From the May 7, 1945 Edition of Stars and Stripes

CALCUTTA, May 6 (UP)—The first group of American war prisoners liberated in Burma, mostly from the Air Forces, are recuperating in a hospital here and telling grim stories of beatings, starvation and indignities administered by the Japanese to a “special treatment group” of fliers, captured after bombing raids on Japan began.

Lt. Barry Davis of Los Angeles, a “group” member, said that the men were put in the special category because, the Japanese told them, of their “indiscriminate bombing of women and children and making war on the Burmese.”

14th air force china japanese

14th Air Force B-24 Liberators at Kunming Airport, China on September 6, 1944.

Beat Fliers With Clubs

He said that las Japanese New Year’s Day the prisoners were lined up and guards beat them with “clubs made like pick handles” and slapped them. He said that the beatings were much worse when the guards were drunk.

Prisoners said the beatings usually came when the Japanese suffered military reverses. They were especially hard on B29 crews. Davis said that he was “slapped about four times weekly and got so that I only hoped it wouldn’t hurt too bad. You forgot the humiliation.”

Charged with Murder

Lt. Col. Douglas G. Gilbert, of Arlington, Va., said that the treatment of the non-special group of prisoners was poor. He said that the Japanese had almost no medical treatment but finally gave some injections to beri-beri victims and deleted rice from the diet to prevent further outbreaks.

S/Sgt. Tyuan H. Wells, of Hattiesburg, Miss, a B24 gunner. Was charged with murder for strafing civilians. He was told that he would undergo seven years’ imprisonment after the war before he could become a citizen of the greater East Asia co-prosperity sphere.

For Further Reading Check Out:

Air War in the Pacific: The Journal of General George Kenney, Commander of the Fifth U.S. Air Force

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