BYOINSEN

(TACHIBANA MARU)

IJN Hospital Ship TACHIBANA MARU:
Tabular Record of Movement


© 2008-2011 Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall.

Revision 1


22 October 1934:
Kobe. Laid down at Mitsubishi Shipbuilding as a 1,772-gross ton passenger ship for Tokiowan Kisen K.K., Tokyo.

22 March 1935:
Launched and named TACHIBANA MARU.

31 May 1935:
Completed. Captain Kitizou Aoki is the Master. Departs Kobe for Tokyo. Arrives at Tobi later that day en route.

1 June 1935:
Arrives at Shimoda then sails on to the Tokyo Bay coastal islands.

3 June 1935:
Departs Tokyo.

4 June 1935:
Arrives Izu-Oshima Island, steams to Shimoda, returns to Izu Oshima and then arrives Tokyo all in the course of a day, setting the pattern for what is a regular service.

June 1935:
Kobe. Drydocked at Mitsubishi.

1935 - 1938:
In Tokiowan Kisen's service carrying passengers to the resort islands of Izu Shoto and Izu Hanto.

27 June 1938:
Requisitioned by the IJN.

29 June 1938:
Registered in the Kure Naval District as a special hospital ship. Surgeon Cdr/S (later Rear Admiral/S) Akira Tamura is posted Medical Director of TACHIBANA MARU effective 26 Jun ’38.

13 July 1938:
Departs Kure.

15 July 1938:
Arrives at Woosung, China.

17 July 1938:
Arrives at Nanking, China. Later steams to Wuhu and Anking.

26 July 1938:
Arrives at Kiukiang.

27 July 1938:
On Lake Poyang (Payang), China. TACHIBANA MARU is attacked by Chinese Air Force Curtiss “Hawk” fighter-bombers and sinks.

September 1938:
The Japanese salvage TACHIBANA MARU.

1938:
TACHIBANA MARU is towed to Shanghai. She undergoes emergency repairs at Konan Zosen shipyard.

3 November 1938:
Arrives at Kure. Thereafter, begins restoration work at Mitsubishi, Kobe.

8 November 1938:
Removed from the Navy List.

2 March 1939:
Restoration work is completed. Recommissioned.

20 March 1939:
Chartered to the Nisshin Kisen K.K. for their Shanghai-Nanking-Hankow route.

December 1939:
At Oshima. Returns to her regular run.

28 August 1942:
Ownership changes to Tokai Kisen K. K.

20 September 1942:
Wake Island. 265 POW civilian employees of Morrison-Knudson construction company, who were captured in 1941, are loaded aboard TACHIBANA MARU bound for Yokohama. 98 other Morrison-Knudson civilians remain at Wake. [1]

30 September 1942:
Arrives at Yokohama.

16 March 1943:
Requisitioned by the Imperial Army. Captain Kishirou Yasuda assumes command.

1943:
Singapore. Drydocked and begins conversion to a hospital ship. Painted white with red crosses as a hospital ship, but used to transport troops and munitions.

7 October 1943:
Registered as an Army hospital ship. Assigned to the IJA’s Third Command. Departs Singapore.

9 October 1943:
The Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as required by the Geneva Convention, notifies the warring countries that TACHIBANA MARU is a designated hospital ship.

27 October 1943:
Arrives at Manila.

30 October 1943:
Departs Manila.

4 November 1943:
Arrives Palau.

6 November 1943:
Departs Palau.

9 November 1943:
Arrives Wewak and departs later that day.

12 November 1943:
Arrives Palau.

14 November 1943:
Departs Palau.

17 November 1943:
Arrives Wewak and departs later that day.

4 December 1943:
Arrives Palau.

7 December 1943:
Departs Palau.

10 December 1943:
Arrives Wewak.

11 December 1943:
Departs Wewak.

14 December 1943:
Arrives Palau.

19 December 1943:
Departs Palau.

25 December 1943:
Arrives Manila.

28 December 1943:
Departs Manila.

31 December 1943:
Arrives Takao.

3 January 1944:
Departs Takao.

4 January 1944:
Arrives at Kirun (Keelung).

6 January 1944:
Departs Kirun.

13 January 1944:
Arrives at Ujina.

8 February 1944:
Departs Moji.

12 February 1944:
Arrives at Mako.

14 February 1944:
Departs Mako.

15 February 1944:
Arrives at Kirun.

19 February 1944:
Departs Kirun.

23 February 1944:
Arrives at Palau.

27 February 1944:
Departs Palau.

1 March 1944:
Arrives at Manila.

4 March 1944:
Departs Manila.

8 March 1944:
Arrives at Palau.

11 March 1944:
Departs Palau.

14 March 1944:
TACHIBANA MARU, en route from Wewak to Palau, is attacked and damaged by bombs from a USAAF B-24 “Liberator” heavy bomber at 02-14S, 142-37E. Later that day arrives at Wewak and departs that same day.

