Rescuing American soldiers —— The story of Zhejiang villagers and American pilots 75 years ago


  Xinhuanet Hangzhou, November 8 th (Zhu Yaoling, Bao Tana) Many people are familiar with Doolittle’s air raid. It was a bold raid by US Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Doolittle led by 16 B-25 bombers and more than 80 crew members in Tokyo, Japan in 1942. Its victory was of great significance to the US military that lost in the battlefield of World War II at that time.

  This 75-year-old air raid was world-famous, but the story behind the heroic rescue of American pilots by China civilians is not so well known. The past should not be like smoke. Those touching rescue stories were created by villagers with their blood, sweat and even their lives. They risked their lives to feed and treat American pilots, and sent them to the local government in sedan chairs and rickshaws to escort them safely away.

  Today, let’s go into the mountainous areas of Zhejiang Province together to pursue that past, pay tribute to the civilian heroes and record the Sino-US friendship forged by that civilian.

  The 20-year-old Jiangshan villager abruptly carried the 2-meter-high American pilot down the mountain.

  Time went back to April 18th, 1942, which was the 133rd day after Pearl Harbor. After Doolittle’s successful air raid, the bombers continued to fly westward to China because they could not land on the aircraft carrier. Due to fuel exhaustion and weather, all 16 planes crashed, and the pilots were forced to land in Suichang, Jiangshan, Changshan, Lin ‘an, Zhejiang and Shangrao, Jiangxi.

  On the evening of the same day, No.3 plane crashed in Dawushan, Beiyang Village, Zhedaikou Township, Suichang County, Lishui City. The co-pilot, Manchi, fell near Jiwei Village in the east of the river. Injured during the fall, it was difficult to go down the mountain by myself, and was later discovered by the villagers.

  According to Manchi’s recollection, when he was found by the villagers, he was already very weak and had to take a break every 100 yards. A 5-foot-4 China man volunteered to carry him. He was a villager named Mao Jifu. At that time, Mao Jifu was in his early twenties, which was quite different from Manchi’s height. With all his strength, he abruptly carried the American pilot nearly 2 meters high down the mountain. Carrying a big man, Mao Jifu did not slow down or stop, but walked quickly to the village.

  Mao Jiefu’s wife Wu Meilan, villagers Liao Shiai and others also cooked egg soup and fried rice with eggs for Manqi, which could be regarded as luxury at that time. Because of the language barrier, they didn’t even know the name of the pilot at that time. Soon, American pilots were sent back to the United States by relevant parties.

  In December 1998, Manchi’s comrade-in-arms Wooldridge made a special trip to Mao Jie’s rich family to express his gratitude.

  Suichang villagers stewed chicken for the pilot as dinner, made his human crutches and sent him down the mountain.

  Gray, the captain of Unit 3, the bomber Jones landed and the mechanic Facht landed in Suichang.

  Captain Gray landed in Yankeng Village, Xifan Township, Suichang County on the same day, and went to the bridge head of Hudaikou Village the next day. He was found by the villagers and brought home, and was later placed in Liujia Ancestral Hall (then township office) by the village. Gray just stared at the rice and side dishes sent by the villagers … … Later, Gray drew a chicken and several circles on the paper — — Eggs, the villagers understood the meaning, and soon sent a few eggs that were still steaming, and also sent a chicken that had just been cooked as his dinner. In the war years, peasant families in mountainous areas may not be able to eat a chicken even if they celebrate the New Year.

  Early the next morning, under the arrangement of Liu Zuotang, the township head, the militia Liu Fangqiao escorted him to Shangding Township. There are steep and narrow mountain roads everywhere, and the inexperienced Gray is panting after a few steps. Liu Fangqiao let Gray take it on his shoulder and move down step by step. "Grandpa said that it was the most tiring road he had ever walked in his life," said Liu Guangning, the grandson of Liu Fangqiao.

  Along the way, Gray became acquainted with Liu Fangqiao. During the break, he took out the photos in his wallet and showed them to Liu Fangqiao, telling him that this was his wife. The next day, Liu Fangqiao returned to liu village. Gray gave him a ride and two American coins to express his gratitude.

