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Leon Jette and Charles Benedict - Two Young Men Killed in China - WW2

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Sadly, two articles from the same page in The Daily Missoulian on January 6, 1945 addressed two men who likely lost their lives in the same area of China during WW 2.

One of these men, Private Leon Jette, from Missoula, had been captured by the Japanese in the Philippines and was acknowledged as a POW after the fall of Corregidor in 1941. He had enlisted in the Army at Fort Missoula in 1941.  Red Cross information led his family to believe he was imprisoned at one of the infamous Japanese prison camps, near the city of Shenyang - also known as the Hoten - Muckden POW camp in Manchuria. Prisoners there were being used in various facilities as forced labor.

The Missoulian article stated that Leon Jette may have been killed by a recent Allied raid on the city where he was being held:

Parents Given Hope Son May Still Be Prisoner of War

Hope that their son, Private Leon R. Jette, Bataan prisoner since the fall of Corregidor and unofficially reported dead in an intercepted broadcast of an American bombing raid on Mukden, may yet be living, was given Mr. and Mrs. George A. Jette of Orchard Homes in a War department message received January 2.

Following the unofficial broadcast of the Japanese government, intercepted by government monitors, the International Red Cross was instructed to investigate the truth or falsity of the message, the message stated. The facts of the situation as reported to Mr. and Mrs. Jette follow:

“I am referring to the telegram of the eighteenth of February, 1943, from this office in which you were advised that Private Leon R. Jette was a prisoner of war of the Japanese government:

“’An unofficial propaganda broadcast from the Japanese government has been intercepted through the facilities of government monitors in which it is alleged that Private Jette was killed in action at Mukden, Manhukuo.’ This Japanese broadcast further alleged that your son’s death was caused by a recent raid on Mukden.

“An inquiry has been made through the International Red Cross to the Japanese government requesting that an official verification be made regarding the propaganda broadcast.

“Pending receipt of reply the War department does not contemplate changing Private Jette’s status as a prisoner of war. As stated above, the War department is treating the alleged death of your son as unofficial and can not at this time verify, deny nor confirm the report that Private Jette has been killed as a result of an American raid.”

If Private Jette had been killed as a result of an American raid on Mukden in 1944, the bombs may have been dropped from a B-29 flown by Captain Charles E. Benedict, who, with 9 of his crew, was subsequently killed when their plane was hit near Mukden in December, 1944.

Captain Benedict’s home town was listed as Greenough, Montana. Born in Los Angeles in 1921, Captain Benedict was a West Point graduate who had spent a considerable part of his life in the Blackfoot area while growing up.

Benedict Is Missing From Mukden Raid

Orrin Potter, operator of the E Bar L ranch at Greenough on the Blackfoot, has been advised that his nephew, Captain Charles C. Benedict, is missing from a Superfortress air raid over Mukden. Captain Benedict is the son of Mrs. Charles E. Benedict, whose residence is Greenough. He is a graduate of West Point, being commissioned from there in 1943. The young captain is well known here as he spent many of his summers on the E Bar L ranch.

Captain Benedict is profiled in an extensive 6-page memoriam posted by the 468th Bomber Group historical site at the link below:

http://www.468thbombgroup.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=XdRa6JKdvUw%3D&tabid=65&mid=391

The Missoulian made no attempt to link these two articles but they surely recognized that the information contained therein was closely related when they placed them on the same page.

https://www.newspapers.com/image/349164321/

Life at the Mukden POW camp has been well documented and the site has even been commemorated by a museum there. At one point almost 2,000 Allied servicemen were being held at Mukden and were eventually liberated by the Russian army in August of 1945. It is estimated that nearly 300 Allied prisoners perished while held there.

One short synopsis of the Mukden camp has been produced by officials at the U.S. Consulate office in Shengyang, China. Beginning with its inception in 1942, they profiled events at Camp Hoten chronologically, through the camp’s relief in 1945. It states that allied bombs were dropped within the perimeter of the camp on December 7, 1944, killing 19 POW’s and injuring 30 more.

http://www.mansell.com/pow_resources/camplists/china_hk/mukden/mukden_timeline.html

 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 13 February 2018 18:13