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Yamamoto shoot down P-38 handwritten diary


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Picked this rare handwritten diary up recently. This comes from the family of Lt. Jacobson, one of the 16 P-38 pilots that were on the mission to shoot down Yamamoto on April 18, 1943.

 

Rob M.

(Looking for historically interesting diaries)

 

post-109483-0-30743700-1384985119.jpg

 

post-109483-0-03713400-1384985120.jpg

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vintageproductions

Great diary.

I have a large group of misc. items belonging to Rex Barber.

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Great diary.

I have a large group of misc. items belonging to Rex Barber.

Wow! I'd enjoy hearing about what you have.

 

Rob M.

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Killer diary to be sure.

 

I met Rex Barber a couple of times before he died. That mission was amazing in itself that they intercepted Yamamoto exactly on time after that long of a flight.

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To me this could have been written on the day of the mission but I have my doubts. It may have been written late war or even later.

 

The Yamamoto mission was top secret. We learned about Yamamoto's planned flight because we broke the Japanese Naval codes, but we could not tell the world we shot down Yamamoto's plane because the Japanese kept it quiet for a long time. If we had said something then the Japanese Navy would have known their codes were known to us.

 

Wartime diaries were illegal, and I just feel a bit skeptical about a passage specifically naming Yamamoto. That seems like it would be asking for double trouble. We know people did keep diaries, but to specifically record a mission that was hushed makes no sense. That could have adversely affected the outcome of the war if Japan found that out and changed the codes on us.

 

...Kat

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To me this could have been written on the day of the mission but I have my doubts. It may have been written late war or even later.

 

The Yamamoto mission was top secret. We learned about Yamamoto's planned flight because we broke the Japanese Naval codes, but we could not tell the world we shot down Yamamoto's plane because the Japanese kept it quiet for a long time. If we had said something then the Japanese Navy would have known their codes were known to us.

 

Wartime diaries were illegal, and I just feel a bit skeptical about a passage specifically naming Yamamoto. That seems like it would be asking for double trouble. We know people did keep diaries, but to specifically record a mission that was hushed makes no sense. That could have adversely affected the outcome of the war if Japan found that out and changed the codes on us.

 

...Kat

He kept this on a daily basis at the Canal. He lived until 2005 and parts of this diary were used for publications and Jacobson verified that he kept recorded it on the Canal. I collect military diaries and you are correct about the fact soldiers werent supposed to keep them. However, that only held true for front line troops. Those are scarcer than hens teeth but aviators and navy personnel kept them all the time and they are readily available. Also you'll note that he never mentions how they figured out the intercept and that stayed quiet. They rotated a lot of these guys out after this mission to help keep them out of harms way. After Yamamoto's death the military immediately spread the false rumor that they found out an important target had left Rabaul through a coast watcher.

 

Rob M.

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Lamphier, who had originally claimed he shot down Yamamoto, was ranting and bragging about it as soon as he landed back at the Canal. This was a major breach of security, and if I remember correctly, the higher ups gagged him for it.

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That's a great diary! I have some of Barber's WWII mail he sent home, but none have the letters inside. His signature is on them since he self censored them since he was an officer.

 

Kurt

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To me this could have been written on the day of the mission but I have my doubts. It may have been written late war or even later.

 

The Yamamoto mission was top secret. We learned about Yamamoto's planned flight because we broke the Japanese Naval codes, but we could not tell the world we shot down Yamamoto's plane because the Japanese kept it quiet for a long time. If we had said something then the Japanese Navy would have known their codes were known to us.

 

Wartime diaries were illegal, and I just feel a bit skeptical about a passage specifically naming Yamamoto. That seems like it would be asking for double trouble. We know people did keep diaries, but to specifically record a mission that was hushed makes no sense. That could have adversely affected the outcome of the war if Japan found that out and changed the codes on us.

 

...Kat

I have an interesting diary from a 41st division soldier who filled it out in New Guinea while in combat. At a certain point he had it taken away and a special paper label was put in it documenting the confiscation by the censor. It was given back to him once he got back to the states.

 

Kurt

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Lamphier, who had originally claimed he shot down Yamamoto, was ranting and bragging about it as soon as he landed back at the Canal. This was a major breach of security, and if I remember correctly, the higher ups gagged him for it.

You're absolutely correct. Lamphier barked it over the radio before they landed to let everybody know that HE got Yamamoto, which of course was later proved wrong. His connections kept him out of trouble for the most part. Lamphier also kept a diary which is now in a museum.

 

Rob M.

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I have an interesting diary from a 41st division soldier who filled it out in New Guinea while in combat. At a certain point he had it taken away and a special paper label was put in it documenting the confiscation by the censor. It was given back to him once he got back to the states.

 

Kurt

That is VERY cool!

 

Rob M.

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That's a Very Cool Item! Thanks for sharing it.

 

Rob is correct. Finding wartime daily written diaries from U.S. combat airmen is not really that rare. They were allowed to keep them since they were usually based many miles from the front lines. I have numerous diaries from U.S. combat airmen in groupings. Most tend to come from the ETO, but I have a nice one from a PTO USN pilot that kept one on his carrier.

 

JD

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Question - Jacobson's medals I believe were donated by the family to a museum but I might be able to obtain the boxes that they came in. Is that worth trying to get? I didn't really want to spend more money to get them but it would be nice to keep together I suppose. Do they carry any value?

 

Rob M.

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Hi Rob

 

All depends on what kind of boxes they are. Some of the early war boxes like the untitled pearl catch boxes can be worth $150-200.

 

Most Army boxes (DFC/AM/PH/BS) are worth $10-$50 each.

 

I dont think there will be a large premium for the boxes, just because they were Jacobsons boxes unless there are old paper labels on them with his name, presentation dates, ETC.

 

Kurt

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