  The bomber Jones landed in Kengxi Village, Zhedaikou Township, Suichang County. With the help of the township head Zhang Zhilun and villagers, he got food and changed clothes and was safely sent away. On April 21, he reunited with Captain Gray in Wangcunkou District and left safely.

  Facht, the mechanic, died in the cabin. When the villagers took turns guarding his body, they used a good coffin to bury him. Later, the coffin was sent away together with the disassembled crashed plane and parts.

  Zhu Xuesan, a teacher in Lin ‘an Mountain Village, saved Du Lite’s subordinates with crude "foreign language"

  The No.1 plane, that is, the plane that Doolittle carried out his mission, crashed on the Haotian Guanling of the West Tianmu Mountain at the junction of Zhejiang and Anhui that evening.

  Doolittle landed in the farmland of Shengjiafan, Baihe Town, Lin ‘an County, and was found the next day. Because of the language barrier, after the sentry stationed in the West Zhejiang Administrative Office of Baihe Town found him, both sides almost shot. Fortunately, the villagers helped Doolittle find his parachute and telescope, which cleared up the misunderstanding and sent the muddy American to the administrative office in western Zhejiang on Tianmu Mountain.

  Porter, the pilot of the same fighter as Doolittle, landed in Biyan Village, Qingyun Town. He and another crew member were mistaken for "Japanese" by the villagers. Fortunately, it was Sunday, and Zhu Xuesan, a local primary school teacher who knew a little foreign language, happened to be at home. He communicated with them in the simplest English, and the villagers learned that they were American heroes who bombed Tokyo and gave them a warm welcome. Because they can’t use chopsticks, Zhu Xuesan’s mother cooked a small pot of eggs for them. After dinner, everyone decided to send the two heroes to the West Zhejiang Administrative Office. On the way, I happened to meet Leonard, the shooter. The three of them just hugged and went to the administrative office in western Zhejiang.

  Cole, the co-pilot, landed in Shegan Village (now Taihu Lake Source Town, Lin ‘an), six kilometers away from Doolittle, and was kindly sent to the Youth Camp of the West Zhejiang Administrative Office under the escort of Bao Chang and others. The five pilots on Unit 1, after twists and turns, were reunited under the rescue of the people in Lin ‘an.

  The West Zhejiang Administrative Office prepared food for Du Lite’s five people, and the pilot also gave He Yangling, director of the Administrative Office, a leather coat, a pair of leather gloves and some small souvenirs. Just before parting, Doolittle took out a thank-you letter and gave it to He Yangling.

  Xiangshan villagers escorted the pilot away from Zheng Shiming overnight and were killed by the Japanese army.

  No.7 plane crashed on the toe beach of Dasha Village, Nantian Island, Xiangshan. At that time, four of the five American aircrew members were seriously injured, two of them seriously.

  Because the local area is very close to Shipu, the Japanese base camp, Xu Shangchun, the village chief, decided to send four young people to each group after discussing with Wang Xiaofu and other four captains, and sent the wounded away before dawn the next day. As a result, 16 villagers carried the injured American aircrew in the dark, changed their means of transportation several times and came to Sanmen. With the help of Chen Shengji, president of Enze Hospital, his son Chen Shenyan and his daughter-in-law Zhang Xuexiang, on the morning of the 21st, five American aircrew members were safely escorted to Enze Hospital. The medical staff amputated Captain Lawson. After more than half a month, the five crew members basically recovered.

  Dasha village is therefore in danger. After receiving the news, the Japanese troops stationed in Shipu went door-to-door to search and torture Dasha Village. In Dasha village, men, women and children said in a unified voice that "the crew was washed away by the tide, and no one went ashore", and the Japanese army found nothing. But soon, the Japanese army found a parachute in the villager Zheng Shiming’s house, tied his hands behind his back and hung them on the beams of the small temple for interrogation, asking him to give up the whereabouts of the American crew.

  Zheng Shiming insisted that the parachute was caught while fishing at sea. After the Japanese army withdrew, the whole village made every effort to rescue Zheng Shiming. However, due to his injuries and excessive bleeding, he passed away.

