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Richard Hill, friend and ally, commemorated

By  Liao Danlin (Global Times)

09:01, July 26, 2012

Opening ceremony

Jianchuan museum exhibits war pieces collected by former US major

For young people who often learn about wars from blockbusters, there is another place to gain a history lesson. On July 20, an opening ceremony for a special exhibition section was held at the Jianchuan Museum Cluster (JCMC) in Chengdu, Sichuan Province. The section was dedicated to the 171 pieces of historical articles left by former US Major Richard V. Hill, who passed away in 1992.

Hill was a legend in China during the late 1930s and early 1940s. The donation includes valuable historical items such as fragments of bombs and chopsticks made from remnants of a destroyed airplane.

These items followed Hill from China to the US and remained there for half a century, before circling back.

Hill's history

Hill might not have foreseen forging such a strong connection with China when he first arrived in Shanghai in 1932 as an auditor from a private US company.

Five years later, he began his first "military" experience as a member of Shanghai Volunteer Corps, a group originally founded by foreigners to defend the Shanghai International Settlement, when the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression (1937-45) started.

After returning to the US in 1941, Hill remained concerned about the Chinese people struggling in the war. He gave speeches about the brutality of the Japanese army, showing footage that he shot in China. But this did not gain much attention at the time.

In 1942, Hill joined the army and became a member of the Counter Intelligence Corps.

Two years later, Hill went back to China as a second lieutenant on a mission to rescue US pilots from damaged airplanes.

The majority of exhibited items were collected during these 18 months. According to the museum, Hill and his colleagues saved 46 American pilots during that period.

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