Chinese historians and researchers have identified more than 900 aviation martyrs who died in China during World War II, including 404 American pilots.
"The names of the martyrs were discovered during the information collection process ahead of the establishment of a memorial hall for the deceased aviators," said Wang Jian, vice president of the Nanjing Aviation Association, which is based in the eastern province of Jiangsu.
"These include 404 Americans and more than 500 Chinese," Wang said. "Their identities have been verified by Chinese and American experts."
On Aug. 1, 1941, the American Volunteer Group, which later came to be known as the Flying Tigers, was formed under the leadership of U.S. Gen. Claire Lee Chennault to help China drive out invading Japanese troops.
In August 1995, to commemorate the heroes, China built the Monument to the Aviator Martyrs in the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression in Nanjing. The names of more than 3,000 martyrs, including 870 Chinese, 2,186 Americans and 236 soldiers of the former Soviet Union, were inscribed on the monument in Chinese, English and Russian.
Wang said the newly-discovered names were expected to be added to the inscription next year.
According to government plans, construction on the memorial hall will start in Nanjing in April, 2008.
(Xinhua News Agency December 30, 2007)