Fukushima Committee Report
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COMMITTEE REPORT [28 Parts plus appendix]

Fukushima, Japan, 11th July 1942 - 16th August 1945
This report has this day been adopted 'in toto' by the Committee.

Fukushima, Japan 5th September 1945
(Signed) C. Stratford, (Chairman)
(Signed) J. Piangos, (ex officio)
(Signed) Malcolm I. Scott, (British Seamen's Rep.)
(Signed) J. M. Jack, (Passengers' Rep.)
(Signed) Tom Oon, (Malayan Group)
(Signed) C. W. E. Furey, Secretary (Passengers' Group)
(Signed) Walter Phillips, (South African Rep.)
(Signed) Florence Thoms, (Ladies' Rep.)


On the Civil Internment Camp at Fukushima, Japan from the 11th July 1942 to the 16th August 1945


This report has been drawn up by a sub-committee consisting of the three undersigned internees, namely Mr G. P. Stewart of the Indian Civil Service, Chairman, Mr C. W. E. Furey of the Chinese Maritime Customs Service and Mrs B. Murray, wife of Mr D. Murray of the Chartered Bank of India, Australia and China, appointed by the Internees' Committee which was constituted on the 9th October 1944 to look after their common interests and welfare. The pertinent resolutions of the internees constituting this committee may be seen in Appendix I to this report.

As the Greek internees (para. 2) (with the sole exception of Captain Piangos) and two others preferred not to co-operate with the rest of the internees, the Internees' Committee did not represent them; accordingly in this report we have not attempted to deal with any matters solely affecting them.

The Internees' Committee was brought to the attention of Mr Angst, the delegate in Japan of the International Red Cross Committee, in the presence of the Japanese Camp Authorities, in an interview on the 25th April 1945 and it received his approval and backing; it received the tacit recognition of the Japanese authorities.

The terms of reference given to this sub-committee by the Internees' Committee were as follows:

"To draw up an uncoloured and strictly accurate report of our entire stay here covering all phases. In accounts of treatment and incidents, all opinions to be excluded and facts only to be stated. Opinions may be expressed in a general summary but they should be representative of the community as a whole. The names of officials to be quoted as far as possible." (Internees' Committee's Resolution dated the 19th August 1945).

All the opinions expressed throughout the report are, unless the text makes the contrary clear, the opinions of the writers of this report.


The total number of internees on the 15th August 1945 was 140, made up as follows:

European British Subjects 55
Straights Chinese British Subjects 6Straights Malay British Subjects 2
Hong Kong British Subjects 2
South African British Subjects 3
West African British Subjects 2
Arab (Aden) British Subjects 4
Somali (Aden) British Subjects 1
Greeks 19
Spaniard 1
Armenian 1
Portuguese 1
Undetermined Subject (Chinese) 1
Total 98

European British Subjects 21
Straights Chinese British Subjects 4
Hong Kong British Subjects 1
British Indian 1
Greek 1
Chinese 1
Total 29

CHILDREN under 11 years of age: 13

Grand Total 140

Two boys, aged 14 and 13 years, are included in the figures for Men Internees as they were quartered with the men and one child born a few weeks after her mother's arrival at the camp is included in the figures for children; two men internees and one woman internee who died during internment are not included (para. 12).

On the 15th August 1945 the Portuguese subject left the camp under Japanese escort to be transferred to another camp at Tokyo.


All the internees in this camp were captured at sea by German armed raiders and brought by the Germans to Yokohama. There they were officially given into Japanese custody by the Germans on the 10th July 1942 and were told by a Japanese official that they were being placed under the care of a Special Branch of the Police of the Fukushima Prefecture. On the night of the 10th-11th July they were taken by train to Fukushima, reaching the camp at about 9.00 a.m.

(Note: Four internees arrived in November 1942 and one in November 1943.)


