Alonzo C. Meridith Affidavit

Sendai #3    Main Camp List     Home
Source: Daughter, Susan Meredith Smith

Perpetuation of Testimony of:

Alonzo C. Meredith
(formerly Staff Sgt, ASN 6250970)
Strawn, Texas

My name is Alonzo C. Meredith. My permanent home address is Strawn, Texas. I am now 31 years old. I was formerly a Staff Sergeant, Serial No. 6250970, in the 27th Material Squadron, U.S. Army Air Force, having enlisted on January 25, 1940. I went overseas April 27, 1940 and returned to the States November 29, 1945. I was discharged from the Army on February 27, 1946.

I was captured on Corregidor, Philippine Islands, on May 6, 1942 by a Japanese Naval landing force, the name of which is unknown to me.

I was held at Cabanatuan No. 3, P.I., until October 28, 1942; them at Cabanatuan No. 1, P.I., until November 9,1942; then on Bataan serving in a 50-man salvage detail until February 2, 1943; then at Bilibid Prison, Manila, P.I., with malaria until April 2, 1943; then at Cabanatuan No. 1, P.I., until September 19, 1943; then at Los Pinas Air Field as a laborer building an air field until October 3,1944; then to Formosa Island Prison Camp [Heito] the name of which I do not know until January 14, 1945; then to Japan at the Sendai Prison Camp No. 3 at Honshu, Japan until I was liberated on September 12, 1945. The camp commander at Sendai Prison Camp No. 3 was Katsuo Ishizawa.

They day we arrived at Sendai Prison Camp No. 3 the Jap commanding officer called all we prisoners into an assembly and told us that we were his enemies and always would be. This was to be proven later on by his actions. We received a shipment of Red Cross supplies and none were ever issued. Even though there was plenty of food in the camp at all times all the prisoners were practically starved. We prisoners carried the boxes of food supplies into the camp. Meals were served to the Japanese guards where we could see them eating. During this time that we received no food, we were in a weakened condition that would not permit us to work.

Due to the fact that we were not able to work, we were beaten at numerous times – practically every day. I should like to state that on one occasion this Japanese commander, Katsuo Ishizawa, came through the camp drunk. At that time for no reason at all he started beating the prisoners with a club. He beat me with a club on my back. I am still having trouble with my back as a result of this beating.

The enlisted Japanese guards were permitted to beat American & British prisoners at any time they chose to and any weapon that they chose by the commanding officer; however, the commanding officer seemed to enjoy themselves and get much pleasure from beating the prisoners, and would stand around and laugh while prisoners would be beaten.

Due to this treatment and starvation 14 men died at Sendai Prison Camp No. 3, and their bodies were cremated. Three other prisoners and myself carried the bodies on sleds to the crematory.

The Japanese Sgt. Major, Tasobei Chonan, was more lenient with the prisoners and I never did see him beat a prisoner. At times he would issue us more food than he was ordered to issue.

Japanese Sgt. Kunpei Shimizu, would slap and kick the prisoners when they would ask for more food. He would also hoard the medical supplies and refuse to issue then to the sick.

There was a mine supervisor whom I believe to be Tanfuji who was the worst one of the mine supervisors in my opinion. He carried on more of the beatings than any of the other supervisors. Practically every day he would hit me over the head with his club for no reason whatsoever. All prisoners received this same treatment from him.

In addition to my statement regarding the Red Cross Supplies, I should like to state that the Japanese guards always smoked American cigarettes and we saw them carry the Red Cross food supplies from the warehouse to their mess hall.

All the Japanese prison camps were infested with lice, etc., but the Japanese commanders never made any attempts toward cleaning up the living quarters.

When we first arrived at Sendai Prison Camp No. 3 there were 300 American and British prisoners who remained all during my stay at this camp. We were working in a lead and zinc mine. We were marched to work by Japanese guards who beat us along the way with clubs about six o'clock in the morning, and we worked until 4:30 or 5 o'clock in the afternoon. The Jap commander would always march to and from the mine with the prisoners.

We were issued one suit of Japanese work clothing and had to wear this suit during the whole time of our imprisonment. We were never issued any shoes until after the Japanese surrendered. Practically all of the prisoners were forced to go barefooted. The Japanese commander stated that the issuance of shoes to the prisoners would be bad for the morale of the civilians who worked in the mines. Leather shoes furnished by the Red Cross were in the warehouse at all times, but the commander would not allow them to be issued to us.

At different intervals the Jap Commander would order practically all of the prisoners to stand at attention from one hour to three hours in the cold for minor violations –like turning of one's head or smoking a cigarette.

State of Texas, County of Palo Pinto

I, Alonzo C. Meredith, of lawful age, being duly sworn on oath, state that I have read the foregoing statement consisting of two pages, and that it is true to the best of my knowledge and belief.