To the Chinese these Americans were Heroes

It is ironic that in the 1940s we were fighting with the Chinese against the Japanese. Then in 1950, China and the US fought against each other in North Korea and Chinese advisers were sent to assist North Vietnam to fight the US in the 1960s.

Then, after Nixon arrived in China in the 1970s, we were friends again—sort of.

In February 2010, I had an instant message chat with Ian Carter, an Australian expatriate living in Southeast China, and learned from him that during World War II in 1944 an American B-24 Liberator bomber vanished without a trace in Southeast China.

Fifty-two years later in 1996, farmers discovered the bomber’s wreck and the remains of the ten-man crew on Mao’er Shan (Little Cat Mountain), Southern China’s highest peak . The name of the B-24 bomber was Tough Titi.

These Americans are considered heroes—click link to learn more about this story—to the Chinese, and the remains of the crew were returned to the United States for burial.

There’s a memorial stone near the crash site and Chinese tourists pay honor to these Americans by leaving flowers and other gifts.

To honor these heroes further, the Chinese recovered some of the bomber’s parts and used them as a centerpiece for a museum in Xing’an, about four hours from the crash site.


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the lusty love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

IMAGE with Blurbs and Awards to use on Twitter

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9 Responses to To the Chinese these Americans were Heroes

  1. Funny how often we’ve changed sides and we aren’t even embarrassed. You’d think it would at least make someone in the State Department blush.

  2. Behind the Story says:

    This is a touching story. I’m grateful to the people who put this short documentary together. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  3. zottymim says:

    I just want to say thank you for sharing these stories and your life with the world. I have always held a great fascination with China and it’s people. I really enjoy reading your posts and also love your wife’s books. My dream is to someday travel to China. But, until then, I will continue to enjoy your posts thru your blog. I mostly like the one’s on China’s history. Can you recommend any books that will educate me on the history of China?

    Sent from my Sprint phone.

  4. James F Wilson Jr says:

    Mr. Lofthouse,For another hero to the Chinese look up the story of General Frederick Townsend Ward era 1850s.There is a black marble stone honoring him in China. He was made a Mandarin Second Class by the Chinese government.Check The American Legion China post One for more………Dirty Jim

    • Thank you for mentioning Ward.

      Have you read “The Devil Solider” by Caleb Carr? Sterling Seagrave also mentions Ward on a few pages in his book “Dragon Lady”. In addition, Ward appears in Robert Hart’s journals several times starting on page 247—in “Entering China’s Service: Robert Hart’s Journals, 1854-1863”

      Here’s most of the review in Publishers Weekly of “The Devil Solider”:

      With Yankee self-reliance, penniless soldier-of-fortune Frederick Townsend Ward (1831-1862) from Salem, Mass., made himself indispensable to China’s Manchu dynasty in its bloody crushing of the Taiping rebellion of 1859. Assembling and commanding a highly disciplined army of native Chinese soldiers in Shanghai, Ward was officially made a mandarin by China’s rulers. “In every sense a free-lance”–a questioner of authority, military doctrine and even of national loyalty–he became a Chinese citizen and in 1862 married Yang Chang-mei, daughter of his most loyal backer. He died in battle the same year; his wife survived him by just one year, apparently dying of “extreme grief.’

      Ward appears in my novel “My Splendid Concubine”.

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