The Japanese staff was as follows:

a) The Chief of the Special Branch of the Prefecture Police. This officer was the highest local authority for the control of the camp. The internees have been informed that he had many other duties unconnected with this camp. He visited the camp only occasionally and it was difficult for the internees to obtain access to him. The writing of letters to him or to any other authority was forbidden. During the period under report two officials held this post. We are not able to ascertain the name of the first official who held this post from the arrival of the internees until about July 1944. The second official was Mr Kyushi Tari, who was still holding the post at the time of reporting.

b) An official whose name, rank and exact function we do not know but who was referred to by the Japanese as the "Inspector". He appeared to be the assistant of the Chief of the Special Branch and senior to the Camp Commandant and we suspect that he had a very considerable influence in the administration of the camp. He visited the camp occasionally and once held charge as Camp Commandant from the 13th July 1944 to the 1st August 1944 pending the arrival of the third Camp Commandant. This post seemed to be vacant, at least as far as this camp was concerned, for the last year of internment.

c) The Camp Commandant (Taijo). This officer was in immediate charge of the camp and attended daily. (For details see para. 25.)

d) Two Sergeants (Bucho). One Sergeant was always on duty in the camp with his own squad of guards; the spell of duty was twenty four hours at a stretch. There were many Sergeants at various times and for varying periods. They were apparently supposed to refer almost all matters affecting the internees to the Commandant for orders.

e) The Police Constables acting as guards. When the camp was first occupied there were sixteen of these guards divided into two squads alternately on duty. The guards kept all internees, both men and women, continuously under observation indoors and outdoors; they constantly patrolled the building indoors, inspecting the internees' rooms, both men's and women's, at frequent intervals. After the first year the number was gradually reduced so that at the end of the period of internment there were only five. As far as the maintenance of necessary discipline among the internees was concerned, this number appeared to be adequate. With the reduction of guards, the closeness with which they kept internees under observation also diminished.

All the above staff were members of the police force and had their quarters, when not on duty, outside but adjacent to the camp.

f) Interpreters. Two civilian interpreters accompanied the internees from Yokohama but were relieved after the first fortnight by an elderly man, Mr Midori Kawa, who was later joined by his wife. This interpreter remained at the camp until the 31st August 1944, a period of just over two years. His English was adequate for his position. His wife held no official position but sometimes interpreted in the absence of her husband.

Two young lady interpreters, the Misses Y. and M. Kokubun, replaced Mr Midori Kawa on the 1st September 1944 and were here at the end of internment. Their English was better than their predecessor's. The interpreters have all resided in the camp.

g) The Kitchen Staff. There was one male cook. He resided in the camp along with his bed-ridden wife. This unfortunate woman gradually grew worse, eventually becoming demented, singing and shouting almost continuously; she died on the premises on the 31st August 1944. There were also three women helpers who do not merit any remarks and who were not resident in the camp.

h) The Gardener. The Gardener, an elderly gentleman whose name was Suzuki, was employed on the premises before the war; besides looking after the garden he tended the central heating installation. He did not reside in the camp.

In addition to the above Japanese, the camp authorities appointed the following internees to duties indicated below:

i) One Headman (Bucho). Captain Stratford was appointed to this position immediately on the arrival of the internees, presumably because he had held it while they were in German hands. His function was to convey all orders from the Japanese authorities to the internees and to present to the Japanese all requests from the internees, whether on behalf of individuals or of the camp as a whole. He was also instructed to see that the internees kept their quarters clean and to strike any who disobeyed him (which injunction, needless to say, Captain Stratford ignored). He was, however, never required to inform against any internees for breach of regulations. Such little authority as was delegated to him was always subject to interference by any guard or other official who happened to interest himself at any time.
j) One Assistant Headman. After some time Captain Piangos was given this position. His duties were exactly similar to Captain Stratford's for whom he acted as relief.

k) One Headwoman and, after a year, one Assistant Headwoman. The women internees were allowed to select their own Headwoman who was then appointed by the Japanese and who was never allowed to resign in spite of several attempts to do so. Mrs Thoms filled this post. Mrs Hercombe was appointed by the Japanese to the post of Assistant Headwoman and was relieved from time to time by Mrs Garner. The duties of the Headwoman and Assistant Headwoman were similar to those of the Headman and Assistant Headman in the men's section.

