Navy World War II

World War II Video of Captured Japanese Soldiers from Hospital Ship Tachibana Maru

United States forces captured the Japanese hospital ship Tachibana Maru in early August 1945 after it was discovered the Japanese were transporting fresh troops and weapons to battle areas of need.

The Japanese would dress as wounded prisoners wearing hospital robes and some laying on a stretcher with bandages. They actually were replacements aiming to get through U.S. Navy ship and air patrols. Once boarded American forces discovered over 1,500 healthy soldiers.

This action by the Japanese was a serious violation of international law. It is not known if any of the crew or leadership were prosecuted for these crimes. The below video gives us a look at how the prisoners were treated after being captured.

This second video (below) is actual footage of the capture of the Tachibana Maru. This video was shot by a 17-year old Bill Bacon who was aboard one of the ships taking part in the capture.

This third video (below) is from a newsreel that reported on capture. It’s kind of humorous.

Here’s a great article that gives more details on the capture of the Tachibana Maru.