Defenders of the Philippines

picture of captivity and picture of release form captivity

Roy McCotter


 

Roy McCotter Picture as POWRoy McCotter was born Sept.  10, 1916.  He enlisted in the U.S. Navy some time in 1932 and worked as a Radioman.  He was stationed at the Naval High Power Radio Station  on  Sangley Point, Cavite, PI on Dec. 7, 1941, serving as a Radio Electrician.

 

From Roy's handwritten notes about his experience in World War II:

 

On or about the thirteenth of December I went to Manila with a truck load of radio spare parts and unloaded them in a tobacco warehouse that had been acquired by the navy for storage space.  After reporting in to Mr. Schweizer at the R.C.A. communication office in Manila.  I with another radioman first class was assigned to the USSAFFE signal corps, but remained under the command of Mr. Schweizer.  We were assigned by USSAFFE to the task of setting up two Navy type transmitters in a tunnel at Fort McKinley.  Before the project was finished, however, Manila had become untenable for the Americans so the order was given to leave.  On the morning of Dec. 25, 1941 I with others of communication personnel from Sangley Point left Manila and arrived at the Naval Section Base, Cmmdr. Harrington, Mariveles that same afternoon.  After spending a few days standing security guard watches at the section base main gate I went to work for Lt. Schoenwolf, USNR installing a communication office in the tunnel commanded by a Lt. Commander King of the U.S.S. Canopus.  After completion of this installation I installed a system of army field fones and Navy sound powered fones linking the tunnels and several lookout and machine gun position, Commander E,W, Hastubgs, As this system was bombed out every day I stayed on this job until the nite of March 8.

Sometime before March Lt. Schoenwolf was ordered to the Navy Receiver Tunnel on Monkey Point Corregidor.

 

On Corregidor I reported to Lt. Schoenwolf at the Naval Communications Receiver Tunnel.  While here with two other radiomen, I was employed in running supplies between the comm tunnel and Malinta tunnel and other points on the other end of Corregidor.  A few days before the surrender of Corregidor I was transferred to the Fourth Battalion Fourth Marines, Major William U.S. MC C.O. and Paul Moore Capt, Q (?) as a squad Leader.  After surrender I was taken by the Japanese to Bilibid Prison then to  Cabanatuan Camp Three, May 16, 1942.  From Camp Three on Oct. 31, 1942 I was transferred to Cabanatuan Camp Two.  On the 6 March 44 with two hundred and and ninety three other men and seven officers, Maj. Arthur G. Christensen , 31st Infantry U.S.A. in charge.  I was taken to Bilibid prison.  After a wait there of eighteen days was put on board the Taikoku Maru as one of the draft of three hundred prisoners of war.  This ship made a stop in Tacao Formosa of 7 days, March 27-April 2.  On the 11 April 1944 arrived in Tokyo Disp.12 (Motoyama) camp and put to work in a copper mine.  Three months later I was transferred to Mitsushima to Tokyo Dispatch Camp 2.  On Sept. 4, 1945 I was taken with all other members of this P.O.W. camp to the seacoast and turned over to the U.S. Navy.  The U.S. Navy took me to Tokyo and gave me transportation  to Oakland, Cliafornia by NATS.  In Oakland I was placed in Oak Knoll Navy Hospital."

 

 

After the war Roy Mccotter became a commissioned officer upon his release from prison.  He retired in 1957 as a Lieutenant Commander and passed away in 1990.  He earned the Silver Star and Bronze Star among other medals.

Quan Cover Book Roy Mccotter

 

Roy McCotter's "Quan" log he kept (front cover at right) explains meaning of Quan

 

Roy McCotter "Lecture Notes" Diary after he arrived in Japan

 

Typed Lecture Notebooks of Roy Mccotter (begin below)

 

Hostilities started December 8, 1941.  Cavite bombed December 10, 1941.  Canecao bombed December 13, 1941.  Left Manila, arrived Mariveles December 25, 1941.  Bataan fell, arrived Corregidor April 9, 1942.  Corregidor surrenders May 6, at 1200.  Left Corregidor, arrived Manila May 24, 1942.  Left Manila, arrived camp #3, Cabanatuan May 26, 1942.  Left Camp #3, arrived Camp #1 Cabanatuan, October 31, 1942.   Left camp #1 arrived Manila Bilibid prison March 6, 1944.  Left Bilibid March 24, 1944 (0730).  Arrived Tacao (?) Formosa 1800, March 27, 1944.  Left Formosa April 2, 1944, 1045.  Arrived Osaka April 9, 1944.  Left Osaka April 10, 1944, 0950-1600. Arrived Tokyo 0533, April 11, 1944.  Arrived 12th Despatch (sic) Camp, Tokyo area April 11, 1944 (1400) (Motoyama).

 

February 10, 1944

Examined by Japanese for physical fitness, for outgoing work detail. 306 accepted out of 1300.

 

March 4

After three examinations for dysentery, malaria, draft of 300 men (8 officers, one doctor) two hospital corpsmen, 230 coolies, was issued clothing.  Navy blues for coolies, Japanese O.D. for officers, 1 suit Philippine Army Dungarees, 1 suit Japanese army scivvies, 1 suit shorts and shirt, 1 p.c. helmet, 1 first aid pack.

 

March 6

Left camp about 0400.  Fifty men and gear to truck rode in extreme discomfort to Cabanatuan RR depot.  Carried rice, camote, fish cake, rice flour cake in mess kit.  Shoved off from Cabanatuan about 0600, 100 men to a small box car, had scarcely room to sit down.  The obnoxious sentries in charge.   Arrived in Manila in afternoon, marched through streets in Bilibid.  Much change in Manila.

 

March 6-March 24

Starving slowly in Bilibid.  Sleeping on concrete deck on U.S. mail pouch.  Receive small ration of rice in morning—3 or 4 spoonfuls of cooked ground corn for noon or 2 or 3 small partially rotten camotes.  Same for evening with an occasional piece of fish; food conditions bad here.  If it were not for R.C. canned foods saved up would have very hard time making out.  Received package from home.  USELESS.  Nothing in it to eat.  Everybody here speaks constantly of food.  Dream about it at night.  March 24-07:30; underway for dock.  Marched up Quezon Blvd., over Quezon bridge to dock.  Went aboard Taikoku Maru into #2 hold.  300 men in space about 60’ x 80’.  Underway about 1300.

 

March 24-March 27

Getting more to eat than we have had for many weeks.  Had our first taste of potatoes and carrots since our capture.  Only a taste, tho.  27th-1800, dropped back in Tacao, Formosa.  Harbor full of shipping.  27 ships and tankers in sight.

 

April 1

Ship tied up alongside loaded with J.N.L.P. landing barges.  No more troopers in sight.

 

April 2

1045-underway north.  Getting very cold.  Sea heavy.  Rice is cooked on deck on jury rigged stoves made of oil drums.  Sometimes only one meal a day due to decks being awash.

 

April 8

Dropped hook at 1550 in harbor between Moji and Shimonosaki. Discharged part of seaman guard.  Underway at 1615.

 

April 9

Osaka.  First line over at 1809.  Won three quarts Buchanan’s Scotch on anchor pool.  One each from Dobler, Evans, Hall.  Got all packed up to go ashore but had to stay aboard one more nite.

 

April 10

Left ship at 0750.  Marched through streets short distance, rode street cars (well packed) across town to R.R. station.  Waited around and furnished and amusing (I suppose) spectacle to countless Japanese.  Boarded trains at 1610.  Rode all night in badly crowded coaches.  Was fed small meal office and barley evening and morning.

 

April 11

Arrived Tokyo.  Changed trains for further trip.  Arrived Hetachi (Hitachi)1056; rode small electric train up mountain to mining center.  Saw white prisoners at small camp on way up.  Was fed at mining center (barley and rice).  Hiked up hill to present camp, arriving at 1400.  Camp Commander, Captain Niemoto made speech through very poor interpreter, telling us we must obey all camp rules, refrain from escaping (to where?) and that we would be here until U.S. was beaten to her knees.  We will sure be here a long time.

 

April 11-20

Eating more food (?) than heretofore.  Main staple 1/5 rice, 4/5 rolled barley,  soup of potatoes, greens, carrots, gobo, sometimes meat.  Was issued a heavy overcoat, former owner J. Lancaster, 1427677, 22nd Heavy Battery, R. A. Singapore, 1 khaki jacket and breeches very thin, 1 miners helmet and lamp, 1 box matches, 1 pair leggings, 1 pair canvas split-toed shoes.  The shoes are brutal on the great toe.  Was marched down to local theater and given talk on mine we are to work.  Also we were given strength tests and physical inspection.  Everybody lost weight on trip here, from 4 to 8 kilos average loss.

 

April 20

Started work in mine.  Am working Agasawa Chubo section as a mucker.  Daily routine, up at 0530, Tenko at 0540, breakfast, tenko at 0700, march to mine, dinner between 1130 and 1200, turn to 1300, knock off at 1430-1500, out of mine by 1630, tenko at camp 1700, bathe, scrub clothes, make up bunk etc., tenko 1930, lights out at 2000.  One hour night watch every third night.

 

April 29

First yasumi.  Emperor’s birthday.  Wish he had ‘em more often.  Big surprise—received one orange today.  First one since surrender.  Very sour.  No salt or tobacco.

 

April 30

 

A day in the mine.  Reveille raised to 0500.  Am very hungry.  Was issued one teaspoon full of salt.

 

May 1

Day in thee mine.  Am hungry! Lei Day in Hawaii.

 

May 2, 1944

Bellyful of soggy barley and soy beans, still hungry.  Received two teaspoons full of salt, pair of used socks. Would like to have one Devil’s good cake with black walnuts in it and chocolate frosting on top and one caramel filled graham cracker crust pie. 

 

May 3, 1944

Two years ago today the beginning of the end and started with long barrage on Corregidor from Bataan.  Sure was a lulu!  Wish I had ten dozen cream puffs!

 

May 5

 

Shoveled muck all day in the mine.  Finished reading N.W. Passage.

 

May 6

Two years ago saw the surrender on Corrregidor at 1200.  Much has happened since.  Believe those we left on the beat were the most fortunate ones.  Hear vague rumors of air activity over Philippines.  Hope it is over soon.  Think if I would have eaten for dinner tonite—roast pork, potatoes browned with the roast, buttered, coffee, cream, hot rolls, baked beans.   Instead as the usual.

