- About Us
Both of you survived the war
The Japanese didnt fare too well as fellow human beings in the television recounting of World War II by historian Ken Burns, but I have another story sent me by an old friend I wrote of recently concerning how he got the budget passed when he was a legislator in Olympia.
The narrator of this story is Miss Nori Nagasawa.
On the 3rd of December, 1944, at about 1430 hours, a B-29 was shot down over Tokyo. Of its 12 crew members, only three men would make it home to America. Of those three, one is still living, Mr. Robert F. Goldsworthy (of Rosalia).
Nagasawa met Goldsworthy in 1993 at a small church in Maui, Hawaii, and got a ride back to the condominium where both were staying, Goldsworthy with his wife, Jean.
When Goldsworthy asked Nagasawa where she was doing the war, the reply was In Tokyo. I was a college student. Goldsworthy asked if she remembered the big air raid on March 10, 1945. How can I forget that horrible night, the sky turned bright like daytime and hundreds of B-29s filled our sky reflecting the red flame of the burning houses around us. I will never forget what he replied, Me, too. I said, Dont joke with me, you were the invaders in the sky and we were the victims on the land. I was angry.
But Goldsworthy was not one of the pilots in 1945. He was shot down Dec. 3, 1944, on his third trip to bomb the Nakajima Aircraft Factory outside Tokyo and saw the flames of the 1945 raid from his prison cell. I was almost in tears, said Nasagawa, but the people that had surrounded us to hear the story cheered me up by clapping their hands and saying, God bless you both! Both of you survived the war! I was deeply moved and so glad I had met such wonderful and mature people on my first day in Maui.
Nagasawa told the story to the Tokyo Press and was able to locate the site where Goldsworthy landed with his parachute in Tonosho, Chiba Prefecture. She met Toshio Sugaya, who stopped the villagers from killing the American. A local researcher located Major Teruhiko Kobayashi, the pilot who shot Goldsworthy down.
In 1996, Nagasawa visited the Goldsworthys and invited them to return to Japan for a party. They came to Tonosho in 1997 for a party hosted by the towns, people who raised the funds for it themselves. The people of Tonosho met the Goldsworthys at the airport when they arrived. There was a big dinner and the next day an America and Japan Joint Memorial Service was held near the site of his plane crash to remember his 10 lost crew members and one Japanese air man. Goldsworthy made a speech in Japanese, which he had learned and some Japanese ex-military buglers played Taps.
All in attendance offered flowers to the altar and a white wooden cross was planted by Goldsworthy and Tonosho Mayor Toshio Iwata. On it was inscribed Going in Peace in English and The Tower of Peace in Japanese. The Goldsworthys visited the site of his plane crash and the camp where he was a prisoner. The pilot who shot him down, Major Kobayashi, had been killed in an accident but they visited his widow, Chieko.
Every year since then, Miss Nagasawa has gone to Maui to meet the Goldsworthys who stay there January through March. My first encounter with Mr. Goldsworthy, writes Miss Nagasawa, has developed into a very good friendship.
She often brought Japanese journalists to Maui to interview Goldsworthy.
One group, he wrote me (Adele), wanted me to apologize for the fire raids. I asked them to, instead, apologize for Pearl Harbor. Neither side gave in so we just enjoyed drinking some beer together. Goldsworthy turned 90 last month. Happy 90th, Bob.
Adele Ferguson can be reached at P.O. Box 69, Hansville, WA, 98340.