|Statement of Fred CHICK|
"I Fred Chick, do solemnly and sincerely declare that I am now residing at No. 11, Beadon Road Halcon Estate, TAUNTON, which is my permanent home address, and am employed as a cellarman by a firm of Wine and Spirit Merchants in Tuanton.
In the matter of war crimes committed by Japanese Nationals and in the matter of the ill treatment of prisoners-of-war at Fukuoka 19, 11 and 8B Prisoner of War camps.
On the 8th March, 1942, whilst serving as a Gunner in the 48th light Ack-Ack Regiment, R.A., in Java, I was taken prisoner by the Japanese. I was subsequently transported by ship, in a party of about three thousand prisoners-of-war, to Japan, and was interned in Moji Camp -- I do not know the number of this camp -- in the Fukuoka area, on or about the 27th November, 1942. I was one of 278 men, including a doctor and a few medical orderlies, who were separated from the main party and placed in Moji camp. At the time I was serving as an orderly. Of the original party of 278 men, 122 died during the first three weeks in this camp. The doctor mentioned was Captain A. Berkeley Regimental Doctor to the 48th Lt. A.A. Regiment, and two of the orderlies were Gunner J. Baker, now living at Nursery Crescent, North Anston, Near Sheffield, and Bombardier F. E. Pentland, now living at 29, Hawthorne Road, Sutton Surrey. After the first month in this camp I ceased to be an orderly and became a member of a working party, working as stevedores in the harbour at Moji.
I was in Moji Camp for about 12 months but was taken ill with pleurisy about June, 1943, and when I partially recovered, about three months later, I was sent out to work loading railway wagons. I continued doing this work until early in December, 1943 when I was included in a party of forty medically graded men and sent to another prisoner of war camp known as Kashii, about 40 miles away, but still in the Fukuoka area. Whilst in this camp we were employed as labourers making roads etc. at an ordnance dump, the camp being situated actually on the site of this dump. I remained there until the last summer of 1944, when the whole camp was moved en bloc to Sitholme (I am not at all sure of this spelling) [Mushiroda (all instances hereafter changed)], which was a matter of four or five miles distant. This was a temporary camp, set up for the purpose of accommodating prisoners engaged in the construction of an aerodrome. I know that this camp was known as No. 1 Camp. It was still in the Fukuoka area and under the command of the Japanese officer who commanded at Kashii.
I remained in this camp until the 3rd December 1944, when I was included in a party of nearly a hundred men who were moved to Inasukomachi [Inatsuki-machi (all instances hereafter changed)], an entirely different camp, in the northern part of the island. This camp was known as camp No. 11 [11-D], and was about a 10 to 12 hour train journey from Mushiroda. I remained in this camp up to the time of our release in August, 1945. Whilst at this camp we had at least three different camp Commandants, and I worked during the whole period in the Kofune-Komoko [Kamo-o] mines, about ten minutes walk from the camp. We eventually left this camp during September, 1945, when we were taken over by the U.S. Army.
FOOD AND CLOTHING.
During the whole period of my internment the food was inadequate. Feeding was similar in all camps. Except in the case of men under punishment the food was reasonably fairly distributed under a rationing system administered by our superior officers. The bulk of the food was rice, which was occasionally supplemented by potatoes, green stuffs comprising chrysanthemum leaves, bean tops and seaweed, soy beans a small portion of meat (very rarely), and bread. The only drink supplied was a sort of green leaf tea, which we usually got three times a day.
Moji was the best of the camps in this respect, probably because it was near the docks. I was getting three meals a day, rice and bean soup for breakfast, three flour buns as a midday meal for outdoor workers, and rice and bean soup as an evening meal. Every man's meal was measured, on account of the meagre supplies, and the total supply for the day would not equal, in quantity, only one normal British Army meal. As a result, almost without exception, all men lost considerable weight, and I personally lost a good two stones over the period of my internment.
The cooking was done by fellow prisoners of war under Japanese supervision and was as good as conditions would allow.
The quantity of food supplied per man at Kashii, Mushiroda and Inatsuki-machi was less than at Moji and poorer in quality. There was slightly more variety however. No special provision was made for sick cases by the Japanese themselves.