 

May 7

Yasumi.  Started day out very  odoriferously by bailing out head. Signed pay roll for 11 days hard labor at the rate of 15 sen a day.  Have been billed already for Y130 for forty five cigarettes and 6.6 sen for that orange.  I thought it was a gift of the Emperor.  Traded 20 cigarettes for 10 vitatabs.  Could eat a horse turd if it had sugar and cream on it.

 

May 8

S.O.S.

 

 

 

May 9

Everybody all excited over arrival of some R.C. food; about thirty seven cases, 47 lbs. each.

 

May 10

Reveille raised to 0430.  Work in the mine is getting more irksome every day.  If those people in the U.S. don’t get off their ass soon, nothing we can do later will be worth lasting this out.

 

May 11

Been here one month.  Seems like a lifetime.  Entered mine at 0700, out at 1730.  Stood 2000 to 2100 watch.  Sixteen and one half hours continuously underway with nothing to eat but barley, a couple of tablespoons of soy beans and about four small spuds.  Everybody is tired all the time.  Most of us still have cramps and diarrhea.  Dreamed of apple pie, hot cakes, candy, Gene and Mother last nite.

 

May 12

Entered mine at 0715, left at 1745.  Typical noon lunch carried in messkit-cold barley, two tablespoons soya beans, one teaspoon soya paste (mess) one small boiled potato quartered.  Today we had in addition one small saltfish which I ate guts, feathers and all.  Received two tablespoons salt from galley.   Heard vague scuttlebutt of naval battle near Aleutians.  Could sure eat some custard pie with whipped cream.

 

May 13

Saturday-after hard day in mine had some kind of tuber cooked up with sugar, tasted like ambrosia.  Nips gave us a new pair of shoes, canvas split-toes.  Since we have worked in mine two Japs have lost a leg and one sustained a fractured leg and back, from cave-ins.  One American lost his little finger.

 

May 14

Mother’s Day.  Would very much like to see her.  The thought of being able to do so, see her and others is all that keeps us going.  All of us are here are constantly tired now.  Muscles just can’t come back to battery with this day after day on this poor diet.  Am still having stomach cramps but diarrhea has slacked.  Hear rumor off fighting in south again.

 

May 15

In at 0715, out at 1730.  Received ten more cigarettes.  Small ration of chow tonight.  Dreamed of food and home again last nite.  Dreamed of Vic Hossen.  Think I would like some of that strawberry shortcake Dad used to make.

 

May 16

Received some of the RC chow today-Stockton and I get to split can C.B., can coffee (soluble) can powdered milk, candy bar, 50 sugarcubes, 22 prunes, 3 packages of cigarettes, package union leader, 2 cans butter, can spam, morale hit a new high.

 

 

 

May 17

Pushed muck car all day.  Heard rumor that the U.S. Fleet won sea battle with Nips between here and the Aleutians.  Also of bombings here.  Had can of salmon with a ration of rice.  First rice since our arrival.

 

May 18

S.O.S.

 

May 19

Foot (left) very sore and swollen from feruncle (furuncle) on big toe.  Had to go to mine barefoot because my shoe would not go on.  Worked all day in mine.  Went to sick call, Doc Robinson diagnosed my infection as cellulitis.  Hot wet packs tonight.

 

May 20

Excused from work today.  Foot very painful.  Saw Nip doctor and was given permission to stay in bed till foot is well.  Doctor is very kindly old man.   Not Army doctor; he is the mine’s medico.  This evening heard rumor that European situation is squared away.  Germany has secured.  Later had our first air raid drill in camp.  Felt earth tremor this afternoon, shook barracks very perceptibly.

 

May 21

Nothing new.  Had my foot lanced, incision spread open and probed by Doc Robinson.  Damn near crapped me out.  Today was yasumi for all hands.  For breakfast ate barley lugao with stewed prunes (5) powdered milk, sugar, butter.  No salt.  For lunch had soup of boiled potato tops and radishes, of which I ate little, of a 12 oz. can of corned beef with the boiled barley.  Dinner was the same barley with soy beans.  The barley is always cooked up into a gummy paste and very tasteless because there is not salt.  Received ten cigarettes at a cost of 24 sen which came out of my mine wage of 15 sen a day.

 

May 22

Chow is getting short again.  Barley and greens and gobo soup twice a day.  Beans for supper with barley.  Had incision in foot spread and problem, rectum protruded at least 13 cm during process.  Got first haircut since about February 12.  No blackout tonight.

 

May 23

Foot getting sorer, chow getting worser, and I’m getting tireder of this damned prison life.  The worst feature of being here is the realization that is all so unnecessary.   None of us here are old enough to have been responsible for helping to lay the groundwork for this fiasco in the Philippines.  We all realize this.  It is those self satisfied sons of bitches back in the States sitting very comfortably on their old derriere, eating three squares a day who put us here.  It is those eight million egotistical, superiority complexed United States voters who complacently and blindly let themselves be led into a feeling of security by peace at any cost advocates, disarmament adherents and other old men with dehydrated testicles who are responsible for me and the thousands of others in prison.  For thousands of those dying from dysentery, malnutrition and just plain starvation.  I know we all know that we represent a small fraction of one half percent of the men involved but that knowledge helps not at all when one is always hungry, always tired, and always taking orders from some little dried up, wizened anthropological specimen.  Boy I sure feel low today.  How much longer!

 

May 27

Today is a cold, dismal, rainy day, with nothing to do but think which makes it twice as gloomy as a leaden sky and a slow drizzle would ordinarily be.  For past three days have been sewing on a jacket and reading.  Finished jacket and book this morning.  Jacket I made of two wool slipover garments, gift of Australia, I believe.  The book was “Three Harbors” by F. Van Wick Mason. There has been several cases of pneumonia develop among the prisoners lately.  Dobler entered sick bay with it two days ago.  Roy Miller has been there with it for several days and has lost so much weight he looks like a scarecrow.  Yesterday 203 men went to work.  Today 193, lowest yet.  Overwork and no food is taking its toll.  Rumors sound very good.  Some of us should live to see the end.  Talk in barracks centers around probable duration and FOOD.  Everybody agrees they are going to eat 24 hours a day “when I get back.”  Women are seldom mentioned.  Rather unusual in a group of men so long without them.  They are very unimportant when a man’s stomach has been so long without steaks, eggs, vegetables, etc.  Have seen one white woman since May 24, 1942.  She was on the streets of Manila when we walked from the depot to Bilibid March 6.  Hope mother has lots of jams, jellies and fruit when I get home.  Have talked about how good that huckleberry jelly and grape jam used to be so many times.  And strawberry jam on hot cakes.  Boy!  Supper tonite was pretty good; included barley steamed, soya beans partially crushed and made into a soup with soya and red pepper, boiled goba, and last and by far the best, a small piece of fried beef with soyu.  Looks better as I write it down that it was tho.  Just happened to think today of the last meal I ate in Manila before leaving on December 25, 1941.  It was ham and eggs and coffee. Since then I have eaten one fried egg around November 1943, I think.

 

May 28

Today was a fine clear day.  Much air activity in this vicinity as usual.  Food is improving slightly.  Small portion of meat again tonite.  Rumors fly almost as thickly here as at the last camp.  If all are true we may yet get out of here.  One hundred and eighty three men went to work today.  One or two men pass out at the mine every day.

 

May 31

Had small piece of porpoise for supper yesterday.  Boiled greens other two meals.  Heavy air activity.  Rumor of breakings up of Dutch camp, cessation of hostilities in Europe and peace conference in London involving all warring nations.  Dreamed last night I had all the food I could eat.  The cherry trees which grow in great profusion on the hillsides here have about all lost their blossoms.

 

June 1

Small ratio of porpoise last night about two tablespoons full.  Received also some toilet paper and on RC box of food for eight men.  Had small amount of port tonight.  This was the second night with no light in the barracks.

 

June 7

Staying in today.  Hurt my left foot when an ore wheel ran on it.  Had no meat since 1st although small piece of fish yesterday.  Finshed reading “Arundel” by Kenneth Roberts.  Have new boss in mine, very much younger and better humored than other one.  Scuttlebutt has died down again.  Wish I had something to eat.

 

June 9

Yesterday it was announced by the Japanese that our long awaited commissary store was  to open with the sale of cigarette holders and fountain pens.  We have been told it will not be possible to purchase those things we most want, namely sugar, food, tobacco, so this sale seems to be one of the manifestations of their sadistic form of humor.  We have no cigarettes and cannot write letters.  Last night I dreamed I was eating hotcakes by the score and Mary, who evidently was not hungry, gave all of hers to me.  This was unusual as I generally dream of food but most always am frustrated in any attempts to eat any.  There has been no planes over camp last three days.  This evening we were all given toothbrush, writing pad, and tooth powder.  Will probably be charged for it later on.  Received typhoid antitoxin injection today and the Japanese doctor took a reading on my second T.B. test.  The first one was given on May 15, this one three days ago.  Do not know the result of either.  Only about 1/3 of us had to take two, however.  Rumors for today say that a large force crossed the channel and made landing on European coast.  This camp will probably move below and take over camp formerly occupied by Dutch.  Tonight tenko was held on parade ground by flood light instead of in the barracks.

 

June 10

When I came off watch this morning at 0200, the barracks was shaken by the most violent earth tremor yet felt since we arrived.  Were also issued some Nip toilet paper and soap.  Dreamed last night of the green house we lived in Pasco.  The whole family was there and I was eating real food.  The food poor here again, although our galley does an excellent job on what they get to cook.  Tonight we had a small ration or real spinach and last night we had a very small ration of real turnips.  In the Philippines the greens were mostly weeds or camote tops.

 

June 10

Got soup with greens, barley for breakfast, small piece fish, barley, greens for dinner.  Received an inoculation of tuberculosis vaccine today because I drew a negative on the susceptibility test.

 

June 12

Yesterday an American Major MC and an Army corpsman arrived from Tokyo.  They left Cabanatuan just before we did on a medical draft of two hundred men.  This draft has been split up and sent to camps around Tokyo.  They reported that the food was very bad in Tokyo, but would be slightly better if it was not squeezed every time it was handled.  Also they were told when they stopped at the Dutch camp just below us that the Dutch, who are mostly, Javanese, have plenty of food and tobacco.  I guess we are squeezed (or strangled) quite a bit ourselves.  Their report on the war situation was very encouraging and bore out, but in more detail, the rumors we have been hearing.

Today noon, the barley ran out and we were fed some kind of a small round grain that none of us can identify.  It has practically no taste at all but I believe I prefer it to either rice or barley.

