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The Eight Who Were Captured

Lt. Hite, blindfolded by his captors, is led from a Japanese transport plane after he and the other seven flyers were flown from Shanghai to Tokyo. After about 45 days in Japan, all eight were taken back to China by ship and imprisoned in Shanghai. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Lt. Hite, blindfolded by his captors, is led from a Japanese transport plane after he and the other seven flyers were flown from Shanghai to Tokyo. After about 45 days in Japan, all eight were taken back to China by ship and imprisoned in Shanghai. (U.S. Air Force photo)

The crew of Lt. Farrow's plane after being captured. In front are Cpl. Jacob DeShazer (left) and Sgt. Harold A. Spatz; in rear, left to right, are Lt. William G. Farrow, Lt. Robert L. Hite and Lt. George Barr. Farrow and Spatz were two of those executed on Oct. 15, 1942. (U.S. Air Force photo)

The crew of Lt. Farrow's plane after being captured. In front are Cpl. Jacob DeShazer (left) and Sgt. Harold A. Spatz; in rear, left to right, are Lt. William G. Farrow, Lt. Robert L. Hite and Lt. George Barr. Farrow and Spatz were two of those executed on Oct. 15, 1942. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Compound at Kiangwan Military Prison, Shanghai, where the surviving men were kept for nearly 40 months. Washing facilities are at left, cell block at right, yard in foreground is where they were permitted 30 minutes daily exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo taken by an American officer who was gathering evidence for the War Crimes Trial after Japanese surrender)

Compound at Kiangwan Military Prison, Shanghai, where the surviving men were kept for nearly 40 months. Washing facilities are at left, cell block at right, yard in foreground is where they were permitted 30 minutes daily exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo taken by an American officer who was gathering evidence for the War Crimes Trial after Japanese surrender)

Public Cemetery No. 1 outside Shanghai where Hallmark, Farrow and Spatz were executed on Oct. 15, 1942, in accordance with Japanese military custom. They were placed on their knees with their arms tied and blindfolded with black ink marks on the white cloth directly over the center of their foreheads. All three were shot simultaneously by three soldiers with rifles and were promptly cremated. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Public Cemetery No. 1 outside Shanghai where Hallmark, Farrow and Spatz were executed on Oct. 15, 1942, in accordance with Japanese military custom. They were placed on their knees with their arms tied and blindfolded with black ink marks on the white cloth directly over the center of their foreheads. All three were shot simultaneously by three soldiers with rifles and were promptly cremated. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Following the Tokyo Raid, the crews of two planes remained unaccounted for. On Aug. 15, 1942, it was learned from the Swiss consulate general in Shanghai that the Japanese had eight American flyers at police headquarters in that city. On Oct. 19, 1942, the Japanese broadcast that they had tried two crews of the Tokyo Raid and sentenced them to death. No names or facts were given. 

A War Crimes Trial in Shanghai that opened in February 1946 uncovered the details. The court tried four Japanese officers for mistreatment of the eight POWs of the Tokyo Raid. In addition to being tortured, these men contracted dysentery and beri-beri as a result of the deplorable conditions under which they were confined.

On Aug. 28, 1942, the eight were given a "trial" by Japanese officers, although they were never told the charges against them. On Oct. 14, 1942, Hallmark, Farrow and Spatz were advised they were to be executed. The next day the Japanese brought them to Public Cemetery No. 1 outside Shanghai. In accordance with proper ceremonial procedures of the Japanese military, they were then shot.

The other five men (Meder, Nielsen, Hite, Barr and DeShazer) remained in solitary confinement on a starvation diet, their health rapidly deteriorating. In April 1943, they were moved to Nanking and on Dec. 1, 1943, Meder died. The other four men began to receive a slight improvement in their treatment and by sheer determination and the comfort they received from a lone copy of the Bible, they survived to August 1945 when they were freed. The four Japanese officers tried for their war crimes against the eight Tokyo Raiders were found guilty. Three were sentenced to hard labor for five years and the fourth to a nine-year sentence.

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