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McGrath, Sgt. Harry E. Jr.

Last updated on November 3, 2019

Sgt. Harry E. McGrath Jr. 
Born: 1920 
Parents: Mr. & Mrs. Harry E. McGrath Sr. 
Home: 815 North 15th Avenue, Melrose Park, Illinois. 
Education: Class of 1938 – Proviso Township High School 
Wife: Annette 
Residence: 4207 West Hirsch Street, Chicago, Illinois 
Inducted: Not Known 
– U.S. Army Air Corps 
– Training: machine-gunner 
– Army Serial Number: 36686684 
Unit: 500th Bomb Group, 73rd Bomb Wing 
Plane: Z-31 
– Top Gunner 
– plane had completed 9 bombing mission 
– 10th bombing mission was on Tokyo 
– the plane was hit by flak 
– only Harry and one other crew member, Sgt. Melvin Johnston, survived 
Prisoner of War: 
– captured by Japanese civilians who treated him relatively well 
– turned over to Kempei-Tai 
– this was the Japanese military police 
POW Camps: 
Tokyo POW Interrogation Center  
– ran by Japanese Tempei-Tai 
– POWs were repeatedly beaten in an attempt to get information from them 
– he described his treatment, “They beat me with clubs, swords, bayonets, and bamboo poles.” 
– he had a wound from flak in his leg that the Japanese refused to treat 
– the wound later healed on its own 
– he was put in solitary confinement until April 3, 1945 
– the Japanese took away his shoes and socks and he spent the winter without them in a former stable 
Tokyo Main Camp 
– the camp was also known as Omori 
– description of camp life 
– the camp was located on a man-made island built by POWs 
– held the “special prisoners” 
– many of the POWs had been members of B-29 crews 
– The POWs were special in the sense that they were given half rations and denied medical care 
– The POWs were frequently punished by being made to stand at attention 
– collective punishment because one POW broke a rule 
– the guards would slap the POWs and beat them 
– 31 August 1945 
– parents learned he was alive 
– Liberated: 
– September 1945 
– sent by ship to Okinawa 
– Returned to the United States 
– date not known 

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