We learnt, by experience that it was useless to complain about the food, because any such complaint wherever made, resulted invariably in brutal treatment of the person complaining, usually the party leader (hancho).
On the whole clothing, although rough and usually ill fitting, was adequate in the matter of warmth, and replacements were obtainable when absolutely necessary. The worst part of the clothing was footwear. Whilst at Moji boots were replaced by "tabis" [sandals], and men with unusually large feet were often forced to walk bare-footed. Clothing conditions were roughly similar at all four camps.
HYGIENE AND SANITATION.
As judged my British standards conditions of hygiene and sanitation were primitive, and were similar in all camps. Latrine facilities were in the Japanese style. The latrines were enclosed and partitioned into cubicles by means of tree bark partitions. These partitions covered a concreted pit which was boarded over at floor level and each cubicle floor space contained a hole, about 15 ins. X 3 ins., through which men used to defecate into the pit below. These pits were never disinfected, neither were they washed out. They were swarmed with flies and maggots and were often a feeding ground for poultry. They were emptied as far as possible by our own men, doing camp fatigues, and personnel engaged in these fatigues often included officers. The system for emptying these latrines was by ladling the contents into wooden pails, which were carried to the perimeter fence and emptied into water carrying ditches which irrigated the surrounding rice fields. There was no special provision made for sick cases or men suffering from infectious or skin diseases by the Japanese themselves. Such facilities as existed for men who could not get about were improvised by our medical staff.
The camps were kept as clean as possible by the men themselves, either by men on fatigue duties or during our spare time. The only cleaning utensils provided by the Japanese were brushwood brooms, and these were often unserviceable through wear. The camp refuse was also deposited in the surrounding ditches.
Water supply was adequate. At Moji and Inatsuki-machi, there was a steel pipe and tap supply but at the other camps it came from an open lake or reservoir and was fed through bamboo pipes. Water from the same source was used for all purposes. At Mushiroda the water lake contained fish and frogs and were often detailed in parties by the Commandant to go to this lake and wade through the water, hunting the fish into nets controlled by the Commandant.
Soap supplies were very meagre. A piece of soap about the size of a packet of ten cigarettes had to last for all purposes for three months.
The Japanese were indifferent towards our general hygiene and sanitation and representations made by our superior officers for improved facilities or increase cleaning materials were invariably disregarded.
It was obvious however that the Japanese themselves were very short of soap and other cleaning materials as the guards themselves frequently pilfered soap and any other commodity which they fancied, from the prisoners' kits.
CAMPS AND QUARTERS.
Moji was by far the best of four bad camps in which I was interned. The Moji camp was a permanent structure and the buildings were weather proof. Judged by our standards we were always overcrowded. Each man had a straw mattress which served as a table and bed according to Japanese practice. There was no inter-mattress space. Kit was kept on a narrow shelf above the head of the bed. The mattresses were always flea-ridden, despite all efforts taken by the men to exterminate them. Nothing was supplied by the Japanese to reduce the fleas, except at Inatsuki-machi, where we were issued with an insecticide powder. The worst feature of the camps was always the latrine facilities.
No provision was ever made for recreation, except at Moji, where there was some sort of stage concert every "yasume" [rest] day, once a fortnight, produced by the men themselves with Japanese permission.
The camps other than Moji were more on temporary lines. The roofs were roughly thatched and far from weather proof. During rough weather it was often necessary to move beds under the sounder parts of the roofs.
Mushiroda was the worst camp in the matter of accommodations. Internal heating of the quarters, however cold the weather, was non-existent, and men were often driven to sleep in pairs for warmth.
Medical supplies were, as far as I know, entirely dependent on the Red Cross, and were totally inadequate to requirements. I never heard of any cases in which liquid medicine was given. Treatment was nearly always external. The Japanese controlled the medical supplies but treatment proper was normally done by the prisoner doctors under Japanese supervision, and only when absolutely necessary.
Moji was again the best camp in this respect, and here in certain cases surgical operations were performed.
