POW Camp #13B
| Tokyo 13
B Branch Camp (Omi)
NIIGATA-ken, NISHIKUBIKI-gun, OMI-machi
At the site of Electro-Chemical Industry Company (Denki Kagaku)
Aerial (courtesy of Japan Map Archives)
12 May 1943: Established as Tokyo 9B
23 May 1943: 296 British arrive ex Kyokko Maru
1 Aug 1943: Renamed 7-D
14 April 1944 (Approx) - 106 Yanks arrive
August 1945: Again renamed 13-B
6 September 1945: rescue effected, men sent by train to Yokohama
Source: Wes Injerd, Wilburn Snyder & Taeko Sasamoto
Arrival Dates for POWS:
(Source- Taeko Sasamoto; Diet Files)
22 May 1943: 296 British
8 October 1943: 1 American
29 March 1944: 4 American
29 April 1944: 100 American
16 May 1945: 6 American
16 May 1945: 194 British
And all my war is done by Steven Abbott
Triumphs and Tragedies Corregidor and Its Aftermath by Arthur B. Baker
Substances of Hope by Richard Stephen Sewell
See Japan and Die by Frank Brimelow
Note: Rosters created from a small memorial booklet created in 1945 and sent to all known survivors by three British men: Abbott (Senior Officer), Burrough & Turner. Original rescue roster and death diaries/roster not located yet at NARA. 542 Men at rescue -432 British, 109 Americans & one New Zealander. Also rosters in NARA RG 407 Box 186.
Camp has a secret radio managed by Lt Abbott, see Liberation & Recovery photos.
Camp Picture: (below)
"This painting by Basil Were (New Zealand) was made during the fortnight's wait for evacuation following the Japanese surrender. It shows wooden barracks with tile roof on the right and, on the left, an air-raid shelter built by the prisoners."
Basil Were (Photo taken by Japanese) was a Coast Watcher captured in the Makin Atoll (now Kiribati). He was first taken to Yokohama for interrogation then moved to Zentsuji. See roster link for story of his return home.
Picture Source: Prisoners of Japan by D.O.W. Hall, War History Branch, Department of Internal Affairs, Wellington, New Zealand, 1949.
Photos and text courtesy of Alexis Petruzela Lehrer (Alexander Petruzela, great uncle):
Below are a couple pictures of him in uniform after the war (you can zoom in closer, one of the photos we had signed by some surviving POWs). He appears swollen in these pix as is the body’s response to rehabilitation after starvation. Corporal Alexander F. Petruzela 38030884, 200th CA, TX – part of the Carlsbad, New Mexico battery and is named on the Battan memorial in Las Cruces, NM (family members nicknamed him "Alec," so my mother and I refer to him as Uncle Alec). He was a farmer and survivalist from Shiner, Texas, born to an immigrant Czechoslovak/Austrian family, and spoke primarily in Czech. He passed away on Valentines Day 1994. My mother and I have felt a wide range of emotions coming across this photograph. It must have been taken early because he still has meat on his cheeks.
Here are some quick pics of some other documents that may be of interest:
Combined files on Petruzela (PDF) - Includes May 1942 letter from War Dept. re his status, affidavit, photo ("Alexander 'Uncle Alec' with my grandmother, his sister, Alice Petruzela Mikulencak, who looked after him in his later years. I often joined her on visits to the VA hospital. Even in his 70s when he stayed at her house, he was waking every night screaming from nightmares of the brutalities he had suffered.")
Quarry and Cement factory; Open hearth furnaces- chipping out the carbon ingots
A number of British, known as Force "G", arrived from Singapore (departed 25/26 Apr 1943 on the Kyokko Maru). Voyage lasted 25 days with 2 deaths (Dutchmen). (Per David Langton)
14 April 1944 (Approx) - 106 Yanks arrived from Tanagawa ex Umeda
Americans 109 Americans plus 2 deceased
Commonwealth Senior Officer Abbott
Commonwealth Dead: 60 men
Roster (RG 407 Box 115) - American and British
Group photos (courtesy of Kevin and Linda-Lee Nicholls):
Alexander Petruzela, 2nd row, 3rd from right (see more on Petruzela below). Wider image (courtesy of Amanda Garcia; also this poster of Joe Fermin Gonzales)
Front row, 2nd from left = Ted (Edwin G H) Painter 1st Cambridgeshires pte 5933823 (1910-1999)
Fourth row, center, wearing white singlet = PTE A Chadwick from Droylsden Manchester (brother-in-law PTE Haughton perished in the camp)
Special Interest: The story of New Zealander Coast Watcher, BASIL WERE, captured at Makin Island at start of war.