l) Group Leaders. On arrival, the Japanese divided all internees into groups of from five to twenty five occupying contiguous quarters. Each group was directed to elect one member as a Group Leader. The Group Leaders' functions were solely to convey instructions issued through the Headman. They were told to see that the internees obeyed the regulations. (Appendix II).

m) Kitchen Assistants. Four men and one woman internee assisted in the kitchen. They were chosen by the Japanese and changed at irregular intervals and they were always recompensed by the issue of extra rations and extra cigarettes and on one occasion by the payment of yen. This service was not compulsory.

n) Sweepers. Six men internees, selected by the Japanese and changed at irregular intervals, were employed to keep clean the parts of the camp occupied by the Japanese police officials and the internees' mess rooms. The service was not compulsory and was recompensed by the issue of extra cigarettes.

o) About half a dozen volunteers formed a gardening squad from time to time and were recompensed by the issue of extra rations and extra cigarettes and on one occasion by the payment of yen.

(Note: We have asked the fourth Commandant to give us the names of the officials connected with the camp but he has not done so.)


Fukushima lies in a fertile valley at an altitude of about one thousand feet above sea level. From December to March snow lay constantly and daily temperatures varied between freezing point and -14 [degrees] F. Spring and autumn were temperate and very healthful but summers were hot and humid. There were frequent earth tremors, some severe, but none lasting more than a few seconds. There were many paddy fields adjacent to the camp and mosquitoes were very numerous during the hot summer months.


The camp was located in the Convent of Our Lady of the Rising Sun on the outskirts of the town of Fukushima. The building was excellent, a two-storied ferro-concrete structure with an attic above the upper storey and a small basement. It was divided into two sections, one accommodating the men internees and the other the women and children internees, which were separated by fireproof steel doors. The administrative offices, the two mess rooms for internees, a large hall, the kitchen, a laundry room, the guards' mess room and some of the women internees' quarters occupied the ground floor; the internees' quarters and a chapel occupied the upper storey; the attic was used as a lumber room and never was open for use by internees; the furnaces and boilers of an efficient central heating installation and a small storeroom occupied the basement (for plan see Appendix III).


The majority of the rooms allocated to the internees accommodated three persons and measured approximately eight feet by twelve feet by ten feet high. There were six larger rooms accommodating from four to twenty persons. All rooms contained a table or desk, two chairs and built-in cupboards. Internees slept on standard sized straw sleeping mats (tatamis) measuring six feet by three feet and about two inches thick. Each internee was supplied with one such mat (except some of the very small children who had to share their mothers' mats), a mattress and a Japanese quilt (futong), both filled with thick cotton wadding and one sheet. One blanket was also issued to each internee not already possessing one of his own. Mosquito nets, large enough to cover three or in some cases more sleeping mats, were issued in July 1943.

From the dimensions of the rooms and the size of the sleeping mats it will be seen that the personal quarters were extremely cramped; when the sleeping mats were on the floor there was practically no uncovered floor space left even in the larger rooms. The rooms were lit by electricity and equipped with a radiator connected with the central heating installation. Each room had at least one window.


The convent is provided with an efficient septic tank system and an excellent supply of water from the town mains suitable for all purposes was maintained throughout the period of internment.

a) Men's quarters. Originally there were six lavatories, four washing sinks and two baths. The plumbing and fittings were modern and in good condition. Hot and cold taps were fitted to all the sinks and baths.

Owing to the camp authorities neglecting to make even minor repairs, it became necessary in the course of time permanently to put out of use two lavatories and two washing sinks and one bath.

b) Women's quarters. Originally in the women internees' quarters there were four lavatories, five sinks and one Japanese style wooden bath tub. One of the sinks became unusable after the first year owing to the authorities neglecting minor repairs. During the whole period under report, whenever hot baths were available, the women internees' bathroom was used by the camp officers and their friends who bathed there before the women and children internees were allowed to begin.

After the first few weeks hot water for bathing was provided once a week until spring 1945 after which it ceased, presumably owing to a shortage of coal.


The convent stands in its own grounds which measure 90 yards by 136 yards, comprising an area of about three and a half acres, and which are surrounded by a five foot nine inch concrete wall. Of this area, the ground floor of the building covers about 1,628 square yards, an asphalt exercise ground measuring about 19 yards by 36 yards occupies the south east corner and about two and a half acres were cultivated as a vegetable garden.