Whilst at Moji I was ill with pleurisy. I was marched to work as usual but became ill soon after leaving camp. I reported to our own medical orderly that I could not work and he in turn reported the matter to the Japanese guard. I was, however, taken onto a ship for work with the rest of the party. Our own orderly told me to lie down and rest and whilst I was lying on the deck a Japanese civilian foreman (name unknown) came along, turned me over and looked at me, and then kicked me in disdain. I remained lying on the deck without attention for twelve hours. After returning to camp I was carried inside and later the same night was visited by the Japanese camp doctor, after Dr. Berkeley, our own doctor, had diagnosed pleurisy. I was given M and B tablets, which I believe were surreptitiously obtained by Dr. Berkeley. Subsequently I moved to the sick bay, which was part of the same building, and was treated externally with a sort of liniment, and given intravenous injections. When I could eat I had the same rations as the other prisoners. I was down with this illness for about three months and have never completely recovered. I am now in receipt of a twenty percent disability pension on account of this.
There is no doubt that the chronic lack of medical supplies at Moji was largely responsible for the excessive number of deaths amongst our men during the first few weeks.
The cases of two men, who were simply put in a room and left to die from diphtheria, receiving no treatment whatsoever, stands out in my memory.
The British doctor at Kashii and Mushiroda camps was Captain Wallace of the 21st Light A.A. Regiment.
All prisoners were inoculated four times a year, and also vaccinated. I do not know the source of supply of the vaccines used, but the actual injections were performed by our own medical staff. No time off was allowed following these injections, except in very special cases.
RED CROSS SUPPLIES.
The best of the camps in this respect was Moji. Whilst there I received two complete Red Cross parcels during the 12 months, but the allocation of these supplies was entirely at the mercy of the Japanese, and they used these parcels as a kind of bribe to extort more work from men. We always knew when Red Cross supplies arrived and the approximate number of parcels received as we always carried the parcels into camp from the lorries in which they were brought. It was very obvious that we should have been issued with far more Red Cross supplies than we got. When on detail, working in the Japanese guards' quarters, I frequently saw empty Red Cross bully beef tins and jam tins, so it was apparent our Red Cross goods were being pilfered, and I often heard from our cooks engaged in work in the Japanese cookhouses that they were using Red Cross food. Whilst at Moji there were three different Commandants. They must have known that these supplies were being pilfered as they themselves were receiving them.
I remember the case of 16 men who were employed at Kokura Steel Foundry about six miles from the camp. They were normally issued by the employers with three cigarettes during the afternoon. As a punishment for alleged slacking this allocation was reduced to one cigarette per man. The men refused the one cigarette and as a punishment these men were deprived of their next issue of Red Cross parcels by order of the Commandant. The Japanese Sergeant who announced this punishment concluded with the words "Virtue reaps its own reward."
At Kashii and Mushiroda, which were really the same camp, the allocation of Red Cross supplies was very much worse. I believe we had three issues whilst I was at these camps but one parcel would be split up between from five to fifteen men. The supplies were kept in a store adjoining the cookhouse and the Japanese quite openly helped themselves. We constantly complained to our own officers but they were helpless. The supplies were issued only when the Japanese decided they would issue them and representations tended to result in further delay.
At Inatsuki-machi (Fukuoka 8) I received three issues during the eight month period I was there. Here again each party was split up between from five to ten men so that the total issue to one did not amount to one complete parcel. At this camp the Red Cross supplies were from America and the Japanese were having not only the foodstuffs but also the cigarettes, because we frequently saw them smoking American brands.
When the men had been issued with their Red Cross goods the Japanese guards frequently tried to barter cigarettes for commodities they required, especially sugar and chocolate. Men who craved for cigarettes made exchanges.
I cannot single out any particular Japanese officer or guard as being particularly guilty in the matter of Red Cross supplies. They all seemed equally guilty and the misappropriation of these supplies was done with the knowledge of the camp Commanders.
At Moji, after being put in a working party, I was engaged as a stevedore up to the time of being taken ill. At the first onset the party comprised twenty men and we worked form 9 a.m. to 4-30 p.m. Later the number of men was increased and the working hours increased until finally we worked shifts of twenty four hours every alternate day. The twenty four hours were exclusive of traveling time. We dealt with numerous types of cargo. We started work at 6 a.m. We got a ten minute break at 11 a.m., a break of about 20 minutes for the midday meal, another 10 minute break at 3 p.m., a break of about twenty minutes for a meal at 6 p.m., and another break to eat two rice balls, which were supplied by the firm employing us, at 12 midnight. We were supervised by the Japanese civilians in this work and the conditions were very arduous. They saw to it that we were kept working all the time. As long as the men kept working at full pressure there was no bullying, but men who could not stick the work as well as others were often punched. No sympathy was shown towards the weaker men.