Denki Kagaku Co. has erected a memorial close to where the camp was located, and the unveiling ceremony was held on Sept. 5, 2014. On the memorial are inscribed all of the names of the 58 British and two Americans who died while being held there, remembering their sacrifices as well as those who survived. Also acknowledged is the help given by the POW Research Network Japan.
Per organizers Kevin and Linda-Lee Nicholls, "We are interested in getting various artifacts relating to the camp, to be held in a cabinet, either at the Denki factory office or the local museum. We also hope that a Memorial book containing all of the names of the young men held in slavery be placed there. Those interested and willing to share may contact us with any stories or mementos." For further information, email the Nicholls at:
nicholls57 (at) btinternet.com.
Read Omi Memorial Unveiling by Kevin and Linda-Lee Nicholls (DOCX file). Our hats off to them for their tireless efforts. The following souvenir booklet copy is also from the Nicholls and contains a list of British and American POW's per unit.
Omi Tribunal Report*
G Force POWs who sailed on the Kyokko Maru but did not go to Omi
G Force list of POWs at Omi May 1943
List of British POW's arriving at Omi 15th May 1945
Lost Aircraft 44-40491 with POW's on board (MACR 14973 44-40491)
POWs lost in transit 10th Oct 1945 Flight MACR 14973 44-40491
POW Index Cards:**
G Force ABBOTT-HUTCHINGS* Order number: 14285. Order details: LICENCE AGREEMENT for the use of the tribunal report on Omi camp 13B Japan by Stephen Abbott for use on the Mansell POW website.
G Force INGHAM-YAXLEY
POWs arriving May 1945
POWs not arriving at Omi
POWs lost in transit Oct. 10, 1945
** Order number: 14285. With the kind permission of the National Archives: Order details: LICENCE AGREEMENT for the use of POW cards on the Mansell website.
British Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery
Harry Peter 5775713 6th Bn Royal Norfolk Regt
Barnes Arthur Reginald 5779999 5th Bn Royal Norfolk Regt
Barret Joseph 1801244 Royal Artillery
Bridge, Reginald 2331683 Royal Corps of Signals
Brown, Arthur Ernest 5778150 6th Bn Royal Norfolk Regt
Chapman, Cyril 6020689 4th Bn Suffolk Regt
Chester, Walter 5933187 2nd Bn The Cambridgeshire Regt
Cook, John 2925623 3rd H.A.A. Regt Royal Artillery
Crees, Benjamin James 901307 259 Bty. 118 Field Regt Royal Artillery
Dack, Bertie Reginald 5770353 5th Bn Royal Norfolk Regt
Dickson, Albert 2343074 Royal Corps of Signals
Drummy, Stanley John 851842 9th Coast Regt Royal Artillery
Durrant, Spencer Kitchener 5832566 5th Bn The Suffolk Regt
Earnshaw, Tom Edwin 2349756 Royal Corps of Signals
Edwards, Sydney Thomas T217746 53 Inf Bde Group Royal Army Service Corps
Everson, Ronald William 5774011 4th Bn Royal Norfolk Regt
Ferguson, James 1542871 6th Bn 1 H.A.A. Regt Royal Artillery
Fisher, William 5828272 4th Bn The Suffolk Regt
Galbraith Dougal McTavish2583951 Royal Corps of Signals
George Harold 3529569 1st Bn The Manchester Regt
Goreham Harry Percy 5778791 5th Bn Royal Norfolk Regt
Grove, William Arthur 1071453 Royal Artillery
Gunson, George Rotherly 2343782 Royal Corps of Signals
Hall, Arthur 5777091 5th Bn Royal Norfolk Regt
Hall, Cecil Frank 5774113 5th Bn Royal Norfolk Regt
Haughton, William 3515086 1st Bn Manchester Regt
Haynes, Peter 872413 9th Coast Regt, Royal Artillery
