Hi all. I am a graduate researcher looking into some MIA American Soldiers who went down in March 1945 near a small village called the Walnut Forest. I have coordinates for a possible burial site. I am hoping to find someone who speaks English in that area that may be able to help me do some investigating.
In Yunnan there are many places with the same name. There for you need the district or nearest town name as well.
Can you provide the coordinates?
Sure. These are the coordinates 25°26’30” N 98°42’30 E. At these coordinates is where the crash would have taken place, and the burial would have happened very close to that.
I was also trying to contact the Kunming Flying Tigers Museum, but the email they have listed on their website seems to be incorrect if anyone has any idea on how I might get in touch them as well.
Have you confirmed the Chinese spelling for the village name?
In mountainous parts of Yunnan, walnut is a main cash crop and the label on the map may reflect that resource, rather than the actual village name.
There is a 村庄 (Cunzhuang, "hamlet") nearby your coordinates called 核桃林/Hetaolin. I am not sure if Cunzhuang is an official administrative division in China or not. In any case, it appears to be a part of Jietou Village, Tengchong County, Baoshan Prefecture 保山市腾冲市界头乡. Unfortunately, it's in a relatively remote part of Yunnan and there are additional travel restrictions in place these days in many areas near the Myanmar border (the coordinates you gave are about 30km from the border; I don't know if it's accessible by foreigners or not currently.)
OK those coordinates take us to a place north east of Tengchong near Jeitou (A small market town serving the surrounding area on the dead end road ((S238)) going north of Tengchong).
It looks like we are talking about an American Aircrew flying the Hump and they crashed into the Gaoligongshan Mountains.
Just some 400 metres east of Hétáo lín (核桃林 = Walnut Forest) there is another hamlet of which I don’t know the name (Might as well be called Hétáo lín) and next to that there is a very large cemetery. This place is some 350 metres northwest from your coordinates. This might indeed be the place where they were buried.
Actually a cemetery like this is very unusual. Normally people are buried all over the place on a slope on a spot decided by Feng Shui. This cemetery might be from a local tribe with different habits then common in China.
Personally I find it unlikely that you still will find a marked grave there; after the “New China” was established it was not done to look after these graves and in general people don’t look after graves of strangers.
Finding anybody in that area that speaks English is unlikely but there should be some English speakers in Tengchong.
The Flying Tiger Museum does not have a curator or anybody speaking English. The exhibition was made years ago and nothing has ever changed since.
Diego Kusak, whose father Steve Kusak was a Hump flyer is probably the most knowledgably English speaking person on this matter. I however lost contact with him and his website links are now all dead.
Maybe you can find him.
See as well: cnac.org/
3. The most knowledgably person on things like this is the Yunnan Historian Ge Shuya. His blog is blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_4d9e1cca0100qgos.html
He does not speak English however.
For more on this see the website
Wow, thank you so very much for this detailed post. Knowledge of this cemetery is so interesting and my eventual prove useful. All we know is that there were three people on the supply flight, all of whom died during the crash. One was supposedly repatriated and reburied in a military graveyard in Hawaii while the other two (as far as we know), we buried near the crash site.
I really really appreciate all this info, and some more leads for me to track down. I reached out to a Chinese professor who does a lot of forestry research in that area, a man named Donald Bishop who authored this page china.usembassy-china.org.cn/[...] ; and have been considering contacting this group called "The Nature Conservancy" that seems to have an office in Kunming www.nature.org/[...] .
I also happen to work at a library and have been getting some help from a librarian who speaks/reads/writes Mandarin/Chinese. Maybe she could help me contact Ge Shuya.
I will work on trying to track down Diego Kusak and contacting Ge Shuya to start.
Again I really really appreciate this detailed response. I have lots of new information to work with!