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The Eight Who Were Captured

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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