 

June 14

For past two days we have been cleaning up barracks and standing by for an inspection by Nip Army men from Tokyo.  Much ado is being made over it by the camp Nips and they are very bothersome with their running in and out of the place all day long demanding we do this or that.  The fleas in our barracks are coming into their own with the warming up of the weather.  I guess I pack around a thousand with me all the time.  Every so often I have to take off my shirt or pants and reduce the standing population therein.  At night they make a bunk all but untenable.  They are much worse than the bedbugs we had at Cabanatuan although no more numerous, their bite itches like hell and lasts longer.  If I ever again get where I am not lousy, dirty and hungry, I probably will be uncomfortable.  Just killed a flea; sure makes me feel good.  Wish I could make them suffer!  Dreamed last nite Mary, Gene, Mother, Dad and I were in a grocery store.  Mary and I were eating chocolate covered peanuts and Gene was filling gunny sacks with onions.

 

June 15

Today we had a big inspection by a Colonel who is the Director of Japanese Military Prisons.  I was setting down on my bunk with my foot propped up when he saw the snapshot of the family which is on the bulkhead over my portion of the barracks shelf he inquired through an interpreter if it was mine.  I told him it was.  He asked me what I thought when I looked at it.  I told him I thought they had all changed considerably in appearance since I saw them last.  The interpreter could not understand this and asked Major Christonson to explain what I meant.  The Nip Colonel then told me Japan was prepared to fight forever if the U.S. did not give up.  I said nothing.  He asked me if I had no comment, and I said no, none.  He asked me why I was fighting Japan.  I told him I was through fighting for now.  He asked me what my country thought of the statement about fighting forever, and I said I was unable to speak for my country.

 

June 17

Things are quiet around here since the hectic days preceding the inspection.  Colonel Sakums (?) was the inspector.  A very military looking man was on Bataan and Corregidor.  Camp was under blackout last two nites but surrounding valley was not.  All hands were given four cigarettes yesterday.  This area was shaken by a particular violent earth tremor yesterday.  The Nips took back one of their blankets from each of us, thereby making it official that is one blanket warmer in the Hotachi (Hitachi) area.

The loss was of no consequence to me though, because it was so thin one could read a bible through two thicknesses of it.  Received third typhoid inoculation.  Second was given June 9.

 

June 19

Yasumi yesterday.  Dutch definitely have not been shifted from their camp.  Heard that a Dutchman hanged himself last week.  More dope on landing in France.  Last nite a Marine, Fargy, who was caught stealing Misau, was brought around to each barracks by the Major.  He had to stand while the Major told what he had done.  Later he will be whipped by a committee drawn by lot.  Previously two soldiers, Johnson and Dorn (?) were handled in the same manner.  They were given twenty lashes with a garrison belt.  Very mild treatment I should say.  Yesterday we were weighed.  The average loss in weight for the first one hundred men was over two kilos per man.  I weighed 64.1 ks., a loss of 1.1 in one month.  Dobler who weighed 80.5 in peacetime weighs 54 now.  Stockton is about 10 kilos down.  Finished reading “ I Married Adventure” Osa Johnson.  Last night air raid alarm was sounded in valley and blackout was put into effect immediately.

 

June 20

Today I went down to the mine hospital to have my foot x-rayed.  It seems to be an efficient place.  The X-ray room was full of what seemed to me to fairly up-to-date equipment.  The doctors and nurses are very kind and considerate.  My foot has healed up allright so I go back to work in the morning.

 

June 21

Entered mine at 0715, out at 1915

 

June 22

S.O.S.

 

June 23

Have been troubled past three days with bad case of diarrhea and stomach cramps.  While breaking ore was hit with a piece about the size of a baseball and it cut my shin to the bone.

 

June 24

Received ICC(?)  Dysentery inoculation.  Chow improving slightly, I believe.  Had fish for lunch and a small piece of beef for dinner.  Diarrhea is better and so am I.  No scuttlebutt lately.  Flea powder was issued to us and spread lavishly all over our sleeping mats.

 

June 25

Received ten cigarettes today.  Was weighed again, down two kilos—62.5.  Had particularly hard day in mine and almost got it in a small cave in.  Wish I had a ten pound fruit cake.

 

June 26

Fairly easy day in the mine.  Past two days chow has been terrible.  No rumors.  Never wanted anything so badly before in my life as I now want freedom.

 

July 1

The food situation has been bad the past five days.  For two days we had nothing to eat but some soya beans and green weeds.  Almost everybody got sick with diarrhea.  I only ate one meal of them.  Am still running like hell.  Then we got two meals of rice, one with a small fish.  Now we are eating potatoes boiled and greens.  I ate only a small portion of mine this morning.  I am not on the 1400 to 2200 shift.  We were given a second dysentery inoculation on the 29th.  When, oh when, are they going to get here!

 

July 2

Chow still very bad.

 

July 3

Started day off with a bang.  While at quarters for muster a fire started down in the valley and an explosion ensued that blew debris clear up here to camp.  It was a very beautiful sight.  Gray smoke, timbers, rock and other forms of scrap billowed and soared in lazy curving motions to an altitude of at least 260 meters.  Must have been three or four tons of dynamite that detonated.  Windows were blown out of the buildings here at camp and some of them were pushed out of line quite considerably.  Needless to say the valley below us was a mess.  The mine had been shut down all day.  The Nips are finally starting to get heavy handed again and several men have been struck in the last few days.

 

July 4

Every man in camp is commenting on the weakness that has come over him.  I am so weak that I don’t know which way my knees are going to bend.  The slightest exertion is exhausting.  Yet we must still go to the mine, work all day and drag ourselves up the hill at night.  In addition to the small ration of food we are now on, some of us have diarrhea so bad that the little we do eat does us no good.

 

July 5

Rations growing slimmer.  I am so weak from hunger I can hardly get back and forth to the mine.  Dr. Robinson, while opening a feruncle (furuncle) on my left shoulder, was very unsteady.  He told me hunger had him so weak and shaky he could not keep his hands under control and he does no physical labor!  Every night when I go to sleep I doze off with the fervent desire that I might not waken.  I am not quite to the point where I am able to step in and take a hand where fate will not.  It is ever in my mind, however.  Why any of us desire to keep on living in these conditions with the future as doubtful as it is will ever prove to me the ancient saw the “Hope never dies in the human breast.  Even with adequate food this life would be inadequate enough with its continual round of dreary labor; man does not live by bread alone!  I am beaten and the end is not in sight.  The question “Where is that great, powerful, omnipotent U.S. Fleet with it millions of patriotic Americans in its thousands of throbbing, humming factories behind it?” constantly runs through my mind as I look around me and see who is winning in fear so far as we are concerned?

 

July 8

Last night when we came up from the mine dirty, tired and sleepy, barely able to put one foot in front of the other, not a person had enough energy even to remark on the beauty of the full moon that was just coming up over hill back of camp, shining in the sky like a new dollar.  But as we drew up to the main gate we saw the galley crew unloading rations from the gravel conveyer that runs by camp.  At their announcement that they had unloaded forty sacks of grain and were then unloading radishes everybody seemed to per up, get talkative and walk lighter on their feet.  Just the thought of getting a little more to eat acted like a narcotic.

Yesterday a soldier named Smith drilled into a stick of dynamite that was still unexploded from a previous blast.  He is now in the mine hospital.

My routine through twenty four hours runs roughly thusly”  Tenko1340, to the mine 1400-1430, out 2130 and 2200, bathe and eat cold chow saved in wooden buckets from camps evening 1530 meal between 2230 and 2300, then turn in , up between 0700-0800.  Eat chow at 1130.

Right now with rations so short most of us on the night detail eat once every 12 hours.  A ration is given us to take to the mine but we all eat it with the noon meal because both combined do not suffice for one meal.

 

July 9

Officially weighed in again today at 61.5.  Down another kilo.

 

July 13

Rations still short!  More men passing out at mine from fatigue and hunger.  Dobler has beri-beri, swelling coming up in his legs.  Favorite topics for conversation now are rich creamy foods, recipes for same, and their preparation.  Have been dreaming of bake shops again past few nights.  Flea menace has been out for awhile now but mosquitoes and flies plague hell out of us night and day.  A little talk is still heard about the probable cessation of hostilities in Europe and how it will affect us.

 

July 14

Yesterday afternoon when we went into the rest room at the entrance of the mine an incident occurred illustrative of the depth to which at least one American had sunk.  This rest room has benches in it where we set for usually about ten minutes coming and going to the mine.  A count is taken of us by the guard who can exercise his ego by order us to set three to a bench if we happen to be setting four on a bench or four if it is so that we are disposed three on a bench.  Nikconen a navy gunner, formally a two hundred and twenty pound man now a hundred and sixty pound hulk, saw a small dog eating some fish out of a Jap’s messkit.  A portion of rice that was nearly equal to our ration when we get rice.  He immediately indicated his desire to take the food away from the dog and eat it for himself.  The guard, who had picked up to test Nickonen, indicated that he might have the food.  Nick started after it, but the guard laughing still said not to eat it, it would make him sick.  Through the rest of our stay there Nickonen loudly lamented the fact that the dog was given some food that should have been given to one of us and constantly lamented that if only given the chance he would gladly deprive the dog of his bit of garbage.

 

At the time and lots of time before, I have thought of the delicious dog and cat food I had seen Mother feed our cat and wished that I might have had that damn cat’s daily ration of nice clean delicious dog food right from a can.

 

An American broke his arm yesterday in the mine and one more man was sent back for passing out.  Last night the “in charge” of detail gave each one of us one half a teaspoon of salt.  We have been getting three cigarettes a day regularly for the past ten days.

 

July 16-17

These two days are Japanese holidays similar to Decoration Day in the States so the mine was closed down.  On the first day we had better chow than usual including seven fish about the size of a sardine.  I promptly got diarrhea as a result of a full belly.  I also had a taste of salt lately.  It sure is good.

Dobler and I spent most of these two days talking of food we will eat “when and if.”  We also made up our dinner menu we will use when the opportunity presents itself.  On the 9th of June, Huxtable was operated on for appendicitis.

 

July 19

Weighed in today at 62.1 kilos.

 

July 20

Nickonen finally had to be carried up the hill from the mine. 

Carrying somebody back from the mine is a common occurrence nowadays.  I can just make it myself without help.

Read is on the binnacle list with beri-beri.  He weighs 125 pounds, formerly 180.  I have been thinking lately, with my mouth watering, of those apple dumplings we used to eat.

