|Sunk||7 Sep 1944|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
ww2dbaseShinyo Maru was a transport pressed into military service by Japan during the war. On 14 Aug 1944, American intelligence intercepted a Japanese message noting that Shinyo Maru was to unload the rice and cement currently in her holds at Zamboanga, Mindanao and unload the remaining goods at Manila, Luzon, both in the Philippine Islands. As further messages were decoded, the Americans followed Shinyo Maru's footsteps as she sailed in Philippine waters. A message intercepted at 0200 hours on 7 Sep noted that she was to sail with convoy C-076 from Manila with "750 troops" on board.
ww2dbaseIntelligence failure, as later revealed in Dec 1944, led to an unfortunately incident for the Americans: the "750 troops" were in fact 750 American troops, prisoners of war who had been used as forced laborers. They had been in the cargo holds of Shinyo Maru since 20 Aug, and were suffering in the hot and dark holds, given only few opportunities topside.
ww2dbaseAt 1637 hours on 7 Sep, American submarine USS Paddle sighted the convoy off Sindangan Point, Mindanao and fired two torpedoes at Shinyo Maru. "Suddenly there was a terrific explosion immediately followed by a second one", recalled United States Army 1st Lt. John J. Morrett who survived the ordeal. He witnessed broken bodies of Americans and Japanese strewn all across the ship. As the Americans attempted to climb up from the cargo holds, some of the Japanese guards fired at them, adding to the carnage.
ww2dbaseAn intercepted message dated 10 Sep 1944 gave the Americans the confirmation that 150 Japanese Army personnel were killed from this sinking, but at the same time, the sudden influx of American POWs arriving on the beaches of Mindanao and received by local resistance fighters hinted that Shinyo Maru might had been carrying Americans. Lieutenant Commander E. H. Nowell, commanding officer of USS Paddle, later noted that his attack on 7 Sep was "probably the attack in which U.S. POWs were sunk, and swam ashore."
ww2dbaseFurther analysis on the sinking of Shinyo Maru concluded that she was indeed carrying 750 American POWs at the time, and 688 of them perished.
ww2dbaseSource: United States National Archives.
Last Major Revision: May 2010
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