Watari Handa

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Watari Handa
Watari Handa.jpg
Born August 22, 1911
Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan
Died 1948
Allegiance Japan
Service/branch Naval Ensign of Japan.svg Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service (IJN)
Years of service 1928-1942
Rank Lieutenant Junior Grade
Battles/wars Second Sino-Japanese War
Pacific War
In this Japanese name, the family name is "Handa".

Watari Handa (半田 亘理 Handa Watari?) (August 22, 1911 - 1948) was an officer and ace fighter pilot in the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) during the Second Sino-Japanese War and the Pacific theater of World War II. In aerial combat over China and the Pacific, he was officially credited with having destroyed 13 enemy aircraft.

On 13 May 1942, as a member of the Tainan Air Group based at Lae, New Guinea, Handa asked fellow Tainan ace Saburō Sakai to lend him his wingman, Toshiaki Honda, for a reconnaissance mission over Port Moresby. During the mission, the Japanese pilots were ambushed by enemy P-39 fighters and Honda was shot down and killed. Broken in spirit by Honda's death, Handa soon developed tuberculosis and was evacuated to Japan. After fighting the disease for six years, Handa died in 1948, telling his wife on his deathbed, "I have fought bravely all my life, but I could never forgive myself for having lost Sakai's wingman at Lae."

References[edit]

  • Hata, Ikuhiko; Yasuho Izawa, Don Cyril Gorham (translator) (1975 (original) 1989 (translation)). Japanese Naval Aces and Fighter Units in World War II. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 0-87021-315-6. 
  • Sakaida, Henry (2002). Aces of the Rising Sun, 1937–1945. Great Britain: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1-84176-618-6.