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Archive Report: US Forces
1941 - 1945

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.

We seek additional information and photographs. Please contact us via Helpdesk
14th Air Force
10.05.1944 25th Fighter Squadron P-40K Warhawk 42-9753, 1st Lt. Louis W. Bishop DFC

Operation: Bombing mission Hsenwi, Burma (Myanmar)

Date: 10th May 1944 (Wednesday)

Unit No: 25th Fighter Squadron, 51st Fighter Group, 69th Composite Wing, 14th Air Force

Type: P-40K Warhawk

Serial: 42-9753

Code: Unknown

Base: YunnuanYi Airfield, China

Location: In the vicinity of Hsenwi, Burma (Myanmar)

Pilot: 1st Lt. Louis William Bishop DFC O-802239 AAF Age 21. PoW *

* Burma #5 (Moulmein & Rangoon Jail)

Above: Photograph from Class 43-D Flight 687-A, 1943, Army Air Forces Training Command, Walnut Ridge, Arkansas.

REASON FOR LOSS:

On the morning of the 10th May 1944 25 squadron took off from YunnuanYi airfield in China on a mission to bomb the Hsenwi bridge, approximately 15 miles NNE of Lashio in Burma (Myanmar).

1st Lt. Charles J. White O-671818 reported:

‘My last knowledge of Lt. Louis W. Bishop still being in the air was at 15:10 hrs, May 10, 1944 at which time our flight was leaving the target area. Lt. Bishop called by radio and said he was at 1000 feet and saw the flight. I proceeded to my base. Lt. Bishop failed to return’.

In his Individual Casualty Questionnaire (ICQ) he did not mention the reason for having to abandon his aircraft. However it is possible, given the low level skip bombing attack, his aircraft may have been unluckily hit by the reported small arms fire or even by debris from an exploding bomb which disabled the aircraft engine. He wrote that just before he baled out he saw his element leader heading for their base in China.

Capt. Lex M. Medlin O-659317, the Officer Commanding described that:

‘No direct search was undertaken due to the fact that several succeeding missions were flown over the same target area at which Lt. Bishop was last contacted by radio. Pilots who flew in the succeeding missions were instructed to be especially watchful for Lt. Bishop and his missing aircraft’.

The circumstances leading to his capture are unknown but he was eventually incarcerated at the Burma #5 (Moulmein & Rangoon Jail) where he and his fellow PoWs were brutally treated.

The level of brutality inflicted upon 1st Lt. Bishop and his fellow PoWs was determined by a British Military Court convened in Rangoon, Burma between the 18th and 24th April 1946.

Two members of the Imperial Japanese Army were charged with committing a war crime in that they, at the New Law Courts Jail Annex, Rangoon, Burma, between the 1st March 1944 and 27th July 1944, being in violation of the laws and usages of war, were together concerned in brutality towards and ill-treatment of American and British PoWs, resulting in the physical suffering of thirteen PoWs and the deaths of five of the thirteen.

The accused were:

Capt. (Rikugun-tai-i) UYENO Masakaru who was the former Commanding Officer (CO) of Futo Buntai, Rangoon, Burma and also the CO of the Futo Buntai prison;

Capt. (Rikugun-tai-i) YAMAZAKI Kaname was the Medical Officer (MO) of the prison.

Note: the Japanese word Rikugun preceding a rank indicates that it relates to the army.

Both were also members of or attached to the Kempeitai who were the military police of the Imperial Japanese Army and functioned much like the Gestapo in Nazi Germany.

Capt. UYENO was in post at the Futo Buntai prison, also known as the New Law Courts Jail Annex, from 1st March 1944 until 31st December 1944. Capt. YAMAZAKI was in post during the same period, and was responsible for the sanitary conditions of the Annex and the health and physical well being of its inmates.

During the period they were in charge a number of American and British airmen were incarcerated in the Annex where they were kept in confinement under harsh and oppressive regulations without proper or adequate food, covering, sanitation facilities and medical attention.

On or about the 5th or 6th July 1944, the following thirteen airmen were brutally beaten with clubs, iron pipes, belts and were kicked to such an extent that at least two of them were seriously injured:

Capt. John H. McCloskey; Capt. Wayne R. Westberg; Capt. William R. Gilhousen; 1st Lt. Louis W. Bishop; FO. Gene Gambale; 2nd Lt. John T. Whitescarver; 1st Lt. Amel Boldman Jr.; T/Sgt. Edward F. Niland; S/Sgt. James M. McKernan; S/Sgt. Norman L. Snyder; S/Sgt. Leland W. Waltrip; T/Sgt. Tyman H. Wells Jr. and Sgt. John G. Parker, Royal Air Force.

The treatment meted out to the PoWs directly contributed to the deaths of Capt. Westberg, Capt. Gilhousen, FO. Gambale, 1st Lt. Boldman Jr. and Sgt. Parker.

The court found YAMAZAKI not guilty of the charges.

However, UYENO was found guilty of causing the deaths of Capt. Gilbousen 1st Lt. Boldman Jr. and Sgt. Parker. He was found not guilty of causing the deaths of Capt. Westberg and FO. Gambale but guilty of the brutality inflicted upon them.

UYENO was sentenced to death by hanging which was carried out on the 19th June 1946 at the Rangoon Central Jail.

During his ordeal at the hands of the Japanese 1st Lt. Bishop befriended Sgt. Parker and after returning to the United States he wrote a letter to his family describing the circumstances leading to his death.

Burial details:

None. He survived his ordeal

Researched by Ralph Snape and Traugott Vitz for Aircrew Remembered and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot. Thanks also to Traugott Vitz for his work on the ‘VitzArchive’.

Other sources listed below:

RS & TV 03.09.2023 - Initial upload

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Acknowledgments: Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Stan D. Bishop, John A. Hey MBE, Gerrie Franken and Maco Cillessen - Losses of the US 8th and 9th Air Forces, Vols 1-6, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiton - Nachtjagd Combat Archives, Vols 1-13. Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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