Celebes 1945 information please

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tasha
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Celebes 1945 information please

Post by tasha » 09 Jul 2011 11:34

I am endeavouring to find as much information as possible about my relative, who was a member of Z Special Unit in World War Two. He was executed by the Japanese and his remains were never recovered. For many years now I have been researching, hoping that I may stumble across evidence of the location of where his remains lay.

According to records held in National Archives Australia:
1. Insertion of SRD party (Op. RAVEN) 10 miles south of RANDO, Northern Celebes
2. my relative was captured by the Japanese 20 June 1945, 200 yds south of the mouth of the River SOERDE MANA,
3. he was executed as a POW in Celebes 1 July, 1945. (held somewhere other than a POW camp for 12
days, location unknown).
4. There is a document headed AMF Statement Concerning Casualty, the name of the person interrogated was 2nd
Lt Yoshio ARAKI,
Japanese Comd Donggala det., but there is no other information on this document other
than “copy of message received from Comd 23 Naval Base (Japanese) in reply to enquiry by Aust PW Contact & Enquiry
Unit at Macassar”.
5. There is a signal from Commander 23 Naval Base to Chief of Japanese Liaison Office stating information obtained by
2nd Lt Yoshio ARAKI,
Commandant of Donggala Detachment, stating he took one soldier during search in mountain of
unknown village about 25 kilometres south of DONGGALA. He goes on to say he asked his superior Lieutenant
Commander Hikoichi ISHIDA,
Commandant of Land Guards, for direction and ISHIDA gave the order to shoot on 1
July 1945. According to this signal, he was “buried on the spot”. Unfortunately, there is nothing in this signal that would
indicate where this burial would have occurred.
6. A copy of a ‘Missing SRD Personnel Report’ dated 15 November 1945 states the same information as in the above, but
includes Lt Comd. Hikoichi ISHIDA committed HARI KARI on 16 October 1945 at PINRANG.

There is no evidence of a court-martial of ARAKI by Australia. ISHIDA may have killed himself before a court-martial, however he could still have made a statement. I am not having any success in locating this information; perhaps there was no investigation or court-martial. Archives in Holland are written in Dutch, and I have had difficulty negotiating NARA website.

I am hoping members can answer the following questions please:
1. Does anyone have any information regarding the Japanese Army or Navy units operating in the area of Donggala in mid 1945?
2. Seeing as LT CMDR ISHIDA (presumably Navy) was the 'Commandant of Land Guards' in the area, can anybody suggest the designation of Ishida's force and its location in mid 1945?
3. 2LT ARAKI (presumably Army) was in the Donggala area as 'Commander of the Donggala Det' in mid 1945 and was a subordinate of Ishida's: Does anybody have any knowledge concerning Araki's fate?

Thank you for your time and I will be very grateful for any information.

cstunts
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Re: Celebes 1945 information please

Post by cstunts » 10 Jul 2011 18:51

Hello,

I suggest researching through unit histories/records of the Australian forces that were assigned to Celebes at war's end in 1945. MakForce Contact Parties fanned out from their first arrival--in September 1945--searching for info on POWs, warcrimes, atrocities, etc. This was high-priority work, and some records do still exist.

The Imperial Japanese Navy (Kaigun) was given dominion over Celebes, and primarily--but not exclusively--exercised control based at Makassar as the 23rd Special Base Force, IIRC. However, as the war wound down, some retreating or decimated Imperial Army forces (Rikugun) were sent into Celebes also. Both services were involved in capturing Allied personnel and in executions, especially late in the war when transporting captives was problematic and simple revenge was a factor. Under such circumstances, by July, 1945, anyone from the Allied side captured by the Japanese stood a very good chance of execution, I am absolutely certain.

It is highly unlikely--to say the least--that an Imperial Army detachment served under an Imperial Navy command. I would assume nothing like this until you find much more data.

This is a search for the proverbial needle in a haystack, if ever there was one.

tasha
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Joined: 09 Jul 2011 08:43

Re: Celebes 1945 information please

Post by tasha » 11 Jul 2011 02:36

Thank you cstunts. I am aware that I am looking for that needle in the haystack, and for my family I will keep on searching - for a little while longer anyway. It is very disturbing losing a member of the family and not having a body. Even though my family member died before I was born, my mother is still mourning him and it is for her that I am trying to find as much information as I can. I am in touch with and being guided by someone in Australia who has been successful in recovering remains in Vietnam. I have also been in contact with someone who is researching, for a University, Australian WW11 war crime trials and she believes that if there was a trial/investigation it was not conducted by Australia.

