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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.
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211 Squadron
07.05.1944 211th Squadron, Beaufighter TF:X NE539 WO1. Warren D. Hall

Operation: Attack communications on the Lashio to Bhamo road, Burma (Myanmar)

Date: 7th May 1944 (Sunday)

Unit No: 211 Squadron, South East Asia Command

Type: Beaufighter TF.X

Serial: NE539

Code: UQ:Z

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

Base: Bhatpar, India

Pilot: WO1. Warren Douglass ‘Shorty’ Hall R109174 RCAF Age 21. KiA

Navigator: Flt Sgt. John Graham Parker 1082324 RAFVR Age 23. PoW */Murdered (1)

* Burma #5 (Moulmein & Rangoon Jail)

Above: WO1. Warren Douglass ‘Shorty’ Hall from his service file as a Sgt.

REASON FOR LOSS:

Beaufighters NE539 and NE516 took off from Bhatpar in India on the 7th May 1944 at about 06:30 hrs to attack communications on the Lashio to Bhamo road in Burma (Myanmar).

Low cloud prevented any offensive action on the road and Fg Off. Haakenson and Flt Sgt. Ferguson flying Beaufighter NE516 returned via the Irrawaddy river to Zigon where a locomotive was attacked. WO1. Hall’s aircraft was last seen by Fg Off. Haakenson flying towards a target in the vicinity at about 07:45 hrs.

Note: On the night of the 12th/13th June 1944 Flt Lt. Malfred Johan Carl Haakenson J12845, RCAF and Flt Sgt. Allan Clark ‘Jock’ Ferguson 1321315 RAFVR, flying Beaufighter TF.X NE516, UQ:Y, were shot down and they became PoWs at Burma #5 (Moulmein & Rangoon Jail).

The following is a letter found in Plt Off. Warren D. ’Shorty’ Hall’s service record written by 1st Lt. Louis W. Bishop which describes the events leading to the loss of his aircraft and the fate of him and his navigator, Flt Sgt. Parker:

Sept. 6, 1945

My Dear Mr. & Mrs. Parker.

This is in answer to your letter of Aug. 20th/45 concerning your son Flight Sergeant John G. Parker.

I first met your son in a little village in Burma, called Kalow. We were both captives of the Japanese and neither one us has fared to [sic] well up to that time. This is John's story.

On 7th May 1944, he and his pilot were on low altitude reconnaissance mission. They had succeeded in destroying two locomotive engines, and were preparing to attack a third when their plane was hit by anti aircraft fire. They lost one of their engines which made in impossible for them to get back to their base in India, so his pilot, 'Shorty' Hall, gave the order to bale out. John's chute opened at 2000 feet, but, 'Shorty’s' chute didn't open until he was almost on the ground. Later the Japanese told John that 'Shorty' had been killed in the jump, his chute failing to open properly. John was free in the jungle for seven days before some Burmese natives overpowered him and turned him over to the Japs.

John received very little food up until the time I met him and he had contracted Malaria in the jungle. It is needless to say that our medical treatment was very poor, so we didn't even get any quinine. John and I were taken the following day to Rangoon, Burma. It took us two nights to get there and it was raining constantly. On the 28th May we arrived in Rangoon, and we were made to sleep on the damp ground until the 3rd June. During the entire time we had little food and no medical treatment. John' s fever was getting worse all this time.

On the 3rd of June, we were taken to the City Jail where we were to spend the next ten weeks. Here conditions were much worse, we received less food, and a very little medicine. Our guards were of the lowest calibur [sic] and unless we behaved perfectly we were beaten.

On the 16th July, John's heart gave out and he passed away very quietly as we were kept in cells we were not allowed to go to the funeral, however we heard later that the Japanese buried the Allies in the local cemetery in Rangoon. Sometime later I was put in charge of a burial squad and I know that white prisoners buried their own dead. The squad consisted of four pol-bearers [sic] who dug the grave and laid the body to rest. They also made a wooden cross for each person.

I am sorry but that is all the information I can give you. I was closer to John than perhaps anyone else in the Army. We had great plans for the future and we promised each other, that if either of us ever did get out we would look up the others relatives.

I am still in the Army at present but someday I will be out and I hope then to make a trip to England.

I would like to have a photograph of John if you could possibly spare one.

If you will send me 'Shorty' Hall's address I will write to them and tell them exactly what John told me.

My deepest sympathy is extended to you, and other members of the Family. Please feel free to write to me at any time and if I can be of any further assistance just let me know.

Very sincerely yours,

L.W. Bishop.

(1) The circumstances leading to the death of Sgt. Parker were 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.

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.

Burial Details:

Above: Marker in the Rangoon Cantonment Cemetery for Plt Off. Hall. The plaque states that he was “Buried near this Spot”.

Above: The Singapore Memorial (Courtesy of the CWGC)

Plt Off. Warren Douglass ‘Shorty’ Hall. Remembered on the Singapore Memorial, Column 443. Born on the 18th July 1922 in Calgary, Alberta. Son of Douglass James and Marguretta (née McCord) Hall of Crossfield, Alberta, USA.

WO1. Hall was posthumously appointed to a commission and promoted to J86784 Plt Off. with effect 31st July 1944.

Above: Special Memorial for Plt Off. John Graham Parker (Courtesy of TWGPP)

Plt Off. John Graham Parker. Rangoon War Cemetery, Special Memorial, Joint Grave 8.B.11. Inscription: ‘AT THE GOING DOWN OF THE SUN AND IN THE MORNING, WE WILL REMEMBER HIM’. Born on the 2nd January 1921 in Gateshead, Durham. Son of Joseph William and Phyllis (née Graham) Parker, of High Spen, County Durham, England.

Flt Sgt. Parker was appointed to a commission and promoted to 176397 Plt Off. with effect on the 19th April 1944.

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

Thanks to ‘The War Graves Photographic Project for their great work.

Other sources listed below:

RS & TV 03.09.2023 - Initial upload

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Acknowledgements
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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