The exercise ground was reserved for the use of the men internees, the women internees being allowed to use it on only three or four occasions during their whole period of internment.

The women internees were restricted to the paths through the vegetable garden on their own side of the building for exercise and all outdoor activities. These paths were 9 feet wide and their total length was 67 yards; they were unusable in winter owing to mud. (Appendix III for plan). No garden seats, or material for making seats, were provided by the authorities.

10. FOOD:

The food supplied to the thirteen children was always satisfactory and well maintained. Milk was supplied to those under three years of age, although from February 1945 the quantity was cut from two half pint bottles a day to one half pint bottle a day.

The feeding of the adult internees went through three phases during the period under report.

In the first phase, lasting about three months from the arrival of the internees until the end of October 1942, the food supplied was satisfactory in quality but pitifully inadequate in quantity. As we have no reason to think that there was any serious food shortage in Japan at that time, we have come to the conclusion that it was the deliberate policy of the Japanese authorities to starve the internees. The following is an outline of the meals during this phase:

Morning meal: about 5 ounces of white bread
about 1 teaspoonful of thin jam
about 1/3 pint of weak tea, without milk or sugar

Midday meal: about 5 ounces of white bread
meat or fish, not more than 1 ounce
not more than 2 ounces of vegetables, usually raw

Evening meal: As for midday meal

(Note: The internees had at that time no means of weighing anything and so the weights given are guessed. The fact that the quantity of food was inadequate is best inferred from the figures in Appendix IV which show the loss of weight of the majority of internees.)

The quality of the bread was satisfactory; occasionally bad meat or fish was served; it was not uncommon for internees to gather weeds from the garden to eke out their rations.

The second phase began at the end of October 1942 and lasted until the following summer. The meals were similar to those of the first phase but with the following improvements:

Increase in the bread ration to about 7 ounces at each meal.
Introduction of fats in the form of liver paste (from 1 to 2 ounces) and butter (about 1/2 ounce for twenty nine meals during the whole period on internment).
Increase in the meat ration at midday or evening meal.
Increase in vegetable ration, principally in the form of pumpkins.
Small quantity of boiled rice occasionally.
Fruit at irregular intervals.
One cup of weak tea (not much better than hot water and without milk) at every meal from the beginning of 1943.

These improvements were sufficient to arrest the loss of weight of most internees, though the quantity of food still remained inadequate.

It should be mentioned that, during this phase, food which had been allowed to go bad in store was thrown out. Food thus thrown out included butter, fruit, eggs, meat and pumpkins.

Moreover, food was seen to be removed from the camp by members of the Japanese staff on more than one occasion. Food thus removed included meat (as the principal item), potatoes, fruit, bread and, on several occasions, complete hot meals. We suppose that it is possible that these formed part of the rations of the Japanese staff.

The third phase began in the late summer of 1943 and lasted until the 15th August 1945, a period of two years. It was characterised by a gradual but steady reduction of rations which we believe reflected the increasing food shortage throughout Japan; reference to Appendix IV will show that at the end of this phase there was a still further loss of weight among most of the internees. In the latter part of 1943 jam, butter and liver paste ceased to be issued; during the winter of 1943/44 meals without meat or fish began to be served with increasing frequency and occasionally meals without vegetables were served; fruit became very infrequent; the evening meal became more and more sketchy; by the end of 1944, meat or fish, and vegetables were frequently being issued for one meal a day only, but, very occasionally, a thin watery soup was served at the morning meal; there was an improvement in rations in July and August 1944 but this was not maintained; by September 1944 food was again very scanty; by November 1944 the meals served rarely contained meat or fats in any form; by February 1945 tea and dry bread for two out of the three daily meals and only a few spoonfuls of watery vegetable stews for the third meal were the regular thing. From April 1945 tea and dry bread alone for all three meals became more and more frequent.