To give you a bit more information, the name of the Australian operation was Raven 2. Their mission was to gather intelligence as well as ascertain the whereabouts of the crew of a US PBM-5 that was beached in Celebes 4 June 1945. I found a post on VPNavy Website from a family member of one of this crew of the beached plane who was also searching for answers as to the fate of his great uncle. Together we managed to locate documents, war reports, photos, US Navy newsletters etc (unfortunately all relating to US not Australia) and this allowed us to reconstruct the events. The remains of the US crew were recovered (bar one who died at sea) and they are buried in cemeteries in USA and Hawaii. The remains of the two Australians (including my family member) who were killed in this mission were not recovered.

My US friend passed away a couple of years ago and I lost my good friend and research buddy, but before he died he was contacted by a man in USA who tracked him down via VPNavy after a friend of his found an old US navy suitcase in a rubbish heap on the side of a road. The suitcase contained war reports, photos etc of one of the members of the US plane. This man did his own research of all the crew members of the plane and wrote a book which he donated to a military museum in California. Now he is in the process of rewriting the book to include the Australians as well as further information he has found.

I have tried to locate “Makforce” documents from AWM and ANN in the past without success, but your email made it clearer to me to actually search for unit histories/diaries and I found on AWM website information about “Macassar Force” (Australian 21st Brigade) that was responsible for the south-west peninsula of Celebes and “Menado Force”(? Brigade – will do a bit of searching for this one) responsible for the northern peninsula. There is also reference to NICA unit so this one may be a little more difficult.

As for the Imperial Army detachment serving under an Imperial Navy command – that is actually how it is written in the war report - I included this in my post as we don’t understand this one either and we were hoping someone could answer this puzzle!

If I could only find the court-martial documents relating to Araki or an investigation of Ishida before he killed himself, it may be documented where my relative was killed. If I can find this area then there is a possibility there is still someone alive in this area, who was a child at the time, who remembers. Time is running out as everyone is getting older!

Once again thank you for your input, I really appreciate you taking the time.

cstunts
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Re: Celebes 1945 information please

Post by cstunts » 11 Jul 2011 18:48

Hello,

1.) Why do you say the report indicates an IJA unit served with or under an IJN unit? What "war report" are you talking about?
2.) You said there was no court-martial...I assume you mean no warcrimes trial. The records for warcrimes trials conducted by the Australians--who were very assiduous in the pursuit of war criminals--should be something you could investigate without too much difficulty.
But then you wrote: "If I could only find the court-martial documents relating to Araki or an investigation of Ishida before he killed himself, it may be documented where my relative was killed." Double and triple-check Australian warcrimes trials & investigations if you can.
Here is some more pertinent information for you:

LTCDR Ishida Hikoichi was involved in other murders in the Makassar area (near Maros air field) when he ordered & presided over the decapitation of four U.S. airmen from a 13th Air Force B-24--shot down just north of Makassar on June 25, 1945--They were executed on July 8, 1945. Ishida was a subordinate to CAPT Toyama Minoru, who in turn was the 2nd in command to VADM Ohsugi Morikazu, head of 23rd Special Naval Base Unit, with its HQ at Makassar. Ishida it is believed killed himself not only because of his conncetions to these murders, but as officer in charge of the Makassar POW camps...and for which he was to be held responsible.

"If I can find this area then there is a possibility there is still someone alive in this area, who was a child at the time, who remembers." This is an ancient fantasy, very persistent, and all-too-human. Much like the dreams of families who want to believe their loved ones lost at sea managed to find a rowboat and get to a remote desert island or obscure coast and lived out their days happily after, etc. I deeply sympathize, but-----------------

3.) Yes, unit histories will be very useful, I'm sure.

4.) You wrote:
"To give you a bit more information, the name of the Australian operation was Raven 2. Their mission was to gather intelligence as well as ascertain the whereabouts of the crew of a US PBM-5 that was beached in Celebes 4 June 1945. I found a post on VPNavy Website from a family member of one of this crew of the beached plane who was also searching for answers as to the fate of his great uncle. Together we managed to locate documents, war reports, photos, US Navy newsletters etc (unfortunately all relating to US not Australia) and this allowed us to reconstruct the events."

