The Gibbs reports were prepared post-war
based upon assorted prisoner affidavits and, apparently, on the reports
of the International Red Cross representatives in
Japan who were notorious for their bias in favor of the Japanese.
Confirmed by Wes Injerd and Koshi Kobayashi
This report is in
fact Fukuoka Camp #8, (Inatsuki),
which was at one time #11 Detached Camp (11-D). If that's not confusing
enough, the Japanese Member Roster lists it as "8 CAMP (11 DESPACHED
Camp Nickname: Kamo-o
FUKUOKA #11 [#8]
PRISONER OF WAR CAMPS IN JAPAN AND JAPANESE CONTROLLED AREAS AS TAKEN
FROM REPORTS OF INTERNED AMERICAN PRISONERS LIAISON & RESEARCH
BRANCH AMERICAN PRISONER OF WAR INFORMATION BUREAU
by JOHN M. GIBBS
31 July 1946
FUKUOKA #11 [#8],
ON THE ISLAND OF KYUSHU JAPAN
A small unidentified mining town 40 to 50 miles due south of Moji and
approximately 40 miles east of Fukuoka, the coordinates of which are
33º36'N, 130º44'E. The original size of the camp compound was 200' x
200' surrounded by a 10' wood fence with a charged wire near the top.
To accommodate the increasing prisoner personnel the camp confines were
doubled before the surrender of Japan.
A detail of 69 American prisoners from a camp at Tanagawa, near Osaka
on Honshu reached this camp in March 1945, the Sr. Officer for the
American contingent being 1st Lt. (later Capt.) Alfred E. Fobes. Other
American officers were Capt. (later Maj.) James A. Grider, U.S. Public
Health Service, Medical Officer for the American detail & Maj.
Stockton D. Bruns, C.A.C.
251 British prisoners were the first occupants of this camp, and they
reached there 13 Oct. 1943. [Ex Ussuri Maru] On 25
Dec. 1943, 270 Dutch prisoners arrived. British and Dutch Army medical
personnel were present in both groups. Capt. Peter Williams, Royal
Artillery, was overall prisoner camp commander. As of March 1945 the
total number of prisoners was 590 which was the peak.
A group of five American officers left this camp on 25 April 1945 for
Hoten camp #1 at Mukden, Manchuria. [not identified]
3. GUARD PERSONNEL:
1st Lt. Toda was commandant from
Nov. 1944 to April 1945. He was pronounced to be gentlemanly toward and
personally considerate of the prisoners, but unfortunately the
operation of the camp was left largely in the hands of a Sgt. Maj. who
was cruel, cunning, thieving and vindictive. The names of other
officers, i.e., Haito, Goto, Stresaki and Sakata, have been mentioned
but rank and duties were not indicated - merely "officers".
(a) Housing: The barracks, 12 in number, 10'x 100',
overall height 20' to 25' were constructed of wood in some cases and of
clay with cement finish in other cases. The roofs were of tile,
shingles and clay but not used in combination of two or more of these
materials. The floors were of dirt. Some of these buildings were
insulated on the inside with plaster, others with plywood. Still others
were not insulated at all. Two additional barracks were constructed
later. All barracks equipped with paper windows. No heating. Prisoners
were bedded on individual straw mats or bays. Closets were provided for
storing clothing. The barracks were infested with lice.
(b) Latrines: The latrines were located as follows: two in that number
of hospital buildings; three in one end of that number of barracks and
two in combination with bath and wash rooms. The most of them were of
cement, individual trench, oriental-type with holes cut flush with
floor. A few were of conventional seat-type. Urinal and excreta wastes
were caught in cement dosed containers and the offal was used to
fertilize the camp gardens.
(c) Bathing: A separate bath building 20'x 40' had been erected with a
latrine in one end. It was equipped with a tub 15'x 6' x 4', two
showers and a clothes closet. Hot water was always available. The bath
was stated to be the best aspect of the camp, alleged to have been a
life saving facility and a morale booster.
(d) Mess Hall: It was a separate frame building with kitchen ell making
off from one side of building. The bakery was a small, detached
building near the kitchen. The prisoners ate in the mess hall in three
shifts each 24 hours.
(e) Food: The staple diet was between 550 & 750 grams of rice
per day divided into three meals plus thin vegetable soup with fish
added about once a month. There was no variation in this diet.
Prisoners did the cooking. There were no facilities to sterilize the
dishes and sanitary conditions generally were non-existent. The food
was boiled in large iron cauldrons.
(f) Medical Facilities: One of the barracks was first used as a
hospital, but subsequently a separate building for this purpose was
erected. The American Army Med. officer for the American prisoners and
a Dutch medical officer made their services available to all the
prisoners. Medical supplies were very inadequate until Nov. 1944 when a
supply came in from the Red Cross. These supplies were liberated in
ample quantities to the prisoner officers, and their use, according to
the American officer, prevented many deaths from pneumonia during the
winter of 1944-45. No facilities or remedies were available for the
treatment of fractures, or weakness or dizziness. There was not a
dental officer in the camp but some extractions were made at a local
hospital. Several prisoners were given surgical treatment in the
civilian hospital and some outside optical treatment was accorded the
prisoners. All medical treatment was rendered under the supervision of
(1) Up to Nov. 1944 Red Cross packages were so scarce that one parcel
would be shared by six men. After that date the parcels increased
gradually until a complete package was given to an individual just
before the dose of the war. However, the prisoners averaged no better
than 3Y2 parcels per man for the two-year period. Shoes, overcoats and
blankets were issued from Red Cross supplies. (2) Japanese Issue: Each
prisoner was given two thin blankets and, in the winter, heavier
clothing and overcoats but the tatter could not be worn in the mines.
The working garb consisted of canvas shoes, pants, shirts and underwear.
(h) Mail: (1) Incoming: The American and Dutch prisoners received no
mail. The British prisoners received some old mail (re-dated) mostly
from Java. (2) Outgoing: From March 1944 to Aug. 1945 the American
prisoners were allowed to send a total of four cards.
(i) Work: The officers were assigned to camp administrative work and
gardening. The enlisted men were assigned to work in and about the coat
mines in three shifts of eight hours each. Two hours may be added to
the eight because of the walking distance from camp to mines and back
to the camp. The prisoners were allowed three rest days per month. The
medical officers performed medical duties and supervised the gardening.
(j) Treatment: The Japanese supervisory personnel was pretty generally
cruel and the beatings were frequent. An officer, in expressing
himself, said, "poor for me, rotten for the enlisted men". The mines
were not equipped with safety devices. Cave-ins were common and several
deaths were caused by these stoppages. The prisoners were constantly
aware of this danger, and their nervous anxiety was a greater menace to
their health than the actual work according to the camp surgeon.
One of the American prisoners said. "The treatment by the Japanese
Military personnel and the coat mining personnel was sadistically harsh
especially toward the American prisoners."
(1) Officers: Same as Japanese Officers of
(2) Enlisted Men: 10 to 25 sen per day.
(l) Recreation: None
(m) Religious Activities: None. Prisoners compelled to work every
(n) Morale: Poor.
On 25 April 1945 a group of five American officers [not identified] were started
on their way to Mukden, Manchuria. They traveled by train to Fukuoka
which city showed many signs of bombing raids. The population was being
evacuated. To minimize fire hazards many of the wood buildings were