  Sanmen fishermen hid the pilot in a sandwich wall to help him disguise himself to avoid Japanese raids.

  Five crew members of Flight 6 crashed into Sanmen Bay, Zhejiang Province. That night, four people swam ashore, and the shore was Dawanggong Village, Tantoushan Island, Nantian District (it belonged to Sanmen County at that time and Xiangshan County in 1952). Seeing a farmhouse with lights on, I touched into the pig and sheep shed of this family. The newlyweds Ma Liangshui and Zhao Xiaobao found them. After roughly figuring out the ins and outs, the young couple invited them into the house and boiled eggs for them to eat. Later, I learned that there was still one person missing. Ma Liangshui went to the seaside to find the fifth pilot.

  Japanese soldiers got wind of it and went to the island to search. Ma Liangshui and his wife used their quick wits to hide the American pilot in the wall. The next day, they disguised their pilots with fishermen’s clothes and hired a sampan to row to help them avoid the Japanese blockade and reach a safe place. When leaving, the pilot gave Zhao Xiaobao two compasses, a watch and a pen.


Five elderly people from China were invited to the United States to attend the 50th anniversary of Doolittle’s air raid, and were warmly received.

  Half a century later, old people from foreign countries meet again to renew their friendship.

  Time flies. In 1992, Doolittle’s air raid celebrated its 50th anniversary. At the invitation of the Executive Committee of Doolittle Bombers Association of the United States, five old men, Liu Fangqiao, Chen Shenyan, Zhu Xuesan, Zeng Jianpei and Zhao Xiaobao, came to the United States to meet the American pilots rescued by them half a century ago again.

  Zhao Xiaobao, a fisherman’s daughter, changed from a newly married woman to a faltering old woman. At the meeting, Edward, the pilot who was rescued by her and her husband, recognized her at a glance. As soon as they met, they hugged each other tightly.

  Meeting with Liu Fangqiao was the daughter of a crew member of Unit 3, who read a thank-you letter on behalf of her father. Finally, she said, "If China people hadn’t saved my father, I wouldn’t be standing here today. I thank the benefactor of China from the bottom of my heart. "

  At the meeting place, the family of Facht, the dead mechanic of No.3 aircraft, hugged Liu Fangqiao. Frank’s brother kept saying "thank you, thank you!" " He said that 50 years ago, after his brother died by parachuting, farmers in China kept guarding the remains on the mountain for several days and nights. Thank you very much.

  General Doolittle, who was rescued by villagers in China that year, wrote to express his gratitude to the five old people: "On behalf of all members of Doolittle Bomber Team Association, I would like to express my gratitude to our friends in China — — Those who rescued and took care of us at the great risk of themselves and their whole family expressed their sincere gratitude! " The governor of Minnesota gave the old man a thank-you letter signed by him and the state secretary of state.


  The story that the past is like smoke and friendship is eternal continues … …

  Liu Fangqiao’s family still keeps an American magazine, which records the evaluation of the rescue incident from all walks of life in the United States; In the hall of Huang Zhichun’s home in the same village, there is also a photo of his father Huang Xiongzhong and the American pilot … …

  October 24 this year, Beijing. Bauer, the son of the pilot of Flight 12, was specially interviewed in a commemorative shirt for the 75th anniversary of Doolittle’s air raid. Jim said that his father and he are especially grateful to the people of China for their righteous actions. The Doolittle Children’s Association was established in the United States. "We will never forget the benefactor of China. If there is an opportunity next year, I hope to go to Suichang and other places to pay tribute to the benefactors. " Jim finally said.

  Open the dusty history, in addition to warm rescue, there are cold killings. After Doolittle’s air raid, the strategic importance of the airport group in western Zhejiang was completely exposed. Within one month from April 19, 1942, Japanese planes bombed Quzhou Airport 59 times, and nine villages near the airport were killed.

  When the dusty history is turned, some past events cannot be put into a joke. For that period of history, apart from meditation, there is sorrow, warmth and emotion … … The profound friendship forged in that war years is timeless and more precious to be passed on to future generations … …