At the beginning of this third phase, in August 1943, the white bread was replaced by special small loaves or rolls said to be standardised throughout Japan as a war measure. They varied from time to time as to ingredients, sometimes containing potatoes, sweet potatoes, or even fish bones and appeared to be made of wholemeal flour with an increasingly high percentage of bran towards the end of the period and to be a very nutritious form of bread. Their weight varied from just over six ounces to over seven ounces. Thanks to the ingenuity of one of the internees, these rolls were able to be weighed with accuracy, as he constructed a pair of scales with the empty tins obtained from Red Cross food supplies. When these rolls were introduced in August 1943, the ration was three a day. After many representations this was increased in November 1943, for the men internees only, to three and a half, or just under one and a half pounds of bread a day; the women internees' ration remained at three as before. For a short time early in 1944 the ration was raised to four rolls for the men but soon went back to three and a half and for a short time in the autumn to three only; by this time the rolls were almost their only source of nourishment. From late 1944 until the end of the phase, an extra half roll was issued on average once or twice a week and, by the beginning of June 1945, the daily food ration of each male internee was only three and a half rolls, totalling twenty two or twenty three ounces of bread and three cups of weak tea without milk or sugar; intervals as long as three weeks often separated the issue of any vegetables at all, and meat and fish were never seen.

At this time there were in the garden, cultivated by the internees' own labour, onions, spinach, peas and a kind of large white radish. Only the radish tops were given to the internees at infrequent intervals. The greater part of the garden had been sown with potatoes and, although yielding a harvest estimated at three to four tons by the end of July, none were issued to the internees.

Had the internees not received food parcels from the International Red Cross (para. 20), it would indeed have been difficult for most of them to have survived the winter and spring without serious consequences. The Headman, on many occasions, made representations to the camp authorities about the inadequacy of rations and, on one occasion, was informed by the Commandant (the third Commandant) that in other camps only one roll a day and only one plate of stew were issued to each prisoner or internee, a statement which it is difficult to credit.


The kitchen was well appointed but inadequately equipped in pots and saucepans for the numbers for which it had to cater.

Knives, forks and spoons of inferior quality were provided in sufficient number for one sitting only in each mess room when the internees first arrived. (For each meal there were three sittings in each mess room.) The spoons and forks soon broke and were never replaced. Finally, in the summer of 1943, all the knives were taken away because internees persisted in bringing a few upstairs to their quarters. Thenceforth the internees had to depend on their own initiative for their eating implements. Permission to write to the Red Cross delegate for a supply of them was withheld, even after he had officially made contact with the camp (para. 20).


The general health of the internees was good. During the first three months there were many cases of severe diarrhoea and acute constipation; faintness and vertigo were common; among the women menstruation became irregular, in many cases ceasing altogether, with consequent nervous symptoms. This was the initial period of starvation (para. 10). In February 1943 there was an epidemic of mild chickenpox among the women and children internees. In the summer of 1945 there was recurrence in epidemic form of acute diarrhoea and an epidemic of influenza with symptoms of anaemia; in the women's section menstruation troubles occurred again; dizziness and vertigo were again common. Reference to para. 10 will show that these conditions were contemporaneous with very inadequate food rations. Throughout the period of internment colds, chills and very large and painful boils were common and, during the winter months each year chilblains, almost amounting to frostbite, were general on both hands and feet.

No doctor ever attended the camp regularly. On eight occasions, at irregular intervals, a lady doctor made a very cursory examination of all internees and recorded their weights. Her last examination was in August 1944. In February 1943, during the chickenpox epidemic, all internees were vaccinated. It was always difficult to persuade the camp authorities to send for a doctor, several applications usually being necessary, and often as long as a week elapsing before a doctor came.

No room was ever set aside as a hospital; treatment in almost all cases was given in the cramped quarters of the patient, in which also two deaths occurred.

As a special diet for the sick, dry toast, soup, cold boiled rice, rarely milk and, even more rarely, butter were provided. In one case, however, oil was given in small quantities for about six months.

Apart from laxatives, aspirins, chilblain ointment and injections of various kinds, very little medicine was supplied by the Japanese. Dressings and bandages were never issued by the camp authorities except in the case of Mrs Bok (see below). On two occasions, however, a doctor brought dressings with him for serious wounds. At times even hot water for the sick was grudgingly given.

