Robb Report Extract

Sendai #3    Main Camp List     Home
Source: Louis Read

Extracts from the Bob Ross Report, March 1966
Compiled from interviews with former inmates
Copy donated by Louis Read

In-Transit: The Philippines to Japan

On October 1, 1944 about 1,100 American and Allied POWS along with some civilians were moved from Cabanatuan and other work camps to the Bilibid Prison in Manila. Included in the group were almost 200 British, Dutch and Javanese colonial troops... some 1289 of these Allied men had been shipped from Java and were on route to Japan [Horuku Maru] when sunk in Manila Bay by American carrier planes. Loss of life has been estimated at 1047 Allied POWS. [see Kentner report on condition of survivors at Bilibid Prison]

Haro Maru:
Seven hundred men were placed in forward hold and about 400 in the rear hold. The ship was a small, rusting coastal freighter. The ship had carried horses and coal on the trip to Manila and had not been cleaned. Foul residue remained from the animals.

On 11 Oct 1944, the Haro Maru, (Hokusen Maru) now renamed the Horror Maru or Benjo Maru {toilet ship) arrived at the Kowloon docks in Hong Kong. After remaining at anchor for ten more days, the ship departed, arriving at the southern port of Takao on Formosa (Taiwan). Under the extremely stressful conditions, 39 men perished and were buried, unceremoniously, at sea.

The men were taken to Heito POW Camp (Camp #3) where they toiled for nine weeks harvesting sugar cane and laboring at sugar processing plants.

On 14 Jan 1945, the men were taken aboard the Melbourne Maru partly loaded with nitrates and Japanese soldiers heading the Japan. With stops along the China coast, the ship arrived at Moji on 23 Jan 1945. Still clad in tropical clothing, the men were carried by train northward, dropping details for other camps along the way. On 28 Jan 1945, about 250 Americans, 250 British plus two Dutch and some civilians were delivered to Sendai #3.

From Sendai, the train trip to the mine was an eight hour ride on a narrow gauge railroad. From the Uguisusawa train station, the men then walked up a steep mountainside for an hour in bitterly cold weather to the new camp.

The new camp had two British officers, Capt Peter Dean and Lt. J.P Lawrence. They commanded the British troops and the two Dutchmen. Americans were technically under the command of Lt Col Gaskill, a medical doctor. Senior command officer was Major Houston S. Farris of the 59th CAC and was assisted by Lt Hugh E. Wandell of the 59th CAC, Capt William E. Wilson (MD) and Capt Leslie Zimmerman, a protestant Chaplain. Numbers were assigned to the new arrivals and are indicated in the camp rosters