Ford Letter

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RG 24 Box 2176 Diaries
Shinagawa Hospital
Post war letter to AG relating experiences as a POW

54 Lasswade Road
Edinburgh 9
March 19, 1946

Dear Captain Smith,

I enclose a diary [Not in file] covering the period from June 1944 to September 1945, a roll of prisoners in the 'Stadium' camp, Yokohama, and a carbon copy of a protest lodged by the officers of that camp. I should like all three to be returned, and I particularly request that my diary may be treated in strict confidence.

These are the only documents of any general interest that I brought back. As is related in my diary, the Japs confiscated most of my papers in June 44. The following resume may, however, be of some assistance to you.

James Allan Ford, captured in Hongkong, December 25th, 1941, while serving as 2nd/Lieutenant in the 2nd Bn. of the Royal. Scots. Concentrated that night in Victoria Barracks, and moved on the 28th to Shamshuipo Barracks, Kowloon.
I take it that you are primarily interested in camps in which Americans lived. There were none in Shamshuipo. And since, moreover, the story of Shamshuipo will be fully documented by the senior British and Canadian officers in command, I shall start my narrative on Sept. 3, 1942, when about a dozen officers and six hundred men left for Japan.

September 15: Disembarked Yokohama. [Shi Maru from Hong Kong] Capt. Otway, R.E., Lieut. Price, R.A.M.C., myself and some 200 men posted to Stadium Camp [originally Camp 2, later Camp 3B, Tokyo Area] in which we found Squadron-Leader [Leonard] Birchall [DFC] and W.O. Onyette, both of the R.C.A.F., and about half-a-dozen men, all of whom had come from Ofuna that same day. About a month later, Capt. Kauffman, U.S.A. M. C., and 72 Americans arrived from the P. I. The eventual composition of the camp was:
British 216
Americans 76
Canadians 2
Civilians (from Wake Island) 5

Ref. 5a. [Food]
Food prepared by prisoner-cooks. Almost always inadequate. For full details, I refer you to Capt. Kauffman who was our doctor.

[Hospital Facilities]
b. Kauffman and British orderlies did their best with inferior and inadequate materials. Serious cases were removed to Shinagawa of which you will doubtless have heard. Our comparatively low death-rate (7 or 8 men) was due to Kauffman's work and to the fact that the officers of this camp were able to buy medicines secretly through venal or friendly-camp officials.

c. We lived in relatively good quarters under a baseball stadium. The officers had a separate room.

d. Latrines, cookhouse, washstand and bathhouse were situated in a yard outside. Primitive, but comparatively good.

5e. The few prisoners not on outside working parties were usually allowed to exercise in the pitch. We had a small library and some musical instruments.

[Red Cross Parcels:]
6. Birchall's diary which was turned over to the U.S. authorities in Yokohama contains details of Red Cross issues, complete with notes of Jap pilfering. So far as I remember, we received:
Christmas .42 1 British parcel per man
Spring 43 British food (corned beef ,cereal, dried fruit, cocoa, sugar, salt in bulk)
Christmas 43 1 American parcel per man.
Spring 44 1 American parcel per man

7. All I can remember is that, in all the time I was in Japan, I received 78 [7 - 8?] letters or postcards, and sent 7 letters or postcards and 1 [one] 200 word radio message.

8. All "fit" men, (the arbitration was Japanese) required to work. A proportion of the officers also compelled to work. Generally 10 hours a day, with 2 rest days per month. Manual labour in brickyard, shipyard, sawmill, railway siding, etc..

[Japanese Camp Officials]
9. Stadium Jap officials:
Camp Commandant: Lieut. J. Hayashi
Interpreter: Mr Minamoto
(The only other name I can recall is Otaki. He was in charge of the kitchen and pilfered our rations)

The stadium camp was disbanded in Spring 44, when we separated into small parties and went to live nearer our respective jobs. I took command of a stevedore party consisting of P/0 Hard, R.A.F., and 50 British other ranks. We worked for the Yokohama Stevedore Company and were housed by them at Camp 19 D which opened with our entry on May 1st, 44.

In March 45, two Americans joined us: Capt. Sedgie V. Hinson, U.S. Artillery, and Lieut. C.M. Bransfield, U.S.N. (A). There was no allied doctor at this camp. A Jap civilian doctor made two routine calls a week and visited us in the case of emergencies such as injuries sustained at work. A British orderly held a sick parade every evening to attend to minor complaints.

The housing was comparatively good. The officers maintained a high standard of cleanliness, Hard and I, with the help of Hinson and Bransfield after they arrived, doing most of the routine fatigues ourselves. Until the latter days of this camp, the officers did not have to go out on working parties.

We had only about 30 books, most of which were entirely unsuitable for our men. I tried often with little success to obtain books from H.Q.. and to buy books with officers' money.

At this camp, we received 24 parcels and some comforts, details of which will be found in my diary.

The chief factor contributing to the unrivaled health in 19 D was the extra food stolen from ships on which the prisoners were working.

Camp 19D Jap officials:
Camp Commandant: Lieut. J. Hayashi till Dec. 48-44.
Lieut. R. Kanetsuna
This camp was burnt down [Yokohama Stevedore] during the fire-raid of May 29th, 45. With the exception of 11 men who were transferred to Omori, the complement was transferred to Camp 15D [Became 15 B] in Niigata. As I was there only a short time before my liberation, I am less qualified to comment on conditions than several American officers who were there from the opening. The following officers might assist you:
Commander Callahan U.S.N.
249 El Camino Drive, Beverley Hills, Cal.
Major J. F. Breslin U.S. Army Medical Corps 5332 N. Sydenham Street, Philadelphia, Penn.
Major Ted E. Pulos, U.S.M.C., 3224 0 Street, Lincoln, Nebraska
Lieut. R. P. Fulmer, U.S. Artillery. 4191 4th Ave., Los Angeles, Cal.

For further details of the Stadium Camp, apply to: Birchall, Otway, Kauffman, Coulter, Rhodes, all of whose addresses appear in the roll of the camp.

For further details of Camp 19D, apply to: Hard (address in enclosed roll,
Captain Sedgie V. Hinson, U.S. Artillery, Tylertown, Mississippi.
Lieut. C. M. Bransfield, U.S.N., 6911 Euclid Ave., Chicago, Ill.

The formal protest enclosed was prepared by me with the approval of all officers of the Stadium Camp. It is self-explanatory. I forward it as a reflection on conditions. Hayashi did not transmit it to the Supreme Commandant. On the other hand, he did not punish us, and Birchall didn't have too bad a time. If there are any specific questions you would like to ask, please do not hesitate. I am fully aware of the inadequacy of this report, but, as you will realize, it has taken me quite a time to recall names, dates, etc.. I hope that I have been of some little assistance.

I am, Sir,
yours sincerely,

J. A. FORD, lately Captain, The Royal Scots.