Piece from crashed U.S. bomber to be sent from Hiroshima to relatives of crewman

by Hiromi Morita, Staff Writer

Shigeaki Mori, 71, a Hiroshima resident and researcher of history, has been in possession of fragments purportedly from a U.S. bomber that was shot down shortly before the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. He recently received a letter from a relative of one of the crew members and Mr. Mori now plans to send back, in return, a small piece of the plane as a memento of the lost soldier.

The American plane was a B-24 bomber known as the Taloa, which crashed in Yahata Village, now part of Saeki Ward. Among the 11 crewmen on board, six were killed in the crash. The five others escaped by parachute, but two of them died shortly after reaching the ground, while the remaining three became prisoners of war and were held at the Chugoku Military District Headquarters in Hiroshima. They later died due to the atomic bombing.

Last year, two pieces of metal, one made of aluminum and the other of duralumin, both likely fragments from the Taloa, were found in a private house in Saeki Ward. Mr. Mori, who has been researching the American soldiers who died in the bombing, obtained the fragments and cut off smaller pieces from them to send to the family members of two crewmen he had already located.

Richard Ramar, 50, who lives in the state of Kentucky and is a nephew of Sergeant Richard Allison, another crewman of the Taloa, saw a news story about Mr. Mori’s efforts and wrote a letter to him. Mr. Ramar also included a copy of the letter his family had received from the U.S. military which explained that Sergeant Allison had gone “missing in action.” According to Mr. Ramar, Sergeant Allison’s family continued to believe, for some time, that he had managed to survive and did not hold a burial for him until four years after this notification from the military.

Mr. Mori, himself an A-bomb survivor of Hiroshima, said, “The painful memories of war are felt the same in both the U.S. and in Japan. My hope is that I can cultivate friendly relations with the family of Sergeant Allison for the cause of peace.”

(Originally published on March 11, 2009)

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