WW2 USMC Marine 1st Raider Battalion Guadalcanal Captured Japanese Flag

guadalcanal japanese flag front ww2One of my favorite types of WWII militaria are Japanese signed flags (they are called Yosegaki Hinomaru in Japanese) with capture history.  There are lots of WWII Japanese signed flags available on the market today.   If you look on the internet, there are dozens for sale at any one time.  This is because they were one of the most popular souvenirs for WWII vets to bring back from the War.  What is hard to find is a signed flag where you have iron clad documentation about the history of the flags capture and/or the Veteran that brought it back.

This flag came directly from the son of a 1st Raider Battalion Veteran and is part of a larger group that I own to that Veteran.  When I got it, his son also included of photo copy of a newspaper article that ran in the Veteran’s hometown paper.  The article shows the flag and also talks about it being captured on Guadalcanal.

Although I don’t read Japanese, certain phrases appear often enough on these signed flags that I do know the meaning of them.  On this flag, in the right hand vertical column, where the characters are bold and large, from top to bottom the first 5 kanji characters say ” I pray your military fortunes are long lasting”, Ki Buun Chokyu in Japanese.   This was a very popular phrase on signed good luck flags and appears on many of them.

Please note that I have also attached a photo of a piece of paper with Japanese writing on it that came from this same Veteran.  I do not know what it says, if anyone can give me any kind of a translation, I would be most grateful and would love to update this article with that info.  Also, if anyone can give me any help with the translation of the other writing on the flag, I would also be very grateful and would update this article with that info.

WWII USMC 4th Marine Raider Battalion Australian Made Uniform

Marine raider uniform ww2

This WWII USMC Australian made uniform belonged to a member of the Marine 4th Raider Battalion and is part of a larger grouping that I own from this Marine.  During the early part of World War Two, American made dress uniforms were impossible to acquire for Marines stationed in Australia and New Zealand.  So these Australian made battle dress uniforms were obtained by the Marines.  They were usually worn like this, with only a shoulder patch and rank insignia.  Early in the war, Eagle, Globe, and Anchor (EGAs) collar insignia and ribbon bars are usually not seen in period pictures on these uniforms.  The small twill Raider patch like the one shown, were often seen on Raider dress uniforms during the War.

The Marine that owned this uniform was with the 4th Raider Battalion from 1942 until their disbandment in early 1944.  He was next transferred to the 9th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division and he fought with that unit on Guam and Iwo Jima.

The letters and documents I obtained with this grouping tell a really sad story regarding this particular Marine and his family.  He was wounded but survived while fighting on Guam, but his family was incorrectly notified that he was killed in action by the Marines.   His parents believed he had been killed for a month and a half until they started receiving letters from him that were dated after the date that had been reported to them that he was KIA.  There are several letters I have with him writing to his parents assuring them he was still alive.  It looks like somebody just notated his file incorrectly.

Unfortunately, his parents had to go through this again just a few months later.  They were notified in March 1945 that this brave Marine had been killed while fighting on Iwo Jima.  This time the information was correct, he had been KIA.   I can’t begin to imagine the pain his family endured going through this twice.

 

 

Paramarine Bracelets Made From Japanese Zero Aircraft Aluminum

paramarine japanese zero bracelet 3 watermarkThese WWII bracelets combine two of my interests.  First, they were made by hand by a WWII USMC Paramarine and I really like Paramarine related items.  Second, they are made out of pieces of Japanese aircraft aluminum and I enjoy collecting pieces of Japanese WWII aircraft.

The Paramarine who made these was a member of the 2nd Paramarine Battalion. The first bracelet commemorates his service with that unit.  When I got it, it was flattened out like shown, to make it easier to display.  The second bracelet still retains the original bracelet shape, but the Veteran never added anything to the front of it.

Both bracelets were made out of Japanese aircraft aluminum.  They both retain their original green Aotake paint on the reverse side.  Aotake paint was used by the Japanese during WWII for corrosion resistance on metal on aircraft.  It has a very distinctive metallic/shiny appearance and can range in color.  I have seen green, blue, greenish blue/bluish green, and yellowish green colors of Aotake paint on Japanese aircraft parts.

The Marine added an inscription to the back of one of the bracelets.  It is a little hard to see in the photos, but it says Japanese 0, shot down in Vella LaVella, 10/1/43.  I did a little research and there was a Japanese air attack on Vella Lavella on October 1, 1943.  It was conducted by Val dive bombers of the 582nd Kokutai and A6M Zeros of the 204th and 201st Kokutai.  One Val dive bomber was recorded as shot down during this attack.  I don’t know if any of the Zeros were recorded as lost.  These pieces of Japanese airplane are apparently from this Japanese air attack.

After the Paramarines were disbanded, this Marine went on to become a member of the 27th Marine Regiment, 5th Marine Division.  He landed with the 27th Marines on Iwo Jima and was later wounded during that battle.  Please note that we have blurred out his name on the bracelet for privacy.

Fourth Marine Division Iwo Jima Stretcher Bearer Commendation

Fourth Marine Division Stretcher Bearer Document

This commendation was given to a WWII member of the 4th Marine Division for his brave service as a stretcher bearer during the battle of Iwo Jima.  He was a member of the Headquarters Battalion, Fourth Marine Division from April 1944 to the end of the war.  He was a member of the Division Band.  Members of the band were often used as stretcher bearers in the Marines, once the unit went into combat.  Please note that his name has been blurred out for privacy.

Being a USMC stretcher bearer was extremely dangerous work in the Pacific Theater during World War Two.  The Japanese did not follow the Geneva Convention protective rules regarding wounded troops and the people attending to them.  Instead, Japanese soldiers during WWII were taught that stretcher bearers were one of the first priority targets to eliminate.