 

July 21

Our pay has been raised ten sen a day.  This is a very peculiar situation.  I have money saved up and credited to me, but am not allowed to buy anything.

 

July 23

Yesterday we did not receive our usual three cigarettes.  This morning when word was received in camp that Niemoto was coming up there was a hasty issue of three cigarettes.

In the last week orders were put out by the Japanese that all the American officers would were a belly band while sleeping, and that men would carry hot water to the mine for drinking purposes.  All were issued for preservation of health.  Yet they will not feed us ample food!!

 

July 24

Yesterday in addition to the cigarette deal another enlightening incident occurred.  Right after Niemoto arrived the Gocho had two bags of beans slipped out of the storehouse and up a back path to our galley.  Niemoto was to inspect the storeroom.  We have not been receiving a full daily ration.  After Niemoto left the galley was informed that the beans would be used for a six day ration.  This happened once before only that time the beans were returned to the storehouse after the captain left camp.

Nickonen was sent back to mine yesterday but his legs gave out before he got there and he had to be brought back.

Finished reading “Captain Horatio Hornblower”  by C.S. Forrester.  Heard rumor last night that Tojo and cabinet resigned.  Guam is ours.

 

July 26

Had a small piece of dried fish with our noon and evening meals yesterday.  Fresh fish for today also the galley is baking up one small roll per man.  Things are looking up!

The increase of ten sen per diem pay did not affect the pay status of those who work in camp.  If one is obliged to stay in camp on account of mine injuries or sickness that does not require that he stay in bed, that person must clean the flushing hole in drillrods or straighten nails that been sent up from the mine.  If a person is so ill he cannot do this and was not injured in the mine, he does not receive pay or the occasional issue of three cigarettes.  Officers here receive ten a month.  If they spend no money during the month, they receive no pay.  If they do only enough is paid them to raise their cash on hand to fifty yen.  They also receive a double ration of anything the Japs issue except of course food from the galley.

 

July 28

Today Christy and soldier named Shultz were transferred to the prisoner hospital in Tokyo.  Christy on account of the old back injury he received in a beating at Nichols Field and Schultz because of a case of consumption.  Weighed 62.8 kilos today.

Chow has improved in the last few days, primarily because of a discontinuation of potatoes and the substitution by weight of grain, still, however, constantly hungry.  This continual growing hunger is one of the worst features of being a prisoner.  Much worse than the deprivation of liberty.  Cigarette issue is still erratic.

 

 

July 30 (Sunday)

Practice blackout last nite?  The evening meal is now a fairly decent ration.  Last night it consisted of about three ounces of boiled soya beans, four or five ounces of gumbo consisting of rolled barley, rice ? grain, a brown cornstarch gravy made with port.  Perhaps two ounces of port per person and the gravy was of quantity to almost fill a teacup.  A small piece of cucumber soaked in salt brine topped off this wonder repast.  The other two meals are mainly a vegetable, for the last week boiled radishes and one or more of the grains.  It is still a highly adequate diet.  One of the dietary deficiency effects on myself I have noticed is a tendency to clumsiness.  Others are affected with this too.  We stumble over our own feet.  Of course, fatigue has quite a bit to do with this.  I am always leg weary.  Food, a constant topic for conversation, has been relieved again by speculation as to “when.”  This is always the case when there is a slight increase in quantity after a particularly low period.  A bakery is being constructed so we may soon have an occasional piece of bread.  Cigarettes are being issued at the rate of about nine a week.

 

August 1

Another month gone by; hope there are few more.

Shifted back to day work today.  Came off shift at 2200 last nite, and went on at 0700 today.  Only received two meals today because our breakfast was given to the night detail for an evening meal in the mine.

Dobler just came in with some good dope he read in the July 19, 20, 21, 22 papers.  Sounds good for our side.

I am very very hungry.

 

Aug. 4

Day before yesterday the Tyee shook us down for our Nip pipes that many of us had.  These pipes were given to us by Nip mine workers.  We had to make a report as to where we got them, when and from whom.  Another American broke his arm in the mine.

 

Aug. 8

Imperial Japanese rescript day.  It was read to other coolies this morning on the athletic field at the bottom of the hill.

Weighed in at 61.4 kilos today.

Still don’t get enough to eat.

I’m now working on the 150 meter level pushing ore cars.  Walk down 760 steps in the morning and up at night.  Keeps my legs feeling numb all the time.

Rumors as to the situation in Europe are very encouraging.  Vague rumor of a camp breakup.   Am dreaming nightly of the family and food again.

I am very very hungry.

 

Aug 10.

Last night the dope was put out officially and suddenly that this camp is breaking up.  Two hundred men to leave.  Eight to go to a factory and relieve that many Limey prisoners and one fifty to go to another copper mine and relieve some Dutch colonials.  Everybody is very glad to go.  Do not know as yet who stays here.

 

Aug. 11

Leave camp at 1300 today.  As one of an 80 man draft.  The 150 others left this morning at 0300.

Yesterday was a very busy day.  We turned in our mining clothes and gear, canterra, onimbose, (?) carbide and match cane.  Even had to turn in the wooden to-aheads they issued us.  We turned in our over coats and a half hour later drew them again.  I took a screwing on the ensuing exchange.  Drew out the blues we had previously turned in.  I also lost by this exchange.

Everyone now believes the ending of war imminent.

The Japanese interpreter, an effeminate oily haired scrawny individual who claims half-American parentage, says we are going to a much better prison than this one. This must be so for it certainly could be not much worse.  Have had a terrific headache since yesterday.  I guess the excitement of moving is too much for my weakened condition.

 

Aug

Marched out of camp almost to the hour almost to the hour four months after our arrival.  Boarded train at 1425.

 

Aug. 15

Yesterday completed our first workday in camp.  We arrived here the morning of the 12th about 9:30.  Our trip here was uneventful.  After the usual round of clothing inspection, filling out forms, being weighed, we are almost settled down.  The food here is barley.  There are 93 Americans, a few Malayans, the rest to a total of 209 are limaya.  The officers are pilot officer Dunlop, Captain Reese and Surgeon Lieutenant Whitfield, R. (?)

Everyone seemed in such better health than we are.  They are all suntanned a deep brown while we are all bleached out.  We had to listen to the usual long winded speech by the Japanese surrender through a better than usual interpreter.  It was the best initial speech we had been bored with so far though.  No reference to “beating your country to its knees,” as usual.

We lost out on one meal by arriving too late for breakfast, but I was so sick I didn’t care.

 

Aug. 16

Dobler, Perry, Hughes and I applied for work with a mechanics detail and got it.  I am on the detail that next to working in the galley is the most desired her.  The other three work in another machine shop.

The work here is very much easier and pleasanter than at the mine.  In fact, I am wondering at the good fortune at being delivered from that last dreadful place.

I still feel very ill with a constant headache and stomach ache with diarrhea.

My new number is 43.

 

Aug. 17

Weighed in at 60 kilos.  This camp is situated on a river.  The work is supposed to be toward the construction of a dam.  In two years no headway has been made.  A lot of the men are doing merely carrying rocks from one place to another with no apparent purpose.

I am working on a blacksmith shop with three Americans, a Canadian, and a Welshman.

The last two in the RAF.

 

Sept. 6

Have had two yasumis so far, gained a kilo last weighing.

Daily routine:

Up between 0500 and 0530

Eat

Tenko at 0630

Walk about kilometer to work

1130 knock off

Eat

1330 turn to

1600-1630 knock off

Return to camp

Make capt details, bathe, eat, wash clothes

1800-tenko

2000-lights out, turn in

 

Although the working conditions here are far, far better than the last camp conditions within the camp are irksome.

The food is always the same-morning barley and seaweed soup; noon a mixture of barley, gobo, eggplant and soya beans, evening barley, soya beans and soup.

The guards in camp seem to walk around looking for someone to knock around.  They seem to direct most or their ire at the Americans.  We have to stand one of watch every fifth night.  When a guard comes around one greets him like this:

“Dai ni barrack, bowing, hyaku yon wei jiko ku mei genzai ki dzu go mei jiko ho ku mei we byoki hijo arimasen.”  If any mistakes were made it was immediately apparent when some part of your body stops a rifle butt.  If it was delivered to the satisfaction of the guard, he would grunt and go away.

Although the weather is very warm now, everyone has to sleep clothes and with a belly wrapper and covered with a heavy blanket.  If anyone is caught uncovered he will be made to stand at attention in front of Japanese HQ from that time until reveille. 

When one has the watch he is kept busy by covering people up who unconsciously throw their blanket off because it is so hot.  The windows have to be closed in the barracks at 2200 even if thereafter smells like a submarine after an all day dive.

None of the water around here is considered potable so it a very serious offense to get caught drinking water.  I have drank nothing but tea since I have been here.  We are not so continuously hungry here as we were in the last camp but still we do not get enough to eat.

 

Sep. 28

The weather has changed for the cooler so it is no longer insufferable to sleep under a blanket.  The windows are closed at 2100.

Have hit a new high in weight of 63.2 and feel better than ever before in Japan.  Yesterday three of the Malayan boys were sent to camp 12.  I sent a pound of tea with one of them, Roland Olivier, for Tex Evans and Underwood.

 

Sept. 25

Yasumi.  Saturday night Pierce was taken up to the hospital at Mitusima (?) for an appendectomy.  He was kept on the operating table two hours.

Today three days slays came in from Camp 12 bringing in news of that camp.  Rodriguez, a soldier was killed and Merritt, a sailor, is paralyzed as a result of a cave in.  Groves lost a finger.

I am well satisfied with my job and would much rather work every day  than take a day off

We are still eating barley and soya beans three times a day with few pieces of egg plant in the evening ration.  The soup is thickened with imokuga (potato starch) and flavored with soya sauce or soya bean paste.

We still cannot understand what the so called great U.S. is doing with all her greatness.  I sure want to get home and eat some food.  Three years constantly hungry is a long long time.

 

Oct. 19 (Thurs.)

Since last making an entry, it is two and sometimes three blankets cold at night.  We have our blankets and a promise of another one later on.  At quarters the sergeant asked us if we get cold at night.  When I told that most everybody did he said that we should go out by the wash stand and rub our bodies with a dry towel.  All of the men on one of the details were lined up in front of the rest of us and slapped then made to fall in two ranks facing each other and slap the face of the men each opposed.

