Lt “Hap” Halloran remembers March 10,
1945 as a night of terror.
cage in Kempei Tai Headquarters was immediately adjacent the moat at the north edge of Imperial Palace grounds. The air raid
sirens were late sounding as planes and bombings followed almost immediately. Judging from the sound of the wind against the
wooden Kempei Tai stable I would estimate winds at 25 mph at the start of the mission.
the fires accelerated the wind intensified creating a firestorm. Fires, heat and smoke reached our immediate area. A wood
door and a portion of the roof burnt on our stable. It was a terrifying night. Our guards vacated their positions for their
own safety. Our cages were locked. There were 5 B-29er POWs in their solitary cages in the stable. We each remained silent
during the entire raid. Silent prayers and fear dominated. The anti-aircraft gun close by was rapid firing and our wooden
building shook. Finally the gun was silent. Screams of people apparently seeking the waters of the nearby moat were constant.
The high winds blew aside the dark curtain over a small barred window at the back rear side of my cage. I could see the solid
red sky. Smoke and smell penetrated our stable cage area. Realistically I never thought I would survive that night. I can
only estimate the bombings continued over two hours.
my subsequent return visits to Tokyo I always visit that specific area where I was confined that early morning of March 10,
1945. The Kempei Tai Headquarters building and stables are gone now. The moat is still there. Sometimes I just stand there
and relive a partial memory of that night of terror. I also cross the bridges over the Sumida River on the East side of Tokyo
into the initial target area.
my eight return visits to former target cities in Japan I always reflect back on those B-29ers who performed so well in those
days, with special thoughts about those who never made it home.”
March 10, 2002 a new Museum was dedicated in Tokyo east of the Sumida River. It is located very near the area
marked out by the Pathfinders as primary intiial bombing points that early morning on March 10, 1945. Katsumoto Saotome
triggered the concept of this Museum. He is a well known writer of over 60 books. Hap was invited and accepted
the invitation to be principal speaker at the dedication. The audience of over 400 knew that Hap Halloran was
a B 29er and Prisoner of War in Kempei Tai torture prison in central Tokyo that long ago night.
Thus the speaker and guests shared somewhat similar memories. The formal dinner following the dedication was sociable
it is true that "TIME HEALS EVERYTHING .....almost".
Author's note: Hap uses that quote often....along with "ENJOY LIFE."