Ie Shima Island: Starting the process to official surrender.

Starting the process to official surrender.
Ie Shima Island: Starting the process to official surrender.

– CBS Radio – Special Broadcast from Ie Shima Island – August 18, 1945 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –

With the end of hostilities just days earlier on August 15th, the process of making the surrender official began. On the morning of August 18th, a plane carrying a surrender delegation from the Japanese government arrived on the island of Ie Shima, to meet with Allied officials in Manila and prepare documents for eventual signing.

Aside from the initial agreement to terms, which ended hostilities on the 15th, the final documents and terms needed to be prepared and worded so that surrender terms were agreed and signed, and the official end of World War 2 would be a done-deal.

Ie Shima was the major starting point for the Surrender of Japan. It was the home of the 413th Fighter Group which comprised the 1st, 21st and 34th Fighter Squadrons, the 345th Bombardment Group, consisting of the 498th, 499th, 500th and 501st Squadrons, along with the 548th and 549th Night Fighter Squadrons of the 7th Fighter Command. All three groups were stationed there toward the end of the war.

The surrender preparations started on August 17, 1945, with the flight of two Japanese Betty bombers to Ie Shima where the Japanese emissaries transferred to U.S. Army Air Force C-54s to complete their journey to Corregidor to meet with General Douglas MacArthur’s staff. B-25 Mitchells of the 345th were assigned to escort the Japanese bombers from the Japanese mainland to Ie Shima, and P-38s were assigned the duty of top-cover. Japanese officials ordered the remaining Japanese Air Force to shoot down their own bombers, because they believed that honor required that Japan should fight to the very last person. Instead of flying directly to Ie Shima, the two Japanese planes flew northeast, toward the open ocean, to avoid their own fighters. One of the Japanese delegates aboard remarked, after looking through a bullet hole in the side of the plane, that a squadron of fighters was approaching and he thought that their surrender mission had failed. However, the squadron of fighters were U.S. P-38 Lightnings assigned as top-cover. The 345th had been directed to send two B-25s as escorts. However, fully aware of the difficulty in communication with the Japanese and correctly anticipating the possibility of necessary deviation from plans, the 345th had dispatched three flights of B-25s so as to bracket the enemy’s proposed flight path. This proved to be excellent planning, as only the second of the three flights intercepted the Japanese and the top-cover, off-course and headed on a route that would not have brought them to Ie Shima. Operating under orders to come no nearer than 305 m (1,000 feet) to the Japanese planes, Major J.C. McClure found it impossible to keep the Japanese on the proper course flying abreast of them, so he pulled out well ahead of them to lead their formation. Seconds later he was surprised to find the Japanese tucked in tightly under his wings. To them it was the safest way to approach the island which had only days before been their target. The four planes arrived over Ie Shima in perfect show formation.

A solemn occasion, but one which saw an overflow crowd of curious and picture-taking spectators, all eager to be witnesses to history as the plane taxied down the runway.

So on August 18th, broadcasts were delayed or interrupted in order to bring the landing of the delegation plane and one more step to the end of World War 2.

Here is an extended excerpt from that arrival on August 18, 1945 (because of the time difference, it is often listen as August 19th).

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