The women internees suffered owing to the impossibility of getting sanitary towels; in the earlier part of their internment they were given toilet paper and a very little cotton wool which they had to wash and had to use over and over again. Over a period of many months nothing at all was issued except some rags intended for dusters.

At last, in August 1944, after many representations, one of the women internees, a qualified nursing sister, was allowed to visit the men's section daily at fixed hours; her services did much to help the sick men.

There were three deaths. Mr V. M. Hemy, aged about fifty five, died on the 5th August 1942; his was either a case of cancer of the stomach or of chronic duodenal ulcer, but he got no special diet. Mr Nicol McIntyre, aged sixty three, died on the 13th September 1942; he had had a stroke two days previously; he had been frequently compelled, along with other internees, to weed the garden for one or two hours at a stretch in the blazing sun. Mrs L. E. Gleeson, aged about fifty, died on the 7th April 1945 as a result of an obstruction of the intestines; it is known that she had had serious abdominal operations at some time in the past which may have been connected with her last illness. Towards the end the Japanese made a genuine effort to help her, giving her a separate room with a bedstead and also injections to relieve her pain.

The following cases merit special mention:

a) Messrs O. Olsen, Hamish Robertson, D. R. Patrick, E. Westley, T. Melia and Sergeant N. Erskine arrived here with incompletely healed wounds; they received no special treatment or special medical examination (Appendix V, No. 1).

b) Mr H. J. Crocker, when he arrived here, was suffering from inflamed heart muscles. He was unable to leave his bed for fifteen months. He was allowed a ration of milk but no other special treatment. However he recovered.

c) Mr Bok Sye Foo developed acute bronchitis early in the winter of 1943/44 shortly after the incident described in Appendix VI, No. 10. He never fully recovered. He was unaccustomed to a climate as severe as that of Fukushima.

d) Mr L. D. Fernandez developed pleurisy during the winter of 1944/45 and was threatened with pneumonia. He was treated with injections, allowed a bedstead in his quarters and given sugar and milk in addition to the ordinary diet; he recovered.

e) Miss A. Jeffery developed pleurisy in the early spring of 1945 and at the end of internment was making a slow recovery. She had medicines and invalid diet from the Japanese authorities but, had the fluid been removed, she would have made a speedy recovery.
f) Mrs Bok Sye Foo suffered from a cough, evening fever and very severe abdominal pains for the last three and a half months of her internment. She had medicines and one or two injections from a Japanese doctor who did not divulge his diagnosis. Tubercular trouble was suspected. Her teeth were in an extremely bad condition.

g) Mrs L. E. Gleeson, about six months before her death, developed a septic finger. For details of this case, Appendix V, No. 2 containing the statement of Mrs Scott and Miss Law, qualified nursing sisters among the women internees, should be referred to.

h) Mrs C. R. Golsworthy had shown occasional asthmatic symptoms before capture; during October 1943 she began to have severe attacks of asthma and she was treated with injections but, owing to the delays usual in securing the doctor's attendance and the fact that her heart was being affected, she suffered much while awaiting his arrival, sometimes several hours later. Eventually, in the autumn of 1944, the Japanese authorities agreed to keep the injections in the camp office and to allow Miss Law to give them, this ensuring an early arrest of the attacks.

i) Mr K. B. Johnson, an elderly internee, had a stroke on the 2nd August 1945 which left him paralysed on the left side. A doctor came promptly; he was moved to a separate room with a bedstead, given milk once a day and soup three times. A urgently repeated request for special laxative, as those in the camp failed to act, was not granted until ten days later.

j) Mr V. S. White suffered from some unknown disease which a Japanese doctor once suggested might be leprosy. After much representation he was transferred to a room with only one other inmate and given his own utensils for meals but he was allowed to continue using one of the common lavatories and the bathroom.

There was one birth during the internment. On the 18th August 1942, a female child was born to Mrs Bok Sye Foo in a suitable room in the camp. A Japanese midwife and a Japanese nurse were in attendance and the midwife paid a daily visit for ten days. After delivery, Mrs Bok was allowed soup, rice and bread in addition to the camp ration and also extra bread with jam between each meal. Except that no clothing was provided for the child by the authorities, the treatment was satisfactory.