This tells us something. Were there any allegations of Japanese warcrimes against the members of the PBM-5? If so, an investigation (to say nothing of a trial) would produce a VERY large paper trail...in which other clues might be unearthed.
However, the killing of a single individual captured on a mission such as this might not have been a warcrime--I'm not a legal expert--but, the remoteness of the area, and the desperation & anger of the Japanese point to an inevitable conclusion. It would have also facilitated covering up anything criminal.

Hope this is of some help.

tasha
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Joined: 09 Jul 2011 08:43

Re: Celebes 1945 information please

Post by tasha » 15 Jul 2011 11:56

Hello cstunts

1.) Why do you say the report indicates an IJA unit served with or under an IJN unit? What "war report" are you talking about?There are some war reports I have found on the Australian National Archives website. The one in particular is a signal. I don’t think I am able to upload the file to Axis due to copyright. The search words of the file at ANN are as follows: "Z" Operation File - Raven Missing Personnel (Control Symbol: 145/4/146) Page 387 - have written out condensed version for you:
Signal from Commander 23rd Naval Base to Chief of Japanese Liaison Office
“Subject reply to JLO signal 325 information obtained by questioning 2nd Lieutenant Yoshio ARAKI Commandant of Donggala Detachment ….on evening of June 21st took 1 soldier (name forgotten) during search in mountain of unknown village about 25km south of Donggala Commander Donggala Detachment asked his immediate superior Lieutenant Commander Hikoichi ISHIDA Commandant of Land Guards for instruction of disposition of above mentioned person and received orders under signature commandant land guards (circumstances inevitable dispose of person) consequently he shot him to death at 1700 hours July 1st and buried him on the spot.”



I have been trying to find information about LTCDR Ishida Hikoichi being involved in other murders in the Makassar area (near Maros air field) when he ordered & presided over the decapitation of four U.S. airmen from a 13th Air Force B-24--shot down just north of Makassar on June 25, 1945--.
Is there any info on the Internet about this that you have come across?

Were there any allegations of Japanese warcrimes against the members of the PBM-5? If so, an investigation (to say nothing of a trial) would produce a VERY large paper trail...in which other clues might be unearthed.
One of the documents I have was given to me by a relative of one of the crew who lost his life 6th June 1945. I have been trying to locate files at NARA but this website is beyond my capability – it is in the too hard basket at the moment. I am giving you the short version of this document….
A US Navy PBM-5 left Tawi Tawi 3 June 1945 and flew along the eastern coast of Borneo. There were 11 crew members plus three enlisted men who were hitching a ride. They were met with heavy flak which forced the plane to fly over the Straits of Makassar, where three Japanese ships were sighted. Bombing and strafing runs were made on these ships and hits were made on two of them. However, flak from the ships knocked holes in the hull of the plane causing it to crash land on the beach near the little village of Tonahmeja, Celebes.

One crew member died a few hours after landing and a platoon of Japanese soldiers discovered the men and attempted to capture them on 6th June 1945. The attempted capture was resisted and that night four of the crew escaped to sea on a log, one returned to land and was captured and killed in Donggala. The three crew members who held on to the log out to sea were rescued by US plane. Of the remaining crew, all were killed except the pilot, Lt. CROZE and three others. These four were captured and taken to Singkang, Celebes 7th June 1945 and confined in the Kempei Tai jail until 4th August 1945 where they were taken to a concealed location of the outskirts of Singkang by members of Kempei Tai and beheaded with swords. The four bodies all fell into a common grave concealed in the jungle. The grave, located about ½ mile from the jail, in an area in which a leper colony was situated, was located on 6th November 1945 by RAAF with the assistance of a leper patient. These bodies were exhumed and reinterred in the same grave. On 24th August 1945 an American War Graves registration team recovered the remains of these American flyers, established their identity and transferred them to the military cemetery in Calcutta, India pending their return to their next of kin in USA.

The trial was held before a United States Military Commission at the former High Commissioner’s Residence, Manila, Philiphines. The Chief Prosecutor was ex officer in Naval aviation Emery C. Smith, USA vs. NAKAMURA, et al. The trial began on 24th January 1947 and was completed 13th February 1947. The names of the accused were:
Colonel NAKAMURA Michinori – death by hanging
Lieutenant KAMISUKI Kotaro – death by hanging
Sergeant-Major SASAKURA Rinji – death by hanging
Sergeant-Major ICHIJO Koshin – death by musketry
Sergeant-Major ICHIHASHI Shigeo – life imprisonment & hard labour
Sergeant OKAZAKI Kazuaki – life imprisonment & hard labour
Leading Private KAZATO Fumiyuki – life imprisonment & hard labour
Two other perpetrators, ODAMURA Toshitake and MATSUMOTO Kunio died of natural causes before they could be brought to justice.