It frequently happened that we were detailed for other work in the camp, during our 24 hours off duty periods, such as unloading coal and other supplies, and we were often disturbed from sleep to do this.
The work at the railway sidings was not so hard and the working day was normally from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., with a break for a midday meal and rice balls at 3 p.m. We got a day off once a fortnight and occasionally we finished before 4 p.m. in the afternoon. I occasionally went out with a working party to the Kokura Steel foundry. The Japanese foreman there - a man named Tamara - was particularly brutal and he frequently punched men and flogged them with his bamboo stick. I happened to miss these floggings. I remember one incident at these works when one of our men, a Scotsman, Gunner "Andy" Gallagher, suggested to the Japanese foreman that the time would come when the Japanese would take orders from us. The foreman reported him to the guard on duty.
This guard, a two-star Corporal (name unknown), picked up a piece of iron ore, on which we were working, and struck Gallagher several times across the face.
At Kashii we worked a comparatively short day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., principally under supervision of the guards. We were principally employed unloading pebble or cobble stone from railway wagons and laying road foundations. This camp was noted the brutality of the Commandant and guards. This Commandant was the worst of all the Commandants with whom I came into contact and he took us from Kashii to Mushiroda. I cannot remember his name.
At Mushiroda working conditions were similar as far as hours were concerned but during this period the weather was very wet and we frequently worked in saturated clothes. We worked under conditions which amounted to slavery and here were continually struck with bamboo poles by the guards, and in particular a guard interpreter named Katsura.
At this camp we were engaged clearing the side of a mountain and transporting the soil about a mile along an improvised line track where an aerodrome was under construction.
I was next employed as a miner at Inatsuki-machi. There were several coal mines in this area and I worked at Kofune during the whole time with at party of British prisoners-of-war. We worked three shifts in rations - mornings, afternoons, and nights, and the actual working period was eight hours. Working conditions were very bad. The methods employed were very crude and we often worked knee deep in water owing to the inadequate pumping system. Water seeped through the roofs of the cuttings and we were always working in wet clothes. We were principally employed on the more difficult tasks of tunneling and driving small branching coal cuttings off the main cuttings. Japanese civilian foreman supervised us and these were some of the most callous Japanese I encountered. They were constantly driving us to work faster, using the term "Speedo" which meant "Faster." They struck us with anything which might be at hand, from lumps of coal or rock to drills. We were allowed one break for a meal, of about twenty minutes duration. We were not permitted to smoke, owing to the presence of gases and we used electric lamps which clipped on our hats and were operated from wet batteries strapped around our waists. Men sometimes developed acid sores from battery leakages and it often happened that the camp doctor accused such men of causing these sores deliberately to avoid work. Unless a man could prove conclusively that a sore was no fault of his own he received a beating. After every day shift, or morning shift, we had to wash out our working clothes on returning to the camp, before going to our quarters. Large concrete baths were installed at the camp and we were allowed hot water but owing to the shortage of soap it was necessary to scrub ourselves clean with brushes.
Pay per day, for any class of work, was ten sen, equivalent to about four or five cigarettes. We averaged about one packet of cigarettes (10) per week.
SAFETY OF PRISONERS.
On the whole the Japanese took reasonable precautions against the risk of accidents to prisoners in connection with work and I saw no accident which I could attribute directly to negligence on their part. At Mushiroda and Kofune they often warned us to look out for signs of rock falls and sometimes they would detail a man to keep a look-out for signs of a fall. Risk of being trapped in the mine through a fall was slight, on account of the number of outlets. Towards the latter end of our internment our safety seemed to become a bigger responsibility to them.
I did not hear of any attempted escape from a camp in Japan as there was no hope of getting right away and punishment would have been of the severest kind.
The safety of prisoners as regards health was largely disregarded, as mentioned previously.
The Japanese seemed to be principally concerned in having available the necessary number of men for a working party. They were not concerned whether these men were fit or otherwise.
