Last Writing of Second Lieutenant Masayuki Tatara
On May 20, 1945, Second Lieutenant Masayuki Tatara took
off from Chiran Air Base and died in a special (suicide) attack west of
Okinawa at the age of 21. He was a member of the 50th Shinbu Special
Attack Squadron and piloted an Army Hayabusa Type 1 Fighter (Allied
code name of Oscar). After his death in a special attack, he received a promotion to
Hiroshima Prefecture and was a member of the 1st
Class of the Army Special Cadet Officer Pilot Training (Tokubetsu Sōjū Minarai
He wrote the following two factual notes on the day before and the day of his
May 19, 1945
I will take off at 1550 as a member of the 8th General Attack 5th Attack
Unit (50th Shinbu Flying Squadron).
I will make a sortie with an order to make a hitchin (certain sinking)
attack against the fleet off the east coast of Okinawa at Nakagusuku
The planned time of arrival at the target area is after 1830.
Due to poor weather it has been postponed for one day.
Written at 0943
May 20, 1945
With orders received for an independent attack of the 50th Shinbu Flying
Squadron (Yamabuki Squadron), there will be six planes led by
the squadron commander and six planes led by me as the second squadron
commander. We will take off at 1610 on May 20 and will crash dive at
Nakagusuku Bay in the southern part of Okinawa between 1830 and 1930.
Written at 1336
Army Special Attack Corps 50th Shinbu Squadron member
Second Lieutenant Tatara
On May 20, 1945, one of the 50th Shinbu Squadron Hayabusa Type 1
Fighters hit the American ship LST (landing ship, tank) 808, but only five men
were on board when the plane hit. More details are found in the story
Tatara's last writing translated by Bill Gordon
Tatara's last writing come from Yasukuni Jinja (2001, 81-2). The biographical
information in the first paragraph comes from Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō Kai (2005,
201), Osuo (2005,
197), and Yasukuni Jinja (2001, 81).
Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō Kai (Chiran Special Attack
Memorial Society), ed. 2005. Konpaku no kiroku: Kyū rikugun tokubetsu
kōgekitai chiran kichi (Record of departed spirits: Former Army Special
Attack Corps Chiran Base). Revised edition, originally published in 2004. Chiran Town, Kagoshima
Prefecture: Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō Kai.
Osuo, Kazuhiko. 2005. Tokubetsu kōgekitai no kiroku (rikugun hen)
(Record of special attack corps (Army)). Tōkyō: Kōjinsha.
Yasukuni Jinja, ed. 2001. Eirei
no koto no ha (7) (Words of the spirits of war heroes, Volume 7).
Tōkyō: Yasukuni Jinja Shamusho.