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    By: Jeffrey Paparoa Holman

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    I wanted to tell my father's story and call it 'The Lost Pilot'. Not that he was a pilot, but the kamikaze trying to kill him off Okinawa in 1945 was, and he missed. He got blown to pieces; my father was able to go on, to have children, to have me. What about the lost pilot, who was he? I want this to find his flesh and blood. Dead man, here is my father's story, a message in a bottle, to you.On 6 April 1945, a Japanese kamikaze pilot breaks cloud at 3,000 feet, near the island of Ishigaki. He plunges his Suisei divebomber into a fatal dive at the Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious. On the signals deck, Chief Petty Officer W. T. Holman sees him coming he has just seconds to live. Intense and accurate fire from the ship blows the plane off course; it crashes into the sea. Its 1,000-pound bomb explodes beside the great ship in the nearest of near-misses. Later in life, Jeffrey Paparoa Holman begins to ask questions: Why did his father live and that pilot die? Who was the pilot and did he have any family who survived him? What was the meaning of such an odds-against moment of war?

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