Ie Shima (Island), Ernie Pyle, and a “Betty Bomber” have more in common that you might think.
During World War II, a New Hampshire native, Robert J. Manning of Manchester, was a member of the 413th FG, 21st Fight Squadron stationed at Ie Shima. He flew aircraft in that squadron from this island off the coast of Okinawa in 1945, as a starting point to bomb the island of Hokkaido, Japan.
As I mentioned in a previous story, his commander was Harry Thyng. My cousin Bob Pynenburg says that our Uncle Bob said the flight from le Shima to Hokkaido was so long that he got cramps in his butt!
I found several photographs taken by my Uncle Bob and sent home to either his mother Addie Manning, or to his sister Mary (my mother). Luckily for us, my mother saved everything (and I mean everything), especially photographs.
The first is a photograph taken from the water near Ie Shima. The second two are rare photographs showing the actual air strip and planes at Ie Shima, and then what I believe is the “end” of the airstrip showing wrecks of airplanes that didn’t make it.
Then here are two photographs of Ernie Pyle’s monument and burial place. Ernie Pyle was a reporter for Scripps-Howard, and was much respected as he most frequently reported on the regular Joe, or combat infantryman. In April of 1945 he was killed on Ie Shima by enemy fire. At first buried here (and thus the monument), with a soldier on either side, his remains were later removed to the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu. The Ernie Pyle monument is one of the few World War II memorials that still exist in Japan.
Robert Manning was also on the island on August 19th, 1945 when two Japanese military and diplomatic delegation left Japan on their way to meet with General MacArthur regarding surrender terms. While on their way, on August 19th, they stopped on Ie Shima, when my uncle took this photograph of their airplane (called a “Betty” Bomber).