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by Tsuneo Hitsuji
Asahi Sonorama 1983
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|Saigo No Hikotei
(The Last Flying Boat)
Biography of Lt. Tsuneo Hitsuji, who served in the Japanese Navy as the pilot of H6K5 Mavis and later H8K2 Emily flying boats. The book includes many interesting stories, including a shootout between H6K5 Mavis and B-17 Flying Fortress on on November 21, 1942.
Another interesting story is described when Hitsuji is piloting an Emily and meets with another flying boat at stormy night. They fly following this other flying boat, and escape the storm. It was thought to be the flying boat of the friends who failed in a takeoff, killing the entire crew.
Lt. Hitsuji survived the war. On the day the war ended, he scuttled his H8K2 Emily into a Japanese lake. This wreck was later salvaged and used in the Korean War and scrapped afterwards.
Hitsuji was also likely the last Japanese to pilot the Emily. On his final wartime assignment, he flew a surviving Emily to Yokohama where it was handed over to the US forces. He was escorted by a PBY Catalina, but had to fly in zig-zag pattern to keep from overtaking the slower PBY.
This book is an amazing account of flying the Mavis and Emily flying boats during the Pacific War.
Review by Justin Taylan
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