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One-of-a-Kind WWII Collection

Master Sgt. Bob Kennedy handwrote a caption for this photo: ''Gen. [Tomoyuki] Yamashita being taken to his first hearing in Manila, shortly after his surrender at Baguio, P.I., where I saw him – Manila, P.I. – 1945.'' Known as ''The Tiger of Malaya,'' Yamashita was later tried for war crimes by an American military tribunal and sentenced to death.

In early 1945, Master Sgt. Robert J. (Bob) Kennedy was in an area south of Manila awaiting reassignment after his unit was nearly wiped out in the retaking of Philippines. Luckily, Mr. Kennedy’s typing and shorthand skills were to play a hand in his destiny.

Mr. Kennedy was assigned to Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s staff to take notes and type. He witnessed several moments in history that August: the Japanese delegation’s arrival after the bombing of Hiroshima to discuss peace terms, the surrender of the military after Nagasaki and the appointment of MacArthur as Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers in the East. He helped set up MacArthur’s headquarters in Tokyo in September.

Mr. Kennedy recently donated his Army mementos to the Indiana Historical Society. Included is a scrapbook containing personal photographs, copies of orders and other printed materials he collected while in New Guinea, the Philippines and Japan. The photographs are images he took of the arrival of the Japanese peace delegation and of the devastation in both Manila and Tokyo. Also included is one of the swords surrendered by the Japanese delegation on Aug. 14. “MacA,” which is what Mr. Kennedy called MacArthur, personally gave him the sword as a souvenir. The collection will be processed and available to the public in late 2009.