 

Evening muster is accompanied practically always with a long harangue by the O.D. Everything we do is bad we can do nothing to please those in charge.  Baths have been knocked off altogether except for a hot bath every five days.  Baths are taken in a common tub made of cement.  It is about 1 meter deep and three meters square.

An American M.C. captain named Winestein came in the other cay.

Tonight we were told at muster that anyone caught spitting on the ground in camp would have to lick it up.

Yesterday we had a little meat, but the food ration is still too small.  Everybody but the officers, who get all they want, and a few men, who are in the galley clique, is always hungry.

 

Oct. 22

Weather getting colder, especially in the mornings.  Received a straw mat to sleep on.  This is in addition to one we already had.  There was a parade in Mitushima this afternoon composed of children and a few elder leaders.  Each had a flag and the leaders had banners.  When they passed above our camp they set up a cheering in their shrill childish treble.  Obviously for our benefit.  I saw several apples today.  Have been troubled again with diarrhea.

 

Oct 23

Went out to work but as I was sick with diarrhea spent all day sitting down painting iron wire with flux for welding rods.  Was given one quarter of an apple by an old Japanese woman.

 

Oct. 26

Have been in the hospital since evening of 24th.  Feel very weak and light headed.  Since the evening of the 24th have had nothing to eat but one messkit of starch and a tablespoon of powdered milk.  I went 70 hours without eating.  Yesterday we were inspected by the colonel in charge of Tokyo prison camp.  Same one who inspected the mine.

The camp hospital is merely one end of the sheds that are euphemistically called barracks.  I am being given sulfa guanidine as medicine, also three atabrine tablets a day.  Lost 5 kilos in a week.

 

Oct. 27

Weighed in at 58 kilos a new low.  Have eaten four mess kits of ima kupa since the evening of the 24th.  Last night I dreamed I was home and mother was feeding me plain starch, same as I was eating.  When I told her I wanted my next meal of starch cooked up with sugar, salt, cocoa, milk and eggs, she told me she couldn’t because eggs cost $2.20 a dozen. 

Today it rained and the details stayed in the camp and made carrying nets out of straw rope. This is the regular procedure on rainy days.  These nets are woven together into a square about a yard on a side.  The mesh is about two inches square.  They are used in conjuction with a “yo-ho” pole by two people to carry any heavy object.

We have received our fifth blanket.

 

Oct. 30

Monday is rainy, details in.   Feeling much better, only three trips to the head yesterday and one for today (1500)  Am on 2/3 ration of regular chow and 1/3 sloppy barley.  The regular chow is always a gumbo of barley, rice, millet, soya beans and a soup.  We had quite a lot of boiled sweet potato vine soup a while back but now it is the stalks of a plant known in the states as “elephant ears” because of the shape of the large leaves.

Lately I have read the following books:  “Vicar of Wakefield” by Goldsmith, “The Yearling” by Rawlings, “Irvin Cobb at his Best”, “The Best of Damon Runyon”, “The Moon and Six Pence”, by Maugham, “Damascus Lies North”, “Dodsworth” by Sinclair Lewis, “The World of William Clizzold” (v.II) by H.G. Wells, “Father Abragam.”

 

Nov. 1

Came out of the hospital today:

Many times I have heard people here say, and have wondered myself, “Just how crazy or eccentric will we appear in the eyes of the normal people in the United States.”  We know we are not normal in the sense the word usually implies.  Our sense of values are all very distorted.  Personal appearance no longer matters.  Our hair is all clipped off but no one cares.  We go pretty dirty in person most of the time, out of necessity, but we are now used to it and no longer give it much thought.  Food and water we have learned, is the most important thing in life.  Our one thought is for acquiring more.  It is uppermost in our minds all the time.  The waste of even a single grain of rice is not tolerated.  I have, even in removing a dead fly in my rice bowl, made sure that no grains adhered to it before I cast it aside.  We constantly eat weevils in our food because they are too small to remove without a loss of some grain.  We speak a language among ourselves interspersed with many Japanese words and a slang developed in and peculiar to prison life.  Our sense of values are so distorted.  Money is no good; it will buy nothing.  Food, soap and especially sugar is the medium of exchange.  Of course, there are none of these things available.

 

Nov. 11

Weighed in yesterday at 63.8.  Rations have increased slightly the last five days.  Camotes have started coming in and diakons are now a very prominent and unsavory part of the daily menu.  Of the larger daily rations is as follows:

 

Morning-36 kilo grain, 50 camotes, 15 mesa, 5 toho cake (soya bean derivative) mixed and 20 kilo pichi boiled for soup.

 

Noon – 30 kilo grain, 30 diakons, 30 camotes, 11 beans, 8 toho powder mixed

 

Evening—28 grain, 12 beans, 25 spuds, mixed and pichi, soya soup with a little flour.

 

This is supposed to be served as 207 rations a meal but due to various leaks and side tracks in distribution it is made up into at least 250 rations.  We heard Roosevelt was re-elected.  The Japanese were disappointed and so was I.  They for the most part think he ought to be shot.  I just think the son of a bitch ought to be retired.

The  28th was the second anniversary of the founding of this camp.  On that day we were given the day off from the outside details a little more food than usual, a bath, three oranges, a church service and were permitted to buy enough tobacco for four smokes and two apples for ten sen each.  The church service was as the interpreter said, “In memorium of the prisoners who died here since the founding of the camp.  We had to attend the service which was held on the parade ground in the open.  An altar, with some branches from trees, flanking a small wooden cross, had been erected.  Two short pieces of large diakon (white radish) with a small black twig protruding from their top centers were on the altar for candles.  Two Japanese priests who spoke no English were there.  When we had assembled and were seated the sergeant called us to attention gave us right dress and then allowed us to sit down again.  The service opened when a hymn led by the choir which was assembled for this occasion.  Accompanying them was a violin and guitar played by two S.T.C. boys and Marahal on his clarinet.  Then the camp commander gave a short speech through the interpreter.  When the Nip priest added his two yen’s worth via the interpreter he told us that God was smoothing  us off on one of his grindstones to make better men of us.  That we would emerge from these God-caused trials and tribulations better men for it.   We have all been ground on now till we’re worn down to nothing—but whereas most Japanese lay all our troubles on Roosevelt this one laid it on poor old God, who I don’t think it so blame at all.  The priest refers to us several times as “Christian brothers.”  Another hymn was sung.  We all stood at attention for the camp commander then were dismissed.  On that day also three Englishmen came in from Tokyo bringing word that that city is being bombed.  Last night the air raid alarm sounded here at 2200 and 0400.  Maybe the U.S. finally declared war on Japan.  On the 27th 190 cases of Red Cross food came in so we may get some of it again this year.

I had a piece of flying metal strike my left hand the other day cutting the knuckle to the bone.  I had to be taken uptown to the Nip hospital; a little Japanese nurse dressed it in a manner that made me believe that she should have been a blacksmith’s striker instead of a nurse.  She probed it deeply not once but three times asking me constantly “Itai ka.”  I answered each time “Itai nai.”

 

Dec. 8

End of the third year of this fracas with no end in sight.  Air raid alarms are quite frequent here now.  The temperature now stays around 30 degrees F.  That makes it six blankets cold and I only have five.  We can’t wear our overcoats to work or tenko.  I am wearing from the bottom out, one suit of nip underwear, a pair of naval officer’s pants, a sweatshirt, and a wool sweater; over this I pull my work suit.  I am still cold.  Oh yes, among those layers somewhere I have a piece of blanketing wrapped around my belly.  I can’t figure out how to wear my overcoat underneath all of the above so it won’t show.  But I’m thinking.  I also have a towel wrapped around my neck as a scarf.  I still have two pair of pants and a Navy jumper; I am going to add these when it gets colder.  When I have diarrhea, which is most of the time, I present quite a sight running toward the head, unbuttoning my coat, unfastening my outside pants, and belt, my next pants down and then untying my underwear at the same time clutching them to prevent their tripping me up.  Sometimes it’s a very close shave and sometimes I lose just a little bit.

Dec. 25

For breakfast had barley and daikons, watery soup with daikon tops.  Lunch was barley with a few beans and two small boiled camotes, better soup, and a small piece of beef.  Dinner -barley and two small fried cakes with boiled brown beans in them.  There was even a little sugar in these cakes.  We each received a Red Cross box of food today.  It contained 2-12 ounce cans of minced ham, 1 12-ounce can of corned beef, 3 2 oz. cans of preserved butter, 4 oz. can soluble coffee, 6 packs chesterfields, 2 packs gum (doublemint) pound of powdered milk, lb. sugar, 3 oz. chocolate bar, 2 oz. jam, lb. cheese, 4 oz. liver pate, pound raisins, 2 oz. soap, 2 oz. can of salmon.  I ate most of it today.

 

Dec. 28

RC chow all gone.  The last thing I ate was a can of butter, a can of jam, 1/3 of the cheese and about 3 tablespoons of milk all mixed together in my canteen cup.

 

Jan 1, 1945

One year ago today I would have bet my life that those sons of bitches back there would not leave us here for another year.

 

Jan 20

Just had a hot bath and feel very warm, and hungry. In the morning I will be cold and hungry.  Two Englishmen recently died of heart failure due to the beri-beri.  The doctor told us at quarters this was another of way of saying starved to death.  The hospital is full of men (20) in the same condition and men have to be left in the barracks for lack of room.  The Englishmen are the hardest hit.  They are in very bad shape and quite often one of them passes out at quarters.  The other day we were given some more R.C. food.

Those considered by the Japanese as the best workers.  In this room I am living in are:

 

18 Downey, E.W. Born-Aust. Bks leader

226 Lillegreen, Leroy R., MO, USN, room lder.

221 Hollis, F.P., EMI

222 Johnson, Nelson L., FC 1/c

229 -

230  Ovington, Mathew, OKL /c  (?)

231  Olakas,John SC2/c

232 Stockton, L.I., SC1/c

233 Reynolds, Burrell J., SC2/c

234 Feltman, M.E., Sen 1/c

235 Fleeman, Jenco D., 1/c

236 Baker, Dorsey E. PltSgt

237 Bryan, Lamer A. (?)

238 Grant, William Pltn. Sgt.

239 Brown, Morris C.

240 Christy, Martin, S., Cpl. 240

Carlson, Conner is Bks. Leader

Were given what they (the Nips) considered the best articles.  A few of the older prisoners were in the first group; they received a box of cheese, a bar of chocolate, two packs of cigarettes.  I was in the second group who received the same except for the cheese.  We received raisins.  We also received a pound of milk powder, 8 oz. of coffee, 8 oz. of fish, 4 oz. of jam to be split between nineteen men.