You said there was no court-martial...I assume you mean no warcrimes trial. The records for warcrimes trials conducted by the Australians--who were very assiduous in the pursuit of war criminals--should be something you could investigate without too much difficulty.The war crime trial (or temporary court-martial – thought this was for class B & C) was not conducted by Australia. I have been in contact with a woman in Melbourne who is undertaking university research into every one of these trials conducted by Australia. She assures me that she has not come across either Araki or Ishida’s name and suggests that there may have been crimes against Americans or Dutch and that country may have conducted the trial.

However, the killing of a single individual captured on a mission such as this might not have been a war crime--I'm not a legal expert--but, the remoteness of the area, and the desperation & anger of the Japanese point to an inevitable conclusion. It would have also facilitated covering up anything criminal. I agree, there was one Aust officer killed, one native interpreter killed (both in remote area) and one supposedly captured and executed as a POW. It was the end of the war so the enemy would have been very clever how they disposed of the remains and I guess they wanted to take out as many as they could. The two shot on the beach were probably buried not far from where they were shot and they are probably still there.

This is a search for the proverbial needle in a haystack, if ever there was one. I do agree with you cstunts and I know it is a million to one chance that I will find information that may hint to where the location of my relative's remains are. If I am not able to find this information, then it is equally important for my family and me to know where he was alive. Searching through all these old war documents is no easy thing to do as you would already know; I can't say I am enjoying this aspect of it as they are so graphic and disturbing. On the other hand I have to say it has certainly broadened my education.

cstunts
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Re: Celebes 1945 information please

Post by cstunts » 16 Jul 2011 04:36

The mention of executions at Singkang, Celebes rang a bell. I have heard of and/or come across references to the trial of Nakamura Michinori in my research. You could access that data without too much difficulty. The Macmillan Brown Library at Canterbury University in Christchurch, NZ has a complete collection of the IMTFE trials...if they weren't damaged/destroyed in the catastrophe recently. I've used them before; very helpful & competent.

Nonetheless, the IJA trial is not relevant, apparently.
The critical piece of data you might look for is the Ohsugi trial's Case Docket number because it looks like any leads useful to your research might be in Ohsugi's trial--although at best you would probably just be able to locate some kind of lead, not a direct account of this incident--and I do not have that docket number. However, it exists at NARA in Record Group 331, Entry 1321, beginning with Box 1572, I believe. The trial would have generated a huge paper trail, if you think it's worth going through.

Yes, these are grim documents, but as far as I understand it, war isn't a pretty business. (When I acquired a number of IMTFE trial docs from Canterbury U's Macmillan Brown Library in Christchurch a few years ago, the archivist decided to make the copies herself, to spare the delicate sensibilities of her student interns. I felt it would do them some good to know what the war was, and what it is...rather than allowing them to persist in a Virtual Cocoon World.)

tasha
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Re: Celebes 1945 information please

Post by tasha » 20 Jul 2011 10:35

Hello cstunts

Thank you for your reply. I haven't had a chance to explore much further, although I did try to access the Macmillan Library without success. I will try again and maybe even send them an email, same with NARA.

I have found out that the Japanese Garrison at Donggala, where 2LT ARAKI Yoshio would have been attached, was
OO°40’S110°44’30”E

d1972
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Re: Celebes 1945 information please

Post by d1972 » 21 Dec 2011 08:19

Hi Tasha-
Please feel free to contact me, if you want help locating information on ZSU or OP RAVEN. I work for Unrecovered War Casualties - Army , we are the agency involved in locating the Australian MIAs from WW1, WW2 and the Korean War.
D1972

mick_power2@hotmail.com
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Re: Celebes 1945 information please

Post by mick_power2@hotmail.com » 07 Jun 2012 19:43

HI,

Forgive me for saying this but I am at a loss as to who you are actually looking for, there are more references to Japanese personnel than anything else. From what I can only guess you are looking for a relative (no name/unit etc) so without that it is impossible to give guidance. I salute d1972 for your stellar work especially as with time this gets more and more difficult.