Medical attention and consideration for the sick were markedly better during the third Commandant's time.

Dental treatment was unsatisfactory. The dentist attended at very irregular intervals and inserted only temporary fillings, generally of cotton wool, and extracted only when the tooth was loose. Internees suffering acutely from toothache had to wait for weeks before the dentist appeared in response to their application. Some internees were able to have their dentures repaired.

The central heating installation warmed the building effectively but it was put into operation only sparingly. In the first winter it was used continuously for two months, day and night, from the 8th December and then cut off entirely in the middle of the coldest part of the year. In the second winter the amount of coal available was used more intelligently; the heating system was not run at night or on very mild days, with the result that the building was heated in all the very cold spells from December to March. In the third winter, the amount of coal allowed was much reduced and the building was heated for less than twenty days; this was the severest winter during the period of internment.


All the internees were captured at sea and were forced to abandon their ships in a hurry. The passengers (men and women) and crew of the s.s. 'Nankin' had however been allowed to return to their ship and pack up what clothing they could in one suitcase, but the passengers had all been proceeding to destinations in the tropics and were not travelling with heavy clothing.

The remainder of the internees (all men) were forced to abandon their ships clad only in what they stood; the majority of them were practically naked when picked up by the German raider and had been given only sufficient clothing to preserve their decency.

As time passed the internees' clothing became worn out but it was only in cases of extreme necessity that the camp authorities replaced them. To meet the severe winters underwear was required by everybody and, though sufficient underwear appeared to reach the camp, some of it was issued to the Japanese guards. The number of garments issued to the internees during the winter of 1942/43 was twenty undervests, twenty underpants, ten jackets and thirteen trousers to the men internees; and twenty two sets of underwear to the women internees. During the winter of 1943/44, twelve undervests, nine underpants, one jacket and three pairs of trousers were issued to the men internees. Repeated applications to the authorities for patching material was made at various times but only a small quantity was issued which was not nearly enough to meet requirements.

Although the Japanese custom of removing the outdoor footwear on entering the building was enforced, no indoor shoes were issued by the authorities.

A total of fifty nine cakes of soap (average weight about three ounces) were issued to the men internees, thirty cakes were issued to the women and child internees to keep themselves and their clothing clean.

Tooth powder and tooth brushes were issued every six months.

Throughout the tenures of office of the first and second camp Commandants the issue of the cigarette ration was extremely erratic. During the period of the first Commandant the issue was so irregular that no check on the ration was possible; for many consecutive days it was stopped and, when resumed, the lost ration was never made up. With the arrival of the third camp Commandant a ration of five cigarettes daily was issued but, during the tenure of the fourth Commandant, the issue again became irregular, though not to the same extent as mentioned above. The cigarette ration was cut to three per internee a day from May 1945. During the periods of the third and fourth Commandants the issue of the cigarettes was sometimes free and sometimes by purchase.

A few small face towels were issued to men internees during the whole period of internment and sufficient mosquito coils were given during the first summer before the issue of nets.

Nothing whatever was done by the authorities in the way of issuing books, games or other pastimes or paper and pencils to assist in the education of the child internees. In these circumstances the internees displayed much ingenuity and dexterity in making necessities for themselves from scrap materials found on the premises. The Japanese did however lend two typewriters and issued paper and carbon paper for the writing of internees' monthly letters home (para. 18).


On their arrival the internees were addressed by the Chief of the Special Branch of the Police who informed them that they must obey the regulations and orders of the Camp Commandant (Appendix VII, No.1). They were required to sign a paper printed in Japanese only containing, they were informed, a promise to obey regulations, the Japanese agreeing to protect them as long as they did so.

A reasonable routine with the appropriate orders was issued covering daily life in the camp but, from that time onwards, the number of regulations mounted until there were at least 173 (Appendix II).

The large majority of these regulations were made on the spot, sometimes by the Camp Commandant but as often as not by individual guards; the object of many of these regulations, or what effect they had in maintaining proper discipline in the camp, is hard to discern.


