29th
Bomb Group, gives some very graphic information on the Japanese
treatment of POW's. His account also mentions two members of the
39th Group (Hill and Kiernan Crew 52) who were with him at Tokyo
Kempei-Tai. A major part of the text of that letter follows:
was shot down on (our) 20th mission, 23 May 1945 and held at the
Tokyo Kempei-Tai. I went through your list and found that Sgt
Lloyd R. Hill and Sgt
Sherwood C. Kiernan, were held prisoners when I was. I was
in a cell next to Kiernan and three cells away from Hill. They
were shot down two days before I was. They had moved 62-65 POW's
from the Kempei-Tai about the 12th of May to Tokyo Military Prison
and on 25 May the prison was firebombed and all of them died.
About 17 of them broke out were shot. Forty-nine of them were
identified and none of your list appears to have been among the
were 55 flyers held Osaka, the Japanese killed them all, but I
don't have a list of them. Some of them were shot the day the
war ended 15 August 1945. The Osaka Kempei-Tai also held them.
stayed in the service after the war and was sent back to Japan
in April 1947 and stayed until October 1948. I worked for the
Legal Section GHQ - SCAP - investigating the war crimes committed
at the Tokyo Kempei-Tai and also prosecuting them.
am going to the reunion in Seattle in August. A very good friend
of mine from the 29th (Bomb) Group (314th) was Marvin Watkins.
He came back to testify. He and 7 or 8 of his crew were captured
on the Kyushu mission about 12 May. They sent him to Tokyo to
question him and they took the others to a University and experimented
on them. There were 22 that died at the Tokyo Kempei (either died
or poisoned or had their heads cut off by sword), none on your
list appears to be among them.