 

Jan. 25

Yasumi.  Had fires in the barracks all day today but no bath.  The temperature hit a low of 16F this morn.  Had no work parties today and have been left alone all day which is very unusual as on a rest day, so called, we usually had to work practically all day in camp cleaning up or carry grain down from the station.  I spend most of the day in sewing and patching clothing.  My work clothes are so worn and threadbare that I do not know if they will until the Yanks and tanks get here or not.

Since the first day of January we have seen many flights of American planes in the western sky.  Once they passed directly overhead.  Occasionally we can hear what we think are bombs bursting.  They are evidently bombing Nagoya which is around 58 air kilometers from here.  The planes at that distance appear merely as vapor streaks.  In a clear blue sky they look like a motor boat moving on a calm lake leaving a narrow white foamy wake that gradually widens out behind until it expands itself in the water.  The Japanese at the shot seem to watching them just as much as we do and refer to them as B-ni ju ku’s”.

I had a very nice lunch today—In a pan lightly greased with shoe grease I put my bowl of grain and diakons to this I added some boiled Irish potatoes that I got working two days ago in the galley, some dried sweet potatoes that the old lady gave me at the shop.  Then I poured over this a paste of soya bean meal (issued) and a little barley flour (acquired).  After baking it off in the barracks I ate it with as much enjoyment as I used to have eating what the free Americans can have every day.

 

Jan. 30

Bath today.   Rumors rampant.  I guess anything can happen now and soon.  Was discussing sour cream pies with Perry last nite and we both agreed that as our respective mothers made them they were by far the best bit of pastry there is.  Weighed 62.8 on the 28th.

 

Jan. 31

Work slacking off in the shop.  Fixing four cement mixers, putting bearings in motors and other small odd jobs.  Still dreaming all most every night of food and home.  Last night I was in the kitchen with mother.  She was making biscuits and I asked her if she would make a little corn bread.  I am always dreaming of Mary and me making fudge.  I guess my great worry in here is that I might get out and not find the McCotter tribe intact, but I try very hard not to think of it.

 

Feb. 11

Washed my underclothing and took a bath yesterday.  Temperature was 16 degrees F when went to work at 0700.  Average temp is between 43 and 48.  I have been sleeping warm tho.  Today my shelter half was taken from me because one of the guards wanted it.  All officers in and camp and most of the guards are sick with the flu.  A few days ago at around 1930 o’clock the discovery was made by the galley crew that the lock on the storeroom was pried loose.  One Englishman was caught in the vicinity.  A report was made immediately to Japanese headquarters.  Shortly thereafter both bahays were called to attention by the sergeant and the interpreter, we were told what took place and the man who did it was asked to step forward.  As nobody moved two men who had previously stolen food were called forward and questioned.  We were told after the above mention men returned to their places in rank that we would have to stand at attention until a man confessed.  We were left along quite a bit by the guards and during one of the lulls, when they were not in the bahay haranguing us, the doctors came in and told Whitfield told us that the interpreter advised him that if the man they had been looking for came forward and admitted breaking the hasp the interpreter would see that he received very light punishment and nothing would be done to the camp as a whole.  Finally at 2200 we were dismissed after being told that every night would be the same and that we would have no more fires until the man was found.  We had a fire the following morning, however, and again that evening.  During the afternoon the number one suspect, the Englishman, caught the night of the crime, was given a beating and questioning by the interpreter.  He finally admitted doing it and implicated one more man.  The final outcome was that the first man was given a sentence of seven days in the brig with four blankets and 1/3 ration in the evening.  He is to work during the day.  The other lost his commissary privileges (which are Nil) and any other special privileges (of which there are none.)

We were told on the job today that in eight more days we would know if this camp is broken up or not.  Come on yanks and tanks.

 

Feb. 19

Very nice day today.  Saw eight-six B-29’s go over, myself and hear more.  Some people on other jobs saw over one hundred.  Have very little work at the shop.  Camp Commander is interested in increasing the variety of our food, or so he says.  He wants to put the RC food out through the galley.  Nobody wants it that way.  Too much leakage out the back door.  On the fifteenth everyone was given one quarter of a RC box.  That much eaten can be eaten in one meal.  Food is getting scarce for the people outside.  No more soup at lunch at the shop.

 

Feb. 25

Yasumi.  Bath.  Was left pretty much alone all day and had fires in the barracks until late in the afternoon.  Well over a hundred (we estimated) B29’s went over.  They couldn’t be seen because we were having quite a heavy snowstorm down here.  When the planes were heard two guards came down to the barracks and ran everyone inside (people were going to the bathhouse).  Our fires had to be put out and they acted very excited over I know not what.  They were carrying rifles with fixed bayonets, too, which they seldom do now and have not done since.  We got our fires back in about thirty minutes.  Later everyone was issued a quarter pound of tea and a couple of ounces of horseradish powder, and a pack of tobacco.

 

Mar. 1

Yesterday all but one of the shonnips (?) were out looking for food.  There seems to be no more in Mitushima or very little.  The old men at the shop told us they were not rationed just 2/3 as much food as heretofore.  The granted men in camp are now eating less than we are and are demanding  the burnt rice scrapings from the bottom of the pot.  Temperature this morning at 06:30 was 25 degrees F.

 

Mar 2

Today three officers came into the camp, Lt. Brown, USN, 1st Lt. Van Wormer, USA, and Lt. Mcgrath;  R.A. Brown is a  ? man. Eng. Officer on Sculpin when it was sunk.  VanWormer a pilot of a B-24 when it was shot down.  Both left the States a year after we were captured.

 

Mar. 5

Yasumi.  Had very good day; bath, fires, no work, pack of tobacco (so called tobacco).  Have had some good talks with Brown.  He holds us all rapt with attention every time he talks of the good old U.S.A . We are all so hungry for information from home.  He holds out no hope for a very near ending of the war, however.  Am hungrier than hell all the time.  Dreamed of food and the old bicycle shop last night.  Average ration now for 211 men: breakfast 30 kilots barley, 14 rice, 30 diakons, lunch 24 barley, 14 rice, 9 soya beans, 30 diakons, supper 33 barley, 14 rice, 30 diakons.  With so many diakons and tops in the grain, it cooks off rather wet and very unpalatable.  I miss salt so badly of it was available could eat it by the spoonful.

 

Mar 5

Rest day.  Bath. Pack of tobacco.  The tobacco is not really tobacco but some kind of a shredded weed flavored in some manner to taste like tobacco.  It isn’t good, but like everything else we receive just a substitute until we can get something better.  Chow is very poor again.  Nothing but barley and diakens, although today as a special diet we had red beans boiled up with a little sugar.

 

Mar. 7

Had my first taste of roasted grasshopper out at the shop yesterday.  They were pretty good.  There is lots of work at the shop now.  We are repairing cement mixers, air compressors and motors.

 

Mar. 8

One more man from the shop was called up to the army today.  That makes four since I started working there.  This one has a wife and one child; the last one had six kids.  The word now at the shop is that is folding up.  Two other of the hands are going to Nagoya the eleventh to work in the Navy yard. Fires were burning in the barracks when we got in at 1630, so most of the men stay in camp now or make a trip to the hills for wood and get in early.  Only 35 men go out not on outside details where formerly 175 to 200 went out.  After our supper of barley, no soup, we eat around the fire and talked of food in general; pies especially.  We all came to the agreement that apple was the favorite in the states, mince next, but I extolled the comparable virtues of mother’s sour cream pie until I was asked by Kearns and Philipps to promise to get and send them the recipe when this is all over.

 

Mar. 10

Bath today.

 

Mar. 11

Today the cam guards received their first “no.”  The limey officers in camp are a pair of old maids and have not the gumption to do anything but acquiesce when the Nipponese make a demand on them.  But this morning when Brown, VanWormer, and McGrath were told to go out on the wood detail, they steadfastly refused.  The Sargeant was highly indignant and he “dam”d” and sabra hoyed” for some time while swinging on them with a straw rope.  They were not beaten about, however, but made to “kiotaki” in front of the administration building until the C.O. came in.  That worthy immediately took them into his office and had a talk with via the interpreter.  The C.O. was very reasonable and told them he realized that as officers they need not work but they might like the exercise of carrying wood.  They countered that they did not need the exercise, but if he, the  C.O., would order them on it they would go.  He retorted that he would not order them but suggested that they go.  They did not like the suggestion and so now remain in camp.

 

Mar. 14

Rained like a cow and a flat rock all day.  Shorty was ordered into the army.  That leaves only three Nips at the shop.  Sato came back from Nagoya.  Today was declared a yasumi day instead of tomorrow as the men could not go to the mountains after wood in the rain.  Had a bath when we came in from work and were told that tomorrow would be our (oiwa) yasumi day.

Lastly we received one Red Cross parcel to every two men.  The parcels were issued before evening tenko as was evening chow.  I drew a box with the little Indian Joe Kycomia.  Tenko was held in the barracks on account of rain.  After tenko every one immediately went about the very pleasant chore of splitting the contents of his jointly owned box very precisely into two even portions.  The morale hits a new high with each issue.  Each article must be cut exactly in the middle if it must be split in twain to be divided.  No six year old sat down on deck and nervously and eagerly unfastened a tinsly be-frufrued Christmas box with half the pleasure and expectancy as he thought of what it might contain as do these full grown men as they kneel down in their sleeping bags and rip the cover from off a food parcel.  The barracks gets noisier as the boxes are opened.  It keys one up to see real food.  There is heard cries of “Did we get raisins or prunes?”  Some parcels contain a pound of raisins, some prunes.  Raisins are preferred.  “How many packs of butter did we get?”  Some have five, some six or seven even ten.  “Did we get four cans of  butter?”  Some have received only three.  And so on.  Then the division starts.  Two even piles are generally started.  A pack of gum here, one there.  A bar of chocolate here, another with the other gum.  Two packs of cigarettes here, two there.  What shall we do with the odd pack?  “Split it or cut cards for it” queries one of a team.  “Split it, I’m no gambler,” is quite often the quick answer or “Swap it to you for your interest in the jam.”

When the cheese comes up for division, one man very carefully measures off the exact middle and cuts through.  He straightens up, looks at the other and says, “there it is, suits me.  I cut it, you take your choice.”  A piece is selected and placed on the proper pile.  A piece is selected and placed on the proper pile.  “I divided the cheese, you split the raisins.”  And so one through the coffee, milk and the rest.  The first items used are generally a cigarette and a cup of coffee.  Coffee and cigarettes are not exactly food items, but more should be put in the packages for the Americans.  As morale lifter-uppers they are tops.  I drank a pint and a half of coffee just as soon as my package was divided.

