Dale Wilson: Was He a POW of the Japanese?

Out of a crew of six who were shot down off Wewak in B-25 #889 on November 27, 1943, only two were named in the Japanese shortwave broadcasts of March 1944 as POWs.

The broadcasts gave the parents’ names and home addresses of copilot Dale R. Wilson and navigator John R. Stack. This information was not on their ID tags.

Where else would the Japanese have gotten the personal information? Someone suggested that they could have intercepted the messages for the initial MIA telegrams to the families.

telegram (2)
WUX Washington DC 654 PM Dec 3, 1943
To Clabe D Wilson Rte. No 1
Minburn, Iowa
The secretary of war desires me to express his regret that your son, second Lieutenant Dale R. Wilson, has been reported missing in action since twenty-seven November over New Guinea. If further details or other information are received, you will be promptly notified.
Uliotz Adjutant General
Lt. Dale R. Wilson, Minburn, Iowa. Copilot.

But John Stack was married. His MIA telegram was sent to his wife, Lt. Laura Francis Stack, Army Nurse Corps.

A letter from Lt. Stack’s father, filed in his AG 201 (casualty) File, stated that they received four letters from persons widely distributed over our Pacific coast area stating that, while monitoring on a broadcast from Radio Tokyo (1180 megacycles) on March 25th (1944], they heard the announcement made that one John Ralph Stack was rescued from his disabled plane and was held as a prisoner of war by the Japanese Imperial Army. They then announced his mother’s name and address, hence the letters came here instead of to his wife.”

Lt. John R. Stack, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Navigator.

The Japanese could not have gotten that information from any intercepted message. Even thought they were only to reveal their name, rank, and serial number, I believe the only source they could have had for their parents’ names and addresses were from Wilson and Stack themselves.

POW (2)

I did apply for Correction of Military Record, to have the status as POW added to Dale Wilson’s record, but it was denied because none of my evidence was official.

I’ve studied casualty reports, Japanese interrogation reports, and learned how the Japanese brutally mishandled downed airmen in the Southwest Pacific Theater.

A very useful resource, listing extensive sources and notes.

If indeed Dale Wilson and John Stack suffered as POWs of the Japanese, I wish it could be officially recognized.

On the other hand, maybe it would have been better if they’d perished with their plane and rest of the crew on the day they were shot down.


Information from: AG 704 (27 Sep 49) Memorandum for Record, Review of Circumstances Surrounding Disappearance of Personnel Presumed Dead for personnel if the 823rd Bomb Squad, 38th Bomb Group, MIA while in flying pay status, near Wewak, New Guinea, since 27 November 1943, by a radio message from Brisbane to War, dated 1 December 1943, casualty message number 335094-S: For Wieland, Stack, Wilson, Banko, Sharpton, and Woollenweber. Page 3, Number 5.

Top: Lt. John M. Wieland, Lt. John R. Stack, Lt. Dale R. Wilson.

Bottom: Sgt. Stanley W. Banko, Sgt. Willie Ted Sharpton, S/Sgt. Irvin E. Woollenweber.

I’m still in contact with family members of John Stack and Ted Sharpton, but haven’t been able to locate any related to the others. I even corresponded with owners of the home that the Wielands lived in during the war, but the trail was cold by then.





  1. A total horror story for how some of them were treated is documented in the book Flyboys by James Bradley. Especially touching is the piece with former President Bush (Sr).

    I agree, better he died with the plane.

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