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 John Morrison Birch

John Morrison Birch

Birth
India
Death 25 Aug 1945 (aged 27)
China
Burial Non-Cemetery Burial, Specifically: Buried on a hillside overlooking Hsuchow, China
Memorial ID 6360481 · View Source
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Social Reformer. American Baptist Missionary and Chinese Patriot. The "Eyes of the 14th US Air Force." Murdered by Chinese Communists at the end of the war, his name was used by American ultra-conservatives to name their Anti-communist John Birch Society. However, he was not anti-communist, only pro-Chinese and Christian, and anti-Japanese. Born of American missionaries in India, the son of George Snider Birch Jr. and Ethel Mae Ellis, and raised in Macon, Georgia, he became a Baptist priest and requested China as his missionary post. Sent there in late 1939, he quickly became fluent in Chinese, mastering both the spoken and written language. When the US entered the War in December 1941, the Japanese ordered the arrest of all American missionaries in China, and John went underground, adopting Chinese dress and manners. In April 1942, he aided the Doolittle Raiders by leading them out of China, and he requested an assignment to help fight the war. He was sent to General Claire Chennault, Commander of the 14th United States Air Force (the famous Flying Tigers), who made him a lieutenant and had him organize intelligence services and downed pilot rescue services behind Japanese lines. Over 90 percent of the American pilots shot down in China during the war were rescued by Birch's covert group. His organization was so effective that he was quickly promoted to Captain. At war's end, he was ordered to accept the surrender of a Japanese Airfield at Suchow, China. When he arrived, in US military uniform, he discovered it to be in Chinese Communist hands. Taking him prisoner, the Communists executed him. John Birch was buried in a raised mausoleum, on a hillside on the outskirts of Hsuchow, overlooking the city. The site had been selected by 1Lt. Miller, a friend and colleague that had worked with him in China. He was buried next to the body of another 14th Air Force man, Flight Officer Samuel Evans.

Bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Kit and Morgan Benson
  • Added: 21 Apr 2002
  • Find A Grave Memorial 6360481
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for John Morrison Birch (28 May 1918–25 Aug 1945), Find A Grave Memorial no. 6360481, ; Maintained by Find A Grave Non-Cemetery Burial, who reports a Buried on a hillside overlooking Hsuchow, China.