Formerly T/Sgt., in the presence of Richard E. Hallam, Special Agent, 109th Counter
Intelligence Corps Detachment, 2nd Army, 24 June, 1947.
I was born on 2 January 1922, in Masontown, Pennsylvania.
I am married, and a graduate of the Baltimore Vocational School. I am a bricklayer's
apprentice. I arrived in San Francisco on 15 October 1945 aboard the Admiral
I was shot down on 1 June 1943 on New Britain Island, near
Rabaul, and was captured by a Japanese ground force on June 7, 1943. I was taken
to Rabaul on 21 June 1943 where I remained for 21 days. I was transferred to
Truk on July 17, 1943, remained eleven days, and was sent to Ofuna Camp, where I remained until March 14, 1944. I was next sent to Ashio where
I remained from March 15, 1944 until September 4, 1945.
On 1 June 1943 I was radio operator on a B-17, 64th Bomb
Squadron, 43rd Group, stationed at Port Moresby. We were flying alone on
a reconnaissance flight and at 1410, after six hours in flight, encountered
12 Jap fighter planes which attacked us. We were hit in a gas tank near #2
engine, which caused a fire. Lt. Naumann, our pilot, ordered the crew to
prepare to bail out. Since the fire could not be controlled, we were ordered
to abandon ship. As soon as the order was given, the ship exploded, causing
it to take a climb. The explosion threw me out of the plane at about 6,000
feet and I did not see any of the other crew members leave the plane. I fell
about 4,000 feet before I pulled the rip cord and landed in a tree in a conscious
condition. From my position I could see and hear a Jap plane strafing but
did not see the target. The plane crashed several miles from where I landed
in the jungle.
Upon hitting the ground, after bailing from the plane,
I sprained my ankle. Two days later I came across two of our dead crew members;
one, Lt. Lewis, the navigator, and the other, the bombardier whose name I
have forgotten. Their bodies were not near the scene of the crash, and were
in a mutilated condition.
On the third day, I came to a village of friendly
natives, who took me into another district. Here I found Lt. Naumann, T/Sgt.
Fox and Cpl. Green. We stayed with the natives until 6 June 1943, when
we were taken to the coast and turned over to the Japanese. The Japs took
all four of us to an outpost, where there were seven enlisted men and one
officer. We remained here for fourteen days, and were tied to stakes for
the first two days. In the officer's absence the enlisted men slapped and
hit us with gun butts; however, in his presence we were treated fairly, but
never were given neither food nor medical attention. I do not remember any
of our captor's names.
On 12 June 1943 T/Sgt. Fox, who was severely burned,
and Cpl. Green, who was shot in the knee, were taken by the Japs to what
they claimed was a hospital in Rabaul. Fox and Green were never heard from
On 21 June 1943 Lt. Naumann and I were taken by boat to
Rabaul, where I remained for 21 days. Prior to our arrival there I was blindfolded
and bound. On reaching the camp, I was tied to a post at the mess hall for
approximately 12 hours, during which time I was stoned by passers-by and
kicked by the guards. I contracted malaria, but received no medical treatment
despite frequent requests. After 21 days, I was sent to Truk Island, where
I first received medical aid. While at Rabaul, Lt. Naumann and I were treated
alike. He told me that all of the crew members had been killed either in
the explosion or following crash, except the four of us previously mentioned.
I did not see or hear from Naumann after leaving Rabaul and since my release
as a POW, have not heard from any crew members. I believe I am the only
survivor of the incident.
I was a new member of the crew and therefore have
forgotten the names of victims, with the exception of Lt. Lewis, the navigator.
The survivors were Lt. Ernest A. Naumann, the pilot, T/Sgt. Thomas Fox,
the engineer, Cpl. Charles Green, the tail gunner and myself. Lt. Naumann
was uninjured, Fox was severely burned and Green had been shot in two places
in his knee. Fox and Green were taken from the outpost where we were first
held on or about 10 June 1943. I did not see them again and believe they
died from their wounds. In January 1944 while I was being held at Ofuna,
I heard through Lt(jg) Stephen A. Nyarady, Navy [pilot TBF Avenger 23973 crashed November 11, 1943] that Lt. Naumann left
Rabaul on December 3, 1943 with seventeen other prisoners of war in a small
boat but that they were never heard from again.
Lt. JG Stephen A. Nyarady,
1144 Tiffany Street, Bronx, New York informed me at Ofuna that he was present
at Rabaul on 3 December 1943 when Lt. Naumann and 17 others were sent away
in a small boat.
Paul J. Cascio
26th August 1947 41-9207 64 BOMB SQUADRON 43 BOMB GROUP
Case File 51-92, Records Group 153
United States National Archives, College