15 March 1944:
Arrives at Hollandia.

18 March 1944:
Departs Hollandia and later that day arrives Palau.

29 March 1944:
Departs Palau.

1 April 1944:
Arrives at Manila.

7 April 1944:
Departs Manila.

9 April 1944:
Arrives Takao.

10 April 1944:
Departs Takao.

11 April 1944:
Arrives at Keelung.

12 April 1944:
Departs Kirun.

15 April 1944:
Arrives at Moji.

21 April 1944:
Japan files a formal protest with the United States concerning the 14 Mar ’44 bombing of TACHIBANA MARU.

6 May 1944:
Departs Ujina.

17 May 1944:
Arrives at Kirun.

18 May 1944:
Departs Kirun.

27 May 1944:
Arrives at Osaka.

28 May 1944:
Departs Osaka.

6 June 1944:
Arrives at Manila.

9 June 1944:
Departs Manila.

15 June 1944:
Arrives at Osaka.

16 June 1944:
Departs Osaka.

20 June 1944:
Arrives at Manila.

27 June 1944:
Departs Manila.

8 July 1944:
Arrives at Osaka.

9 July 1944:
Departs Osaka for Hong Kong.

13 July 1944:
Arrives at Hong Kong.

21 July 1944:
Departs Hong Kong.

2 August 1944:
Arrives at Kobe.

20 August 1944:
Departs Ujina.

24 August 1944:
Arrives at Keelung and departs later that day.

27 August 1944:
Arrives at Manila.

September 1944:
Departs Manila.

September 1944:
Arrives at Osaka.

September 1944:
Departs Osaka.

7 September 1944:
Arrives Halmahera and departs later the same day.

9 September 1944:
Arrives at Menado.

10 September 1944:
Departs Menado.

17 September 1944:
Arrives at Takao and departs later that day.

22 September 1944:
Arrives at Moji.

26 September 1944:
Departs Moji.

29 September 1944:
Arrives at Kirun.

30 September 1944:
Departs Kirun (Keelung).

3 October 1944:
Arrives at Manila.

7 October 1944:
Departs Manila.

9 October 1944:
Arrives at Kirun.

10 October 1944:
Departs Kirun.

13 October 1944:
Arrives at Moji.

19 October 1944:
Departs Moji.

23 October 1944:
Arrives at Takao.

24 October 1944:
Departs Takao.

26 October 1944:
Arrives at Manila.

November 1944:
Vice Admiral John S. McCain Task Force 38’s TG 38.3 planes strike Silanguin Bay, near Subic Bay, PI. TACHIBANA MARU is spared by USN aircraft, but Port Silanguin is not.

(TACHIBANA MARU, below SB2C Helldiver, off Port Silanguin)

5 November 1944:
W of the port of Manila. At about 1600, TACHIBANA MARU is accidentally strafed by USN Grumman aircraft.

6 November 1944:
Departs Manila.

8 November 1944:
Arrives at Takao.

13 November 1944:
Departs Takao.

16 November 1944:
Arrives at Kagoshima.

2 December 1944:
Departs Kagoshima.

7 December 1944:
Arrives at Kirun.

12 December 1944:
Departs Kirun.

December 1944:
Manila. The IJA evacuates its 12th Army Hospital. It is the largest army hospital in the Philippines with over 10,000 inpatients and 2,000 person staff. The hospital then moves about 1,000 walking wounded to the mountainous area of Baguio, about 155 miles N of Manila.

17 December 1944:
Arrives at Manila.

19 December 1944:
TACHIBANA MARU departs Manila probably repatriating those critical patients who can be transported.

22 December 1944:
Arrives at Takao. Probably disembarks patients.

26 December 1944:
Departs Takao.

28 December 1944:
Arrives at Manila.

29 December 1944:
TACHIBANA MARU departs Manila probably repatriating the remaining critical patients who can be transported. She is the last hospital ship to leave the Philippines.