What I can say from my research is that those who were POWs and died in captivity were buried in a cemetary in Makassar - presumably near the camp. Following WW2 those remains were relocated to the cemetary at Ambon. Unfortunately, it is my best guess that either no records were kept or they were all destroyed as directed by the japanese. It is also possible that if this person was involved in work parties and died the likelihood was that he would have been buried right there. There was also a work party sent out to the south west part of the island I believe and not one POW was ever heard of again.

My father was a POW at Makkassar from March 1942 until being liberated by the Australians in 1945. I do have the signal traffic relating to that time but no where does it address situations like you describe.

I notice a reference to Ishida who you say was the man in charge of the POW camp. His name was Yoshida (nickname Gold Tooth). When the camp was liberated I have been told that he was lynched from a tree by the POWs themselves. The Australians tried to intervene but my guess is that with the overwhelming numbers of angry POWs they had to back off.

Let me know if I am following this correctly or possibly answer any other questions that you have.

Best

cstunts
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Re: Celebes 1945 information please

Post by cstunts » 14 Jun 2012 04:21

Hi,

Just to avoid more confusion, Ishida and Yoshida were two entirely different individuals. Yoshida was an Imperial Navy petty officer who was allowed to more or less run the POW camp himself--and to terrorize it at will, I should add--but he was NOT repeat NOT the actual commandant.
Evidently Ishida was able to commit suicide; not so Yoshida who was tried & convicted, as I recall.

FWIW

mick_power2@hotmail.com
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Re: Celebes 1945 information please

Post by mick_power2@hotmail.com » 14 Jun 2012 16:38

cstunts.... Thank you for clarifying that for me. I'd never heard of Ishida, although my father mat have used his name I probably misunderstood him to say Yoshida. Either way he hated them. As a child and in later life I couldn't press him too much as he cut off all other questions.

This is going to be a very long shot but would you happen to know where the actual location of the Bamboo Camp was located? I know the POWs built it in a coconut plantation to "the south" but am struggling to locate it as best as possible.

Any other good info or photos of the POW camp in Macassar?

Australians have actual footage (3 minutes or so) of the liberation of the camp, I've ordered it and am anxious to view it to see if my dad is in there some where.

Thanks for all the info and help you give people.

Best

Mick

cstunts
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Re: Celebes 1945 information please

Post by cstunts » 15 Jun 2012 17:00

Hello,

Happy to be of any help when & where I can.

This is going to be a very long shot but would you happen to know where the actual location of the Bamboo Camp was located? I know the POWs built it in a coconut plantation to "the south" but am struggling to locate it as best as possible.
Not at the moment; I might be able to access something eventually, but a bit overwhelmed with other priorities at this time.

Any other good info or photos of the POW camp in Macassar?
Ditto. I have a drawing somewhere, I think, but nothing very interesting at hand.

I know people incarcerated at Makassar but mainly these were Dutch civilians in internment camps, not actual POWs.
Seems some of the Asiatic Fleet guys might know about these other campsites, and I can dbl-chk those sources eventually, but unlikely anytime soon.

mick_power2@hotmail.com
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Re: Celebes 1945 information please

Post by mick_power2@hotmail.com » 15 Jun 2012 22:26

Hi cstunts!

Thanks for the response. I stumbled across a map in the FEPOW area. Seems like some of the sea has been reclaimed. The FEPOW map is very basic but when compared with Google Earth it is easily located....now has a large amount of shacks built over the whole area. I also got in contact with a a Brit in Australia who has provided me with some great info and was an eye opener. I have found 2 drawings of the camp one at an angle and the other a plan, when you get around to it have a look at what you have and I would be more than willing to give you the other drawing.

I received the film footage from the Aussies but sadly the description was way off. NO Royal Navy prisoners as advertised BUT there were 4 jap prisoners - should be retitled.

Anyway, thank you cstunts for taking the time.

Best

Mick

tasha
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Re: Celebes 1945 information please

Post by tasha » 24 Aug 2012 06:48

Hello "cstunts"

I am having a problem sending you a private message. Did you receive it?

cheers
Tasha

cstunts
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Re: Celebes 1945 information please

Post by cstunts » 24 Aug 2012 16:23

Hello Tasha,

Yes, just got it...and thank-YOU so much. Job exceedingly well-done; I am happy to have been of any help at all.

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