I was never interned in an area where they were immediate bombing operations, but we often saw American planes passing overhead, and there were Air Raid alarms at Mushiroda and more often at Inatsuki-machi. The Japanese were particularly strict on our taking immediate shelter. If an alarm sounded shortly before we were due to finish work we remained underground working. If an alarm sounded whilst we were on the surface we were sent to an underground shelter in camp as soon as possible.
TREATMENT BY CAPTURER.
In general our treatment by the Japanese military personnel at these camps was callously brutal throughout and no camp can be singled out as better than the others in this respect. I should say, however, that the superior ranks often treated their own Japanese inferiors with brutality, but not to the same degree.
At Moji men were frequently flogged and beaten for the most trivial reasons, and for almost any excuse, such as improper saluting, failing to salute, answering a guard, etc. Party leaders often took thrashings for alleged defaulting by their men. The forms of punishment varied, the most popular method being thrashing with bamboo poles. It often happened that if the Japanese were investigating some alleged breach of discipline or regulations and they were not satisfied that the offenders responsible had admitted it, the whole camp would be punished the most popular form of punishment being beatings with poles or fists. Men became dishonest out of fear of the consequences of owning up. Officers were in no way exempt from punishment. The chief form in their cases was to make them lie extended on their hands and toes for a period of an hour or more, in view of the rest of the camp. The Medical Officer was usually exempt from this.
In November, 1943, whilst I was still at Moji, I was sitting on a brazier in the camp and there were six other men, including Harry RAMSHAW, a Bombardier of the 6th H.A.A. Regiment, and Gunner Williams, believed of the same Regiment, sitting nearby. It was during the afternoon and it was on one of my rest days. A Japanese medical Sergeant named Sassarki-san [Sasaki-san?] passed into his room across the landing where we were sitting. No one saluted him as no one happened to see him. He sent out a British Medical orderly and instructed us to go to him. We went toward his room and he came out. We were ordered to pick up two long wooden garden forms and hold them at arms length in front of us. I was the middle man of the seven men and was holding the end of each form. We held these forms in this position for an hour without a break, and were under supervision by a Japanese medical orderly named Anui-san. We were allowed to put the forms down at the end of an hour and we were then stood singly at the top of five steps with our backs toward the steps. Each man was then punched in the face by Anui-san and knocked backwards down the steps. We were then lined up at the bottom of the steps. In being knocked down the steps I fell on a heap of coal and strained or sprained an ankle. Anui-san then questioned us in broken English and alleged that we had seen the sergeant but had purposely failed to salute. The other six men admitted, falsely, that they had seen the sergeant and were allowed to go. When my turn came I tried to explain that I did not see the Sergeant. I was then swung over Anui-san's shoulder by a sort of ju-jitsu action and bumped on the floor. This action was repeated time after time. I refused to shout for mercy. Anui-san then flogged me with a bamboo pole between the small of my back and the bend of the knees. He kept on doing this until, I suppose, he had had enough. He then went into the Guard Room and took a long curved sword from the shelf and examined it but replaced it again. He returned to me and recommenced the ju-jitsu stunt, but on this occasion a Japanese guard, whom we knew as "Scarface" because of a noticeable scar on his left cheek, threw a pail of water over me every time I was thrown. I was then called by the Guard Commander (name not remembered) and told to say in the Japanese language, "I am sorry". I repeated this to Anui-san and punishment was stopped. Before I was allowed to go Anui-san called out Dr. Berkeley and his British orderlies and said, "Chick. No treatment," and "Work tomorrow." This total punishment covered a period of three hours and I was then covered in weals and bruises. I returned to my bed space but could not eat and was sick twice. Sergeant VILLIERS, an Irishman, undressed me and put me in dry clothes, ready for the evening roll call. The beating was witnessed by practically all the men then in camp. I went to work next day at the railway siding but was in great pain throughout the day. This was the worst beating I had throughout my imprisonment.