Heath, Arthur Herbert 6020099 Suffolk Regt
Hillen, James 1427283 16th Defence Regt Royal Artillery
Hinley, Francis Alfred 843617 9th Coast Regt Royal Artillery
Hitching, John Edward 1108929 88th Field Regt Royal Artillery
Hubert Stanley 129799 R.A.S.C
Kelf, Thomas James 911258 118th Field Regt Royal Artillery
Kiernan, James Alfred 2578444 Royal Corps of Signals
Lewin, Russell George 5883252 Royal Corps of Signals
Loome, James Robert 5774840 5th Bn Royal Norfolk Regt
Margetson, Elijah Reginald 5774209 5th Bn Royal Norfolk Regt
Marsh, Walter Leslie 6015777 Royal Corps of Signals
Mason, Frank 3527186 1st Bn The Manchester Regt
McGlone, Thomas T186950 Royal Army Service Corps
McKie, Thomas 2979188 The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders
McNeil, Thomas Ernest 5781118 5th Bn Royal Norfolk Regt
Middleton, David 810148 88th Field Regt Royal Artillery
Newman, Raymond Arthur 941946 88th Field Regt Royal Artillery
Overland, Edward James 5776671 5th Bn Royal Norfolk Regt
Palmer, George Frederick 5779628 5th Bn Royal Norfolk Regt
Roberts, Edward 2321727 Royal Corps of Signals
Sanderson, Edward 7342840 Royal Corps of Signals
Simpson, Frank 2336801 Royal Corps of Signals
Skidmore, Joseph 7906875 Royal Corps of Signals
Spooner, Philip Edward 5828076 4th Bn The Suffolk Regt
Theobald, Edward James 5769733 5th Bn Royal Norfolk Regt
Ward, Albert 2350821 Royal Corps of Signals
Warren, Harold 3525376 1st Bn The Manchester Regt
Webster, Frederick Wilmot 2343591 Royal Corps of Signals
Wilson, Arthur 2364930 Royal Corps of Signals
Wollage, Reginald William 2343312 Royal Corps of Signals
Wright, Herbert Harry 2330322 Royal Corps of Signals
SS Empress of Australia - Hong Kong to Liverpool - September to October 1945
Information held at the National Archive at Kew. Ref: BT 26/ 1212/ 6
SS Empress of Australia (Canadian Pacific)
Travelling from Hong Kong to Liverpool
Embarking Hong Cong, Manila, Colombo and Aden
Official Number: 145300
Omi Camp #13-B
The 541 men from Omi, including British, American and a New Zealander, left the camp on the 5th September 1945 for the last time. They left the camp and took the road to Omi railway station on the first stage of their long journey home. On arrival at the station, they were greeted by Tetsuji Kondoh, the then President of Denka Kagaku Kogyo, and other civic dignitaries who bid them a fond farewell. Denka Kagaku Kogyo (now Denka Kagaku) is the company that owned the factory where the POW camp was located and the men worked as forced labour.
They travelled to Tokyo and then on to Yokohama. Those that were fit enough were flown on converted American bombers from Yokohama to Okinawa and from there to Manila in the Philippines.
The Empress of Australia had left Hong Kong on the 11th September with Australian POW’s and civilian internees on board. They arrived at Manila on the 13th September and on arrival the Australians disembarked to continue their journey home.
The available places were then offered to the British services for those well enough to travel. On departure from Manila it carried 1675 POWs and civilian detainees of which 93 were from Omi Camp #13-B.
The list of those POWs from Omi Camp #13-B who boarded the ship to continue their journey home disembarking at Liverpool 27th October 1945 can be found on the FEPOW web site. Follow the information on the page to find the person you are looking for.