 

March 15

Scarcely slept all night as a result of my coffee binge.  Ate barley and cheese for breakfast, barley and fish and a pudding made from barley, sugar, raisins and chocolate boiled together and powdered milk added with when it came off the fire.  It was very good but not very sweet, due to not enough sugar, not very chocolatey due to not enough chocolate, and very few raisins due to not enough raisins.  Ate plain barley and diakons for supper.  The     (?) detail did nothing all day.  The others stayed in camp on account of inclement weather and saved up some of the wood they carried in the last nine days.

 

Mar. 18

Today Williams, Benjamin M., USMC, died of over exertion with a beri beri heart.  This morning when the wood detail fell in additional men who ordinarily work inside camp were called up to bolster its strength.  Many of these men did not have shoes to wear because they either did not own a pair or had lent them to outside workers who had none.  The Japanese clothing checker had advised this.  Nevertheless when they fell in with the wood detail they were beaten because they had no shoes.  Williams was one of these.  Later when many of the men passed out coming down the mountain they were again struck for fainting.  Some of the men, including Williams had to be carried to camp but they were made to walk through the main gate and to their bahay.  Williams was turned into the hospital when he came in and died  around 2000.

 

Mar. 19

All light duty men now wear a blue tag.  Those with weak hearts wear a red one.  Weighed in at 59.3 K.

 

Mar. 20

No fire in the barracks tonight.  Miss it very much.  Cannot boil tea or heat the soup.  We had our first fire in five gallon cans in three different spots in the barracks.  Every night after tenko they were lit off and the men in each section formed a group around the fire.  Most of the time the fire cans were so festooned with canteens that they could scarcely be seen.  In the bottom of the fire can was an oven that I fashioned at the shop.  In this a mess kit could be placed and the barley ration browned off.  Some men held their mess kits of grain over and open flame and smoked and burned it off just to change the flavor and get away from the everlasting sameness in taste that is characteristic of our food.  I miss salt very badly.  With the same announcement that cancelled fires, permission to wear overcoats in camp was withdrawn.

 

Mar. 21

Wednesday.  First day of spring.  Lowest temp in barracks last night 46 degrees.  Temp at tenko at 0630, 31 degrees.  It was very warm today but is uncomfortably chilly this evening.  Where heretofore everyone sat around the fire in the evening, now most make up their bunks as soon as they finish eating and turn in to keep warm.  I am wearing my overcoat now and I am not too warm.  I had often heard the expression “cold and hungry” used to describe discomfort.  I do not believe anybody who has been cold, colder than hell, with no place to get warm, and as hungry as that mother wolf with several offspring, with absolute inability to satisfy that hunger can possibly know what miserableness that expression describes.  Hope this is over soon.

 

Mar. 22,

At 0032 a Limey named Austed (?) died of pneumonia.  The doctors put out a call for sulfapyradene of sulfathiazole for two more pneumonia cases who are very low.  I turned in about six grains of powdered sulfathiazole and from the individuals in camp enough was turned in to probably pull these two through.  There are thousands of tablets of this drug lying in Tokyo.

 

Mar. 25

Was supposed to have a rest day today but it was delayed until tomorrow.

 

Mar. 26

Yasumi. Bath.  Held field day in barracks all morning.  The upper bays were very dirty due to the smoke from the fires the past weeks.  I had a very delicious loaf and made up of four ounces of spiced luncheon meat “Pres” (?), barley, red pepper and rice polishings or bran.  I toked it into the fire  that was lit of for the bath.  In the afternoon we were issued about four ounces of very musty tea, a 12 ounce can of yellow powder that they called mustard, this for 13 men to split, and another yellow powder that is labeled ginger, this for eight men.  The tea tastes moldy, the other two have no taste.  Then we were given , each man about two ounces of moldy red pepper and about an ounce of brown powder that is called, out here, coffee.

No wonder they drink tea.  This brown powder could as well be called cocoa or postum—it resembles them as much as it does coffee.  It is better than the tea, however, and I mix it with hot water and drink it.  We also received a package of tobacco that is popularly known as “hair.”  It resembles in texture and color a bundle of hair cut from mane of a sorrel horse.  The horse hair would probably be the best smoke.  It is a very valuable commodity because of its scarceness and can be traded for food any time.  I smoke all I can get but do not trade food for it.

 

Mar. 27

Worked all day welding.  Ate the last little piece of my chocolate this evening for dessert.

 

Mar. 29

At the last bit of RC food tonight, can of salmon.

 

Apr. 1

Have been sick all day—a headache and diarrhea.  Am welding every day now at the shop.  This evening we had a sort of church service conducted by Dr. Whitfield.  It was opened by singing “Onward Christian Soldiers”.  The Twenty Third Psalm was read. Some more from the bible and although it was supposed to be non-sectarian was held in a very Roman Catholic manner and everyone was supposed to repeat the “Apostles Creed,” wherein one says he believes in the Holy Roman Catholic Church.  They sort of slid that one in on some of us.  The Lord’s Prayer was said in unison by all hands.  It was secured by singing of “O God, Our Help in Ages Past.”

 

Apr. 4

Rained all day.  Still running and sometimes losing the race a little bit.

 

Apr. 5

 Still raining.  Bath today.

 

Apr. 12

In the past few days we have been issued three pieces of soap.  One was a quarter of a bar of Fels Naptha from the states—the other were Nip.  Some R.C. tooth powder, socks, tooth brushes, shaving cream, sewing kits, pencils, shoe polish—an item per person.  I received a box of shoe polish.  No more vegetables in camp except diakons.

 

Apr. 13

Early this morning Skebina, (?) a soldier died of a brain injury received some weeks ago.  He had been in a semi-coma most of the past few days and this morning grew weaker and after a few hours of artificial respiration passed away.  Maybe he was lucky—he is at least out of prison and will have no more hungry, cold, miserable, homesick days to go through. We are out of all grain, but rice so today we had two meals of rice with the ever present and noxious diakons.  For supper a small loaf of bread made of flour and water.  As there is no galley ovens, the dough is placed on racks in the rice pots and water is boiled under it—the steam cooking the dough.

 

Apr. 14

The small meals of rice and of much smaller gob of sticky dough known here as bread.

 

Apr. 15

Two more small meals of rice and the “bread,” so called, was even less in quantity and more doughy than heretofore.  They are having very bad luck with their yeast.  The dough will not rise.  Today was yasumi day.  We got a hot bath, a small box of moldy red pepper and one half pack of hair.  For the past 30 days we have been looking forward to the day we receive some more RC food, but as of yet, 2000, none.  The C.O. was not in camp today so maybe tomorrow. 

 

Apr. 16

Welded all day at the shop.  No RC chow today.  It sure takes the spirit out of one to be so disappointed.  There are few enough things to be cheerful about.  Kinda wish I was with Skebina.  I am very hungry as the grain issue is small and there are no vegetables but diakons and gobo.  Weighed in at 58.9 kilos today.

 

Apr. 18

Still on small rations.  This morning we had the smallest issue of grain since arriving at this camp.  It was half diakons.  Last evening we only had a small loaf of bread and weed soup.  Our noon ration today was almost half weeds.  A very, very unpalatable mixture.  Stoley and Debord arrived back in camp form Shinagawa today.  They brought news of many of the men we left behind at Hetachi and of the draft who went to camp 8D another copper mine.  8D seems to be a son of a bitch.  There were 39 men in the hospital from there, mostly malnutrition and beri beri.  They also brought news of the latest drafts from P.I.-four survivors out of an 1800 man draft, etc.—come on Yanks!

 

Apr.19

Boy! Oh Boy! Oh Boy! Came in tonight from work and one half of a RC box of food was waiting for us.  We are working until 1700-30 now.  Hear that Germany was wurai as of today.  Mixed up some powdered milk, raisins, sugar, butter for my morning grain.  Drank some coffee with milk and sugar and ate some cheese.

 

Apr. 22

RC chow all gone except coffee.  Traded my chocolate and one can of butter for two cups of coffee.

 

Apr. 25

Yasumi.  Bath.  Cleaned up barracks this morning, sewed on my shoes all rest of day.  Drew pack hair.

 

Apr. 26

Moved the large lathe out of the shop today and crated it for shipping.

 

Apr. 27

Crafted up one molding machine for shipping today.  Guess the shop will fold up soon.

 

May 1

May Day  in the States.  Lei Day in Hawaii, but just one more day for “them” and one less for “us” here.

 

May 2

Back on straight rice.  Chow is slimmer than it has even been in this camp.  One more guard leaving today.  The old ones leaving are being replaced by mere children.  Two of the new replacements look to be about thirteen years old.

Yesterday we had shark’s head soup for supper.  The heads were chopped up and boiled with a small amount of shredded cabbage and soya.   When I had drunk the liquid off my ration there in the bottom of my reposing on a few shreds of cabbage, like a lone egg in a sparsely strawed nest, and leering at me like the orb of Cyclops, was a large eyeball.  I stared back at it for awhile, but was out-stared so with my spoon I gently raised it up and shaking from it a couple of spare pieces of cabbage adhering to it, I threw it away.   Food is scarce.  That was wasting food, but I could not eat the God damned thing even tho I could drink the broth from it.  This morning we heard again that Germany was under the leadership of Rimmler, had surrendered.  Come on Yanks!

 

May 5

Yasumi.  Bath.  Half pack of “hair”.  Chow is now at the lowest it has been so far.  No vegetables, just weed and rice.  Very little rice.  Everybody is getting that gnawing hunger again that makes me constantly talk of food while awake and dream of it at night.  When I get back, I am going to have my mother make a sour cream pie for me for every meal.  I sure hope she is canning up a lot of jams and jellies like we used to do.  I am so hungry for pastries and sweets.

We heard that Hitler and Mussolini are both dead and that Germany surrendered between the 28th April and 2nd May.