Another particularly bad case occurred at Moji sometime before my case when Sergeant "Eddie" Horton, of the Canadian Air Force, was the victim. The Japanese guard on duty, an ordinary soldier, lean built, told Horton to clean the boots he was wearing. Horton was engaged on camp work at the time and he replied that he had not finished work. The guard then punched Horton in the mouth and the blow split his lip. Horton went into the M.I. room for treatment and Anui-san, the medical orderly, asked him how he got the split lip. Horton said the guard had given it to him. He was ordered out of the M.I. room and followed by Anui-san who picked up a bamboo pole and beat Horton about the head and shoulders until the pole broke up in pieces. He was taken to the Guard Room, his arms were tied behind his head (I did not actually see this part of the punishment) and he was left there for about an hour before being freed. By this time his arms were paralysed that he could not pick up anything at all. The cord marks were clearly visible on his wrists.
On another occasion, before I left Moji, an officer was brutally punished. It happened during the breakfast meal. He should have had for his breakfast meal of which he had been deprived the previous evening as a punishment for pointing out mess buckets with his foot instead of his hand. This evening meal was on the shelf above his head and the officer was having a hot meal. The Japanese guard -- I believe he had a dummy hand on the left side -- questioned him as to why he was having a hot meal. He picked up the enamel plate from which the officer was eating and threw the rice in the officer's face. He then followed through and struck the officer between the nose and mouth with the edge of the plate, causing a deep cut on the upper lip.
I remember a guard at this camp, whom we knew as "Peg Leg." I do not know his Japanese name. He had an artificial leg which squeaked in his boot as he walked. He was not a regular soldier. He had a different sort of uniform. He was a bully but I should not say from what I saw of him that he was one of the worst. He was still at the camp when I left. One of his favorite actions was to pummel men with his fists for untidiness.
Another vicious character who stands out in my memory was the Japanese storeman or quartermaster who carried the rank of jun-i [warrant officer], which was a superior non-commissioned rank. He often struck men across the face with boots or shoes and one of his favorite forms of brutality was to thrash men across the head and face with a leather strap. I remember seeing him thrash an R.A.F. man named Charlie CHADWELL in this fashion, because CHADWELL had lost his hat.
I did not see any personal violence used by the Camp Commandants at Moji. I do not remember any of them by name.
At Kashii treatment of the men was very similar as far as punishments were concerned and beatings were carried out at the least excuse. The Commandant at this camp was particularly brutal. I do not remember his name. He was tall and lean. He subsequently moved with the rest of the camp to Mushiroda and was in charge during this whole time I was there.
One day early in 1944, the Commandant was walking round the site when he saw a party of men behind some railway trucks. These men were having an unofficial break from work. The Commandant called out to a bombardier of the 21st Regiment who was with this party and because the bombardier could not give a satisfactory explanation, the Commandant hit him to the ground and then literally jumped on his stomach. I did not witness the actual occurrence but I saw the bombardier brought back on a stretcher. I do not remember the bombardier's name, except that his Christian name was Fred. On another occasion at Kashii, I was in a party of men returning from a building site to a timber stack, and after having our morning break, presumably because we had not taken our break in the presence of the guards, the Commandant struck each one of us across the buttocks with his sword, as we passed by him. He did not remove the sword from its sheath.
The worst of the guards at Kashii and Mushiroda was a Japanese first class soldier, named Katsura, who was the official interpreter and used to walk around at will. One occasion when he was standing near where a party of us was unloading cobble stones from a railway wagon, one of the stones bounced near him and he accused us of throwing the stone at him. He then collected seven of us, including a man named Gunner Ben Lyon, of the 6th H.A.A. Regt., lined us up, and went along the line, striking each man across the face on both sides with a piece of box wood.
Another Japanese soldier at Kashii, a Sergeant, known to the men as "the Bull", because of his size and his thick neck, frequently resorted to throwing men down by means of a ju-jitsu throw, by slinging them over his shoulder. On one occasion I saw him trying to strangle a man by twisting a neckerchief round the man's neck. "The Bull" appeared to be in a vile temper but I do not remember seeing the outcome of it.
At Mushiroda the interpreter, the same Katsura, was a real slave driver. As we pushed the trucks along the track, usually three men on a truck, he would come along the line behind us, beating us with a bamboo pole to make us go faster and run, and cursing and swearing as he did so. One day he hit a Dutchman across a set of rails and fractured his ribs. He threatened the Dutch Doctor that he would kill him if he reported the incident to the Commandant. I did not see this incident but I saw the Dutchman brought into camp on a hospital stretcher.
