Is this really Gen. Yamashita’s pistol?
This is a presentation from the Gen. MacArthur Memorial Dec. 2022 Newsletter.
Mr. Hans Hoeflein of Easton, PA, recently donated a Japanese Nambu pistol that belonged to MacArthur’s top World War II secret agent in the Philippines, Commander Charles “Chick” Parsons (pictured). Hoeflein grew up in wartime Manila, Philippines, and after the war became good friends with Commander Parsons’ son, Michael. After the war, “Chick” was in the process of rebuilding his company in the Philppines, Luzon Stevedoring, from the ashes of World War II. As the story goes, one day in 1948, “Chick” walked in with a Japanese sword and pistol; souvenirs from the war. He asked Michael and Hans to pick one. Hans chose the pistol. Commander Parsons told the young Hoeflein it had belonged to the Japanese General, Tomoyuki Yamashita.
There is no provenance that the pistol belonged to Yamashita, but Parsons was known to have helped many of the incarcerated Japanese in the Philippines after the war as they would later become business contacts for Luzon Stevedoring. Was it really Yamashita’s pistol? We have the serial numbers – so now the investigation begins.
Hans Hoeflein’s experience in Manila during World War II is featured in Manila Memories: Four Boys Remember Their Lives Before, During and After the Japanese Occupation.