February 21, 1924 (New York, NY) – July 12, 1945; 21 years old
Last local address: 3 Lakeview Drive, Norwalk
Enlisted on December 2, 1942
Service number O-708948
Unit: 462nd Bomber Group (Very Heavy), 770th Bomber Squadron
Born to Max (1892-1948) and Goldie E. Klein Solomon (1906-1986). Sister Claire H. Solomon MacKenzie (1926-1997). Brother Abraham (1932-1989).
Awarded the Air Medal and the Purple Heart Medal.
Kingston High School (NY) Class of 1941
From The Norwalk Hour January 8, 1945
Mr. and Mrs. Max Solomon of 71 Osborne Avenue received their first letter on December 3 from their son Lieutenant Norman Solomon, who is a bombardier and radarman on a B-29 Superfortress in the 20th Air Force and is stationed somewhere in India. Lieutenant Solomon has been overseas for two months and has seen quite a bit of action. He wrote one of his missions took him on a bombing raid over Mukden, Manchuria (China). They flew rather high and the cold was intense Norman sad. He said he didn’t know if he was scared stiff or frozen stiff. During one of Lieutenant Solomon’s missions, he landed at a base somewhere in China. He said that there were no chop suey or chow men to be had. In fact, says Lt Solomon, “I don’t think they even know what it is.” Instead, Norman and his crew rounded up several ducks and had the Chinese mess boy kill and cook them, Chinese style. The entire crew voted that it was the best duck they had ever eaten, all except Lieutenant Solomon who wrote: “Mom makes the best duck ever.”
From The Norwalk Hour April 3, 1948
LIEUT SOLOMON’S SLAYER TO HANG
Major Nobuo Ito, Who Caused Death of 11 U.S. Fliers, Gets Death Sentence
A Japanese Army Major who caused the death of 11 American fliers, including a Norwalk officer, has been sentenced to death by hanging, the Associated Press said today. Lieutenant Norman Solomon, son of Mr. and Mrs. Max Solomon of 71 Osborne Avenue, was the local flier. A U.S. Eight Army commission convicted Major Nobuo Ito of prosecuting the fliers in a wartime trial and then personally arranging their execution. Three other Japanese members of the court which tried the Americans, were sentenced to terms ranging up to 20 years. A Korean who interpreted the proceedings at the trial of the Americans, testified before the Eight Army commission that he was told by Ito how to record the testimony of the fliers. Thus, the airmen were represented as admitting indiscriminate bombing, the AP reported. Lieutenant Solomon was reported missing in Action May 14, 1945. The War Department’s record showed he was a crew member aboard a B-29 aircraft which on that day departed Tinian Island on a daylight light bombing mission to Nagoya, Japan. Before arriving at the target, the ship was damaged by an enemy fighter plane. A total of nine parachutes were observed leaving the plane. The bombers crashed in Iseno Bay, south of Nagoyu, Honshu Island, Japan. Later, the War Department learned that one member of the crew was killed as a result of an air raid on May 26, 1945 over Tokyo, while he was a prisoner of war. Two other members, also prisoners, returned to military control but had no information regarding Lieutenant Solomon. The War Department in May 1946, notified the Solomons that in view of 12 months expiring without receipt of evidence to support the continued presumption of survival, the department “must terminate such absence by a presumptive finding of death.”
From findagrave.com: B-29 #44-69966 took off from Tinian Island along with other B-29’s on a bombing mission over Nagoya, Japan. Before arriving at their target, they were attacked by a Japanese fighter which disabled their #3 engine. Multiple parachutes were seen to leave the B-29 and 10 of them became POWs of the Japanese. The B-29 was seen to crash into the Iseno Bay, Japan on May 14, 1945.
Out of a crew of eleven, ten survived the crash and were imprisoned at the Ofuna Camp near Yokohama. Six of them were executed on July 12, 1945. Two died while a POW (Gentry & Reynolds), one was declared missing (Labadie) and two survived the war (Orr & Miller).
Airmen who became missing from B-29 #44-69966:
Labadie, Paul; Cpl; Right Gunner; St. Clair Shores, MI
Airmen who were executed while POWs from B-29 #44-69966 on July 12, 1945:
Howell, Evan L.; Cpl; CFC; Perry, IN
Johnson, Jerry W.; Cpl; Radio Operator; Birmingham, AL
Manson, Carl H, Jr.; Cpl; Left Gunner; Ann Arbor; MI
Prichard, Benjamin W.; Cpl; Radar Operator; Harrisonburg, VA
Sherman, Dean H.; 1st Lt, Pilot; Lewiston, MT
Solomon, Norman; 2nd Lt; Bombardier; Norwalk, CT
Airmen who died while POWs from B-29 #44-69966:
Gentry, Edward R.; Cpl; Tail Gunner; Tennessee
Reynolds, Theodore C.; 2nd Lt; Co-Pilot; Plainfield, NH
Airmen who became POWs from B-29 #44-69966 and survived the war:
Orr, Robert C.; 2nd Lt; Navigator; Berkeley, CA (1920-2004)
Miller, Lloyd C.; TSG; Engineer; Missouri (1916-1970)
Buried at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, Lemay, Missouri, Section 82, Site 1E. The reason he is named on a group headstone is because when soldiers were killed in close proximity to each other they were unable, at that time, to identify them separately and interred their remains together in one grave. He was originally interred overseas and was later repatriated on November 21, 1949.
Jefferson-Barracks National Cemetery, 2900 Sheridan Rd, Saint Louis, MO; Section 82, Site 1E. Picture provided by Tara Lynn Rogers-Miller, Cemetery Representative via e-mail January 3, 2020.