One day a Scotsman by the name of Marshall was caught with stolen food in his possession. He was beaten in turn by the guards, about seven of them, for about three quarters of an hour and he was then tied by the wrists and neck to the door post of the guard room in such a way that most of the weight of his body was hanging by the ropes. He was left there in public view until he collapsed. He was then cut down. Marshall was always in trouble and spent much of time in the "dog box," which was the term used for the cells.
Another form of punishment sometimes inflicted was making men kneel across parallel bars, keeping their backs in vertical position or alternatively, making them kneel across two parallel bamboo poles on the ground.
At Inatsuki-machi men were sometimes punished because they had not done enough work. The guard returning with the men from the mine would report these men to the guard commander. Then two guards would take the offender and use him as a human punch ball, knocking him backwards to the ground in one direction, and then picking him up and knocking him forward so that he fell on his face. This sort of thing sometimes happened two or three times a week. One of the guards at Inatsuki-machi was a Korean and he specialised in this form of punishment.
I heard one man, a Dutchman, who was ill at work and was reported for not doing enough work. On returning to camp he was thrashed to a state of unconsciousness. Two doctors, an American and a Dutchman, and two medical orderlies, an American and a British Sergeant in the R.A.M.C., immersed this man in a bath of hot water to revive him. The man died during the night or next morning and was carried away by a burial party for cremation during the afternoon. I did not witness the incident but I saw the body being carried away. I cannot give the names of witnesses but Captain Williams, Adjutant of the 48th Regt., R.A., who was the British Camp Commandant, and whose address is believed to be 54B, Longridge Road, London, S.W.5, could supply further details.
During the winter of 1944-45, the Japanese on one occasion -- I believe it was early in the New Year -- discovered that the Red Cross Store had been broken into and two Red Cross parcels stolen. The two parcels, which had been opened, were found under the floor of the combined mausoleum and church, and I was one of about forty men quartered in this building. Following this discovery the whole camp was paraded and the Japanese Sergeant Major, whom we knew as "Hoppy," and the guards on duty decided, after consulting Captain Williams, that the theft was probably committed by someone from our hut. No one admitted the theft and the men in our hut were threatened that we should be hit about the head with a bamboo pole unless the culprit came forward. This threat was carried out. "Hoppy" went along the line and hit every man on top of the head. In the course of this investigation we were made to stand for five hours in the open in freezing cold weather and were not released until they had discovered the culprit, who was a West Indian of the Dutch Army, known as "Billy the Kid." He was thrashed, kept without food for three days, then allowed half rations for about three days, and finally, when he was not at work, kept in the "dog box" until the war ended.
I did not ever witness the Commandant at this camp strike anyone. I do not know his name.
TREATMENT BY CIVILIANS.
As far as Moji was concerned the worst example of brutal treatment by a civilian which I remember was the incident I have already described, when I was kicked whilst lying ill on board ship at Moji harbour. I cannot identify the culprit. On the whole they treated us tolerantly as long as we kept working hard, but if they witnessed any slacking or easing off they would threaten to report us to the guards.
The only civilians with whom we came into contact were the Japanese workmen at our various places of employment and the foreman. No particular incident involving civilians stands out in my memory as far as Kashii and Mushiroda are concerned.
Our worst treatment by civilians was in the Kofune-Komoko [Kamo-o] mine. The worst offender was a coal mine foreman we knew as Ito-san. The leader of our English working party was Corporal James A. Brandon, who I believe was in the Signals. Brandon was beaten by Ito almost every day for the most trivial reasons, simply because he was the party leader. I did not witness many of these beatings as I was usually working in a different part of the mine, but I used to see Brandon as the end of the shift and hear about what happened. His face frequently showed weals resulting from blows struck by tool handles, etc. Another man who used to get frequent beatings from Ito was Thomas Halliwell, and another was Jimmy Kelsey, of 35, Westfield Gardens, Kenton, Middlesex. Ito was particularly callous. He would use anything at hand to strike men and when he wanted to beat a man he would find any excuse for doing so. On one of the few occasions when I was working under his supervision he struck me a violent blow on the jaw because I was chewing gum. After our liberation eight of us went searching for Ito but as far as we could find out he had moved out of the area and taken his family with him.
