Saturday, August 6 1921: Takijiro Onishi participated in the Semmill Mission

1921 (Taisho 10) Saturday, August 6 Takijiro Onishi (later Vice Admiral) returned from his study abroad in Europe and participated in the Semmill Mission. Onishi was a captain of the navy at the age of 30.

The Sempill Mission is formed by Royal Air Force. It is a 19th Lord Sempill (the official name is William Forbes-Sempill) training mission to teach aviation engineering to the Imperial Japanese Navy. In April 1918, towards the end of World War I, the United Kingdom established the world’s first independent Royal Air Force, or RAF. It was created by fusing the Army Air Corps and the Navy Air Corps. It was because it became obvious that the air force was decisive in the actual war in the First World War. RAF is established by the movement of “Father of the British Air Force,” Hugh Trenchard, who later became the Air Marshal.

In 1919, the Japanese Army Air Corps invited a French aviation education team to Japan for technical guidance. And the Navy was a little late. At the time it was an ally of Japan, so we called the mission from England, and this was the Sempill Education Corps. The Royal Air Force was also very friendly, and a total of 29 members of the training team taught the Navy’s aviation skills to the Japanese Navy for 18 months from September 1921.

It is located at the newly built Kasumigaura Navy Airfield. About 100 airplanes were brought in from Britain, both modern and diverse. The Japanese Navy, which was going to take lessons, organized a temporary Navy Aviation Training Department. Major General Yuiji Tajiri was selected as the director, and many other excellent naval officers were selected, including Takijiro Onishi, who was a Navy Captain at that time.

Takijiro Onishi was later involved in the planning of Pearl Harbor under the command of General Isoroku Yamamoto, and was also involved in the creation of the Kamikaze Tokkotai. In May 1945, just before the end of the war, he was appointed Deputy Chief of the Naval General Staff, and on August 16, the day after the broadcast of the Emperor’s address on August 15, he committed suicide by disembowelment. Just before Onishi’s death, KODAMA Yoshio, who was on the spot and became a fixer after the war, admonished Kodama, “You fool, there is no point in the death of a young man like you. Young people should live. I want you to live to create a new Japan.” when Kodama tried to commit suicide following him.

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