1 January 1945:
Arrives at St. Jacques, Indochina. Probably disembarks some patients.

5 January 1945:
Departs St. Jacques.

9 January 1945:
Arrives at Singapore.

10 January 1945: Departs Singapore. Probably disembarks some patients.

14 January 1945:
Arrives at Belawan, Sumatra.

15 January 1945:
Departs Belawan.

18 January 1945:
Arrives at Singapore and departs later that day.

19 January 1945:
Arrives at Bagan Si Api Api.

25 January 1945:
Arrives Singapore.

26 January 1945:
Departs Singapore for “Iya” (unknown location):

3 February 1945:
Arrives at Jakarta, NEI. Loads ammonium nitrate. Sails on to Ambon, then to Macassar, then Sarmi then Kupang, Bima and Probolingga

21 March 1945:
Arrives at Jakarta and departs later that day.

22 March 1945:
Arrives at Singapore.

26 March 1945:
Arrives at Port Blair.

4 April 1945:
Arrives at Singapore.

5 April 1945:
Departs Singapore.

7 April 1945:
Arrives at Port Blair.

23 April 1945:
Arrives at Singapore and departs later that day.

24 April 1945:
Arrives at St. Jacques.

25 April 1945:
Departs St. Jacques.

30 April 1945:
Arrives at Singapore.

1 May 1945:
Departs Singapore.

3 May 1945:
Arrives at Jakarta and departs later that day.

5 May 1945:
Arrives at Singapore.

6 May 1945:
Departs Singapore.

7 May 1945:
Arrives at Jakarta.

11 May 1945:
Departs Jakarta.

24 May 1945:
Arrives at Singapore.

1 August 1945:
At about 2100, TACHIBANA MARU departs Kai, New Guinea for Surabaya, Java carrying 1,663 patients.

2 August 1945:
At 1100, Captain W. H. Watson, ComDesDiv 102, receives a contact report indicating a Japanese hospital ship is at 05-40S, 129-45E, course 245° (T), speed 10 knots. At 1530, Captain Watson sends LtCdr Gerald P. Joyce’s USS CHARRETTE (DD-581) and LtCdr William Sissons CONNER (DD-582) into the Banda Sea to intercept. At 2040, radar contact is made on TACHIBANA MARU at 35,000 yards.

3 August 1945:
Banda Sea, north of Timor, NEI. At 0637, CHARRETTE signals TACHIBANA MARU to lie to. The Americans observe the Japanese throwing weighted bags over the side. At 0658, a search party in charge boards TACHIBANA MARU. A medical officer with the search party concludes the majority of the "patients" are in good health. At 0750, the search party finds mortar shells packed in boxes marked with red crosses and labeled medical supplies. Marine guards and a prize crew are immediately dispatched to TACHIBANA MARU.

6 August 1945:
At 0925, TACHIBANA MARU, escorted by destroyers CHARRETTE and CONNER, arrived at Morotai. At 1545, TACHIBANA MARU went alongside the Navy Pier, where all POW's were taken into custody by the U.S. Army’s 93rd Division. POW's from CHARRETTE were also transferred to shore.

7 to 12 August 1945:
TACHIBANA MARU is unloaded of approximately 30 tons of ammunition, including 80mm field howitzer shells, knee mortar projectiles, hand grenades, and rifle and machine gun ammunition. About 400 rifles and carbines, 15 light machine guns, 45 knee mortars and four 80 mm field howitzer equipment are also unloaded.

14 August 1945:
Departs Morotai for Manila.

15 August 1945:
Hostilities end.

1945:
TACHIBANA MARU is assigned to the Allied Repatriation Service, but is not used on any repatriation voyages.

15 October 1945:
Arrives off Uraga, probably for refit.

1947:
At Guam.

13 March 1973:
Completes scrapping at Ako.


Authors' Note:
[1] All of the remaining POWs were executed in 1943 by order of the Island CO, Rear Admiral Sakaibara Shigematsu (36)(former XO of CHIKUMA). He was tried, found guilty of war crimes and hanged at Guam in 1947.

Thanks go to John Whitman for info about the 12th Army evacuation and to Bill Somerville about TACHIBANA MARU off Port Silanguin.

- Bob Hackett and Peter Cundall.


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