The Japanese foreman usually in charge of the smaller party in which I worked was a man named Mesbra-san. He was nearly as bad as Ito and he also doled out punishments. On of his pet act was to push us under the part of the roof where the water was seeping through most heavily, especially if he thought we were trying to avoid water. He did not, however, punish men on such flimsy excuses as Ito. On one occasion he made Tommy Careless, A.C.C., hold a coal bucket (abu), laden with rock, at arms length, for an hour, because he considered he was not working fast enough. On another occasion he thrashed Eric Vesey, of the 21st L.A.A., with a piece of straw rope, because Vesey said he was not able to lift a piece of rock into a truck. He took Vesey away from us and I did not actually see the beating but I saw him pick up the piece of rope.
Another Japanese who had a bad name for doling out punishment was the chief overseer of the shift, whom we knew as "the Mad Monk." He could not tolerate any swearing, and I once saw him beat a man with a truck stick, which is an iron rod carried by foreman.
We sometimes came into contact with another foreman called Komichi-san. He was also noted on account of his brutal treatment of the men, particularly Bob Collins, an R.A.F. man, and his usual form of punishment was a flog with a tool. He also punched me in the face for losing a nut from a drill (jacko hammer).
CONDITIONS EN ROUTE TO OTHER CAMPS.
I have no complaint to make in this respect. We traveled from Moji to Kashii by train. We had a midday meal before leaving and a meal some hours later after arriving at Kashii. We traveled in comparative comfort. We were marched from Kashii to Mushiroda, this being a short distance. The longest journey was from Mushiroda, to Inatsuki-machi. We traveled by rail but took bread with us. We were closely guarded but the journey was uneventful.
I have no knowledge of other violations committed by the Japanese in camps in question or at the various places of employment. The average Japanese guard had little sense of honour. In addition to stealing from prisoners' kits the guards would steal from ships' cargoes, or from the railway trucks, if they could do so without being detected. In such cases they usually got prisoners of war to conceal the goods stolen somewhere on their persons and convey them back to camp, where they would secretly reclaim the goods stolen. As far as I know they were never detected in this practice. The men who smuggled these goods knew they were taking a big risk as the guards would never have stood by them, but it was better to take such risks than to put up with the consequences of refusing.
Camp regulations were similar at all camps and this subject has been covered to some extent under previous headings.
On arrival at each camp the Commandant would read out what we termed "the Riot Act." This was an address embodying a code of rules, principally in reference to obeying all Japanese orders and commands, agreeing not to attempt to escape, and that prisoners must work. We had to acknowledge our acceptance of these rules.
At Moji we were given certain elementary instruction in the Japanese language, but only sufficient to be able to carry out their orders.
In the early days we were sometimes allowed newspapers but later these were stopped and the Japanese did what they could to prevent us getting news of the war situation.
Religious worship amongst the prisoners was not forbidden, but it was not encouraged, and services were held at all camps. We had to obey certain Japanese customs in reference to showing respect to the sun, such as bowing in the direction of the sun in the morning.
They were very strict on the subject of punctuality. There was no easing off towards the time of the Japanese surrender. On the last day we worked in the coal mine we were ordered to double back to camp because the siren had sounded and received blows for not hurrying sufficiently. This was the 14th August, 1945. We were not sent to work again and on the 18th August, 1945, the Commandant told us the war had ended.
As far as Kashii and Mushiroda are concerned an officer who may be able to give full account of conditions at these camps is Colonel SAUNDERS, of the 21st L.A.A. Regiment, the senior British Officer. He was still there when we left. The Regimental padre of the 21st Regiment was also in these camps but I cannot remember his name. I now recollect that the name of the Commandant at Kashii and Mushiroda, or the name or term by which he was known, was Sakamoto-chui (spelt in accordance with pronunciation) [chu-i = first lieutenant].
I cannot identify the camp Commander Shuichi Takata, or the persons Tsuso Ota and Shigeki Eto, and I make this solemn declaration conscientiously believing the same to be true, and by virtue of the provisions of the Statutory Declarations Act, 1835.
--- Transcription courtesy of Chris Hamilton