9 Responses to “Heroic and Critical Battles in Yunnan During WWII”

  1. Al Young says:

    Don Tow and friends,

    What a refreshing website!!! One of the more readable history of the Battle of Songshan (or Sungshan). My father, Col. John C. Young, then a major, was there in 1944 (served in CBI from 1942 to 1945). I even have a 1946 comic book depicting that battle where his junior officer, Capt. Peter S. Hopkins was given credit for the victory.

    My uncle, Ming Young, made the supreme sacrifice, leaving his birthplace, San Jose, California, he volunteered to train Chinese fighter pilots in 1936. While on a reconnaissance mission to scout for potential airfield locations in bad weather, he crashed into a mountainside “somewhere in China.” Although an American volunteer, he attained the rank of colonel before his death in 1939.

    I also have a letter from my father’s interpreter (even though my father was fluent in Cantonese, he often needed help with village dialects) who describes the battle in a letter he sent to my mother when he reached Stateside (my father didn’t rotate back to the states until the later part of 1945).

    If you are interested in any additional materials and photos, let me know. You all are to be commended for keeping this history alive.


    Al Young
    son of the late: Col. John C. Young, and nephew of George Ming Young.

  2. Cam Fahlman says:

    Hi, Don. What a great piece of writing. Thoroughly enjoyed your descriptions of where we went and whom we met as well as your analysis of history.

  3. Jack A says:


    I have recently been watching a Chinese soap opera, with sub-titles, named Snow Leopard. The story depicts the era you so remarkably described and having a love of history I wanted to learn more about China’s involvement in WW II.

    As you described, there seemed to be so many elements involved, the Bandits, the KMT, the Communists, the cruelty of the Japanese and, of course, the aid they received from the locals. The Chinese writers and producers of the above mentioned, Snow Leopard, involved peoples’ lives during that horrible time and didn’t make the story sloppy or emotional, as USA television tends to do when they depict similar stories.

    I just wanted to complement you on a terrific story.

    Jack A

  4. Barbara McMurrey Hyde says:

    Dear Don,
    I found your website when googling William C. McMurrey China. It was the first time I had added China to his name. On the monument where you attended the dedication, I had the honor of writing the short inscription on the plaque. The National Memories from China exhibit has just concluded in Washington DC, where our McMurrey family was honored. I believe you live in San Francisco and with luck the exhibit will be there next year. If you are interested, I can forward. Thank you for your website. Barbara McMurrey Hyde

  5. My (wife’s) aunt, with whom we were very close before her passing served for 3-4 years in Baoshan at the 21st Medical Field hospital as a surgical nurse Amry Officer. We still have her daily diaries that she kept for the entire tour in Baoshan and many photographs that parallel the diary accounts.
    I also studied Mandarin at Yale University, and now retired, want to visit those sites in southwestern China and retrace her steps. The stories and diary journaling was so vivid and when reading, you can feel as though you are there.
    I am now and author of Chinese American novels.

    Gordon Mathieson, USAF

  6. Rod Szasz says:

    Interesting blog…. not much has been written about the warfare on this front. I am currently working with Japanese and Chinese sources to provide the first narrative going into the battle of Songshan (Ramou to the Japanese) in English.. unfortunately most of what has been written in English has large factual errors or has been skewed for relying too much on Chinese sources which try to pla. There is a lot that needs to be parsed out from Japanese and Chinese sources. There is nothing really of note in English about the front at this time… Rana Mitter of Oxford has one of the best books on the war…

    I am writing a series of articles of the Chinese crossing of the Salween in May 1944 and the battle at Songshan. They are under the name “Ramou” which is the name the Japanese have given for this battle.

    If you know of any other sources I would be very much interested.


  7. Admiring the time and effort you put into your site
    and in depth information you present. It’s nice to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same outdated rehashed information. Fantastic read!
    I’ve bookmarked your site and I’m adding your RSS feeds to my Google account.

  8. Ian Chin says:

    Thanks so much for this!

    My grandfather Y.Y. Wong was injured during the May 4th bombing of Baoshan and killed while hospitalized during a subsequent bombing raid.

    He was an MIT-educated architect from Guangzhou and Hong Kong who was in Yunnan at the time helping the Chinese government to construct airstrips and other military installations.


  9. Don says:

    Ian Chin,

    Thank you so much for your comments. I want to express my sincere appreciation for your grandfather’s contributions to the rebuilding of China during the difficult years of the first half of the 20th century, and for his ultimate sacrifice from Japan’s bombing in Yunnan.

    Your grandfather Y.Y. Wong and my father King Tow might have known each other since they were both students at MIT and lived in the Boston/Cambridge area, although your grandfather was a few years earlier than my father. My father was in Civil Engineering and graduated from MIT in 1930. Their paths might also have crossed while they were working in China, since your grandfather was an architect and my father was a civil engineer.

    Don Tow

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