 

May 8

Weighed in at 57.6 kilos.  Chow is very, very scarce.  Every day now a detail of men goes to the mountains and gathers weeds.  These are mixed with the grain and boiled for soup.  Both ways make a very foul mixture.  Most everyone including myself has diarrhea, as a result, we are in that starved down condition that makes food ever in our thoughts waking or sleeping.  Last night I dreamed that Mary cooked hot cakes for me for six hours.  We were in the old house in the back of the bike shop.  In the mood I am in now I am now of the opinion that when I get home again I am going to eat a sour cream pie or two for breakfast, a devil’s food cake with black walnuts or three, for lunch, and several kilos or more of Dad’s special strawberry shortcake for dinner.  And wash each down with gallons of sweet coffee half cream.  I am so hungry for jams, jellies and pastries.  And so sick of being a prisoner.  Each day, now that we here think it might soon be over, drags out so long.  It has been over three years now and each one has been triple in length.

Am now reading a “Complete Shakespeare.”  Recently finished the “The Land is Bright,” a very poor novel of pioneers westward.  Just since I started this entry have heard at least ten men near me say,  “I wish this damned war would end.”  I wish this damned war would end.

 

May 12

Weighed in at 57 kilos. 

 

May 12

The boys were over this fair isle today.  We could hear the dull rumbling of bombs bursting over  Nagoya for about two hours 1000-1200.  Shortly thereafter, the entire sky in that direction was filled with a dark smoke.  Sweating out RC chow tomorrow.

 

May 15

Yasumi.  Bath.  I started out very optimistic today and did not eat my morning ration of rice in order that I could quan it up with my RC food when I got it.  Sure enough about 0900 we got a half box per person.  Half the milk, however, went to the hospital.  I immediately mixed my raisins, breakfast rice, five cubes sugar, half my milk powder and half a can of butter and baked it off my mess kit.  I drank a canteen cup of coffee with two sugar cubes while doing this.  While the above mixture was baking, I mixed a quarter can of butter, two sugar cubes, and two squares of chocolate with about five tablespoons of water and boiled it down then I fixed a tablespoon of milk powder and when my bake was done I poured this over it and ate it.  I had also sampled my half bar of cheesed.  I swapped two pack cigarettes for half box raisins and one pack for a mess kit of rice.  I mixed these together with some butter and baked it.  I ate part of this and I am saving some for the morning.  My noon ration I put in a quan pot with half a can of corned beef, half a can of butter, that I traded half a can of pate for, and about four ounces of rice polishings (bran).  This I boiled and ate for dinner.  For supper I boiled some cheese up with my remaining small amount of milk powder and poured this over my grain ration.  I am fairly full and my RC food is about gone.  I drank coffee all day and it is almost gone.

 

May 16

Did not sleep about a half hour last night.  Slept about an hour this noon at the shop.  We got in 85 50 kilo bags of barley this afternoon so we will get no more rice.  Tonight we had a loaf of steamed bread instead of grain.  The bread is rather soggy.  Early this afternoon when the CO of the camp went into the galley he saw six loaves of the bread toasted off.  They were for the six officers.  When he inquired about them the men in charge of the galley told him they were for the galley force.  He asked if the rest of the men in camp would like to toast theirs too.  When told that they would, he ordered that we build fires in the barracks tonight.

 

June 1st, 1045

Was taken off Oiwe (?) detail and put on carrying rocks just outside camp.  Nothing worth noticing has happened since last entry.  Have seen some light American planes overhead a couple of times though.  Probably P-38’s.  Turned in all our winter clothing yesterday.  Details are picking up and more men are being sent out every day.

 

July

Many more air alarms this month.  Rations hit a new high the first part of the month and are now at a new low.  On the 2nd a Korean woman was killed just outside by the gate by a car which broke loose on the incline to the Station and struck her.  Entered hospital on 29 June with 104 fever, developed diarrhea and stayed there until the 17th July taking the starvation cure no medicine.  Started to work again at Iwatia.  Job consists of filling in old tunnel with earth to make a deck for the installation of machinery.  Finished this job and got on a ten man detail placing machinery in newly decked tunnel.   Mostly lathes and grinders.  Tunnel is almost fifty feet in diameter fully cemented and was a tube to feed water into the impellers of giant generators as part of the former dam project.  On the 13th Gunso Watanabe came to camp.  A much talked about and feared Nip.  On the 14th he held us at attention at evening quarters for quite a time.  Two men passed out.  On 26 June 100 officers came into camp, all British.  The terror said he was to discipline them.  He gives them hell.  Sprained my foot badly on the job and spent the 5,6,7 and 8 on wechushin (?) in camp.  On 15th  received last RC food, one box to seven men.  The new Gunzo beat Cooley about the head and shoulders with fist and bamboo stick until he was almost unrecognizable.  Cooley was caught smoking before reveille.  In addition, Cooley had to stand at attention from around 1700 until 2300.  He was to receive no evening meal either.  On the 18th the Terror broke up our barracks from one end to the other.  Something we had been anticipating.  He tore up snapshots, collected anything that struck his fancy.  He missed this book because it was buried.

 

Aug.

Chow in camp is still at its lowest but we get a milk can (powdered milk) of cooked soya beans every day from young Iwatia.  On the 14th we all left our jobs as usual.  On the 15th we had a very easy going yasumi, one arm in charge.  Then at evening tenko it was announced that we would not go to work on the morrow and not until further notice.  The 16th passed with rumors of the war being over.  The guards avoided coming around the barracks and we had short snappy tenkos.  On the 17th a paper entered camp.  It said, The Emperor graciously has decided to allow the war to come to a close and accept the terms of the Potsdam manifest.  This caused no particular display of emotions on anybody’s part.  We all believed it so on the 16th.  On the 16th the gardens in camp were practically stripped of everything, squash, green tomatoes, cucumbers, and green beans.  Today (afternoon of the 18th) all pretence had been laid aside.  The guards are staying at their end of the camp, we in the barracks.  When a guard goes by he is either saluted indifferently by some not all of the prisoners, or ignored.  The Camp Commander has gone to Toklo, the Terror is in charge.  People outside camp have been making signs at us often that the war is over.  (Hands in air, similar gestures).  I am very anxious to see the stars and stripes again, get home and start my program of eating and rehabilitation.  On the 16th received three lettes from Dad and Mom and one from Mary.  Weighed in at 56 kilos on the 15th.

 

Aug. 24, Thursday

Have just been lying around camp in my bunk mostly.  The result can’t sleep nights because I sleep in the day time.  On the 21st the Terror left camp after giving us one extra meal the evening of the 20th.  He had increased the rations by 100 percent for the 21st.  Everybody is getting slacker and slacker in regards to discipline laid down by the Nips.  The goon came into the barracks once and was given such a heckling he has not been back.  Yesterday evening we were given five cigarettes each and a half pack of hair.  Dobler and I had some “hair” saved up and with this we were getting extra rice.  Today the Camp Commander, whose return from Tokyo we all have been so anxiously looking forward to, called Commander Richardson, R.N., up to the office and told him the final armistice was now signed.  We were to be treated according to international rules, since the 16th and that tomorrow a plane would fly over this camp.  We must construct a large wooden sign in the form “P.W.” for this event.  Of course everybody is now offering their idea of what will be dropped because we all think it will drop something.  The Terror returned this morning.  Yesterday we got permission to slaughter a pig and it was duly dispatched this morning. Tonight we will eat some of it.  A message was also sent to Tokyo to the R.C. representative  requesting a list of medicines the doctors devised, a request of food and a message to the next of kin of all persons here telling them we were well.  These days of waiting, when I know it so close to all over seem to drag by so very slowly.  I keep telling Dobler about mother’s jams, jellies, sour cream pies, devil’s food cakes and waffles until he is bored stiff.  Since the 16th I have read “Kenilworth”, “Old Montatity”, “Woodstock,” “The Last Adam” and am now on the “History of Civilization,” by Thorndike.  Most of us hope to be home by Thanksgiving Day, and every time I think of it I can hardly sit still.  Another thing the end of this war does for us “Yanks’ is deliver us from these damned Englishmen next door.  Our fondest hope is that we leave camp in separate details so we will be rid of them that much sooner.

 

Aug. 30

No word from Tokyo whatsoever.  We cannot understand the attitude of the Americans or even the RC representatives who leave us entirely in the dark as to when we will leave here.  Rumor has us leaving the 11th.  Food has increased in quantity now, and we have received two packs of cigarettes (20) and one and one half packs tobacco, a half of a small can of salmon, one can oranges (half at a time) and one and one half pears since the 15th August.  We are conducting our own tenko (muster) and in every other way entirely independent of Jap headquarters except for the issuing of rations.  We are eating half barley and half rice now.  About 600 grams a meal. The airplanes that was to drop food to us is now know as the “Phantom”.  It was supposed to come over on the 17th.  That day it rained and for the following days it rained steadily and the sky was heavily overcast.  We thought that maybe when clear weather set in it would come.  The last three days, however, have been clear with a high ceiling and no plane.  We are discouraged as hell.  A couple of papers have come in and we learned that Americans are in Tokyo (why oh why don’t we get some word from them ) and that today many American ship enter the harbor.

 

Sept. 1

At 1100 THE PLANES CAME!  Six of ‘em.  Three days ago Doc. Whitfield left for Tokyo with a patient.  Today a Dupe (?) attached to the Swiss Embassy came into camp with a message from him.  In the message the doc stated that we were really in a forgotten compound.  It was only after he had told them of us that a plane was dispatched our way.  They dropped four food packages.  One carried away from its chute and was ruined.  The other came down alright, two in camp and one within a few feet of the river (close call).  They contained ham, chicken a la king, roast beef.  Not enough to divide up, but all went into the galley so we will all get a small portion.  We each got eleven luckies and one small (very small) piece of hard candy.  I have already eaten my candy.  The Nips gave us ten cigarettes, half a can of salmon and a can of oranges today.

 

Speech made by LT ASAKA on the day of our release from Japanese Militrary Authorities, August 20, 1945

 

“Peace has come to the world again, it is a pleasure to me, to say nothing of you, announce it for all of you now.  The Japanese Empire has acknowledged the term of the suspension of hostilities given by the American Government, even though these two nations do not still reach the best agreement in a truce.  As a true friend from now, I am going to do my best in the future for the convenience of your life in the camp.  Because of being able to have friendly relations between them and also the Japanese Government has decided her own national policy of your nation, therefore I hope that you will help us comfortable daily life in the order of your officers, while you are staying here.  All of you will get such gladness in returning to your lovely country.  At this time the core of my wishes is this: that your health and happiness fall upon you, your life hencefore and they will grow up happier and better than before, by the honor of your own country.  In order to guard your life, I have been endeavoring my own ability, therefore you will cooperate with me in any way than usual, I hope.  I enclose this statement in letting you know again that peace already has come.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

.