Breach of any of the regulations referred to in para. 14 and Appendix II [also appendix VI] and disobedience to any order issued by any guard was punishable. Punishments imposed included the following:
1. Official reprimand by the Camp Commandant.
2. Slapping (generally on the face or head) on the spot by the officer concerned or in the office when the case was brought before the Camp Commandant.
3. Standing at attention or kneeling on the floor for periods, sometimes lasting several hours and sometimes in a particularly cold place with insufficient clothes.
4. Prohibition on going out of doors for several days.
5. Confiscation of footwear for long periods.
6. Stoppage of one or more meals.
7. Prohibition of all smoking.
8. Standing and holding buckets of water.
9. Stoppage of meetings between husbands and wives.
10. Striking on head and body with sticks.
11. Prohibition on attending church.
12. Standing for attention for six hours a day, with intervals for meals, daily for several days.
13. Running out of doors in bare feet on cinder-covered track in winter.

It was a common policy to inflict punishment on the whole camp for breach of regulations by a few or even by a single internee, the object being to make the internees bring pressure to bear on any of them who disregarded regulations. When punishments were inflicted, especially in the case of communal punishments, a clear announcement explaining why the punishment was being inflicted was rarely made with the result that the camp was often uncertain whether it was being punished or not; this was so especially in cases of general stoppage or delay in the issue of cigarette rations or in the meeting between husbands and wives.

The punishments inflicted seemed to us to have been often disproportionate to the gravity of the offence. The trivial nature of many of the regulations (Appendix II) must be borne in mind. Instances of the more glaringly disproportionate punishments, or of punishments which in our opinion were improper in a civilian camp, are attached in Appendix VI in the form of signed statements made by the internees themselves.


The religious observances of all internees, among whom were included Christians of various denominations and Moslems, were always respected by the Japanese. The convent chapel was opened daily at fixed times for public worship. In accordance with the policy of strict segregation of the sexes, the men and women internees had to sit on opposite sides of the church, no relaxation of the rules being allowed even for husbands and wives; at least one guard was present throughout every service and some regulations were issued about the conduct of internees in church (Appendix II, Nos. 112-119). Otherwise there was no interference with the conduct of services though sometimes some slight disturbance was made by guards on duty talking or walking about in the church. (The result of complaints about this may be seen in Appendix VI, No.5). Higher officials, present on a few occasions, behaved with respect.

The funerals of the three internees who died were decently arranged and up to four internees were allowed to accompany the remains to the cemetery or crematorium.


A few hours after arrival all contact between men and women was strictly forbidden. This rule applied with equal strictness to members of the same family and only relaxed on birthdays and wedding anniversaries on which occasions a short interview was permitted in the presence of the Commandant and the interpreter. It became a punishable offence for husbands, wives or children to acknowledge each other in any way by smiling or even waving at a distance in the grounds.

Early in October 1943, in the time of the second Commandant, the Headwoman was officially asked which of the married women wanted children and which could not have children for any reason and whether they understood the use of contraceptives. Then, for several weeks, a room was made available and four of the fifteen married couples were taken on different occasions to this room for half an hour. The door of the room was locked from the outside. The utmost precautions were taken by the authorities to ensure privacy and the married couples concerned were ordered to keep their meetings a secret from the other internees. On one occasion, after a meeting, the wife of one of the internees was handed a small rubber syringe and told to "make use of it"; thereafter she was asked several times if she had used it. The Headwoman was later officially asked whether the woman had menstruated.

This practice suddenly ceased. On the 29th October 1943, after fifteen months of separation, all families were allowed to assemble together for a period of two hours and thereafter to meet together at infrequent and irregular intervals for periods varying from half an hour to two hours. In five months, from the 29th October 1943 to the 13th March 1944, there were only five such meetings. From April 1944, in the third Commandant's time, families were allowed to meet regularly once a week for two hours. From the 25th December 1944 daily meetings for periods of one or two hours were granted until April 1945 when, under the fourth Commandant, meetings were considerably curtailed, taking place two or three times a week only.

Part 2