Hiram Stanley Willard

Akenobe Main

Transcribed by: Faye Powell; Australia

POW Camp Descriptions
Shamshuipo, Hong Kong
Sakurajima, Japan
- established 20 July 1943 as Osaka 4-D became Osaka-08 B Hitachi Zozen [camp closed 18 May 1945]
Akenobe, Japan - established 15 May 1945 as Osaka 21-B became 6B  Mitsubishi Copper Mine

SOURCE: War Crimes and Trials. Affidavits and sworn statements. Hiram Stanley WILLARD
Australian War Memorial File AWM54 - 1010/4/147

Constable WILLARD, Hiram Stanley, being duly sworn, give the following evidence.

My full name is Hiram Stanley Willard. My home address is "Egan Creek", Via YERONG CREEK, Riverina, New South Wales.

I was a member of Royal Naval Yard Police and was taken prisoner at Hong Kong, China, on 25/12/41. I was first imprisoned at Hong Kong for 6 or 7 days and then transferred to Shamshuypo (sic) Camp on the Chinese mainland. I was in this camp for approx 12 months. All prisoners were in good condition on arrival at this Camp.

Whilst in this Camp, we were on 2 rice meals per day unless an attempt was made to escape when the ration was reduced to one meal. We were soon organised into working parties, arising at 4 a.m for a meal and no more food till we returned at 7 p.m the same evening. Dysentry was prevalent, sanitary arrangements were practically nil and for a time we were unable to cope with the dysentery menace. No clothes were available and we were forced to use G-strings and wooden clogs to walk about in.

There were a few attempts to escape but were discouraged by Major Boon [Major Cecil "Queenie" Boon, Hong Kong China Command Hq] who had been appointed Camp Commandant by the Japanese. On one occasion, he threatened to report us to the Japanese for planning to escape and actually several men were taken and questioned. At least two of these men never returned, one was Constable CONLON and the other "Darkie" DUNNE. On my release, I heard they had been shot.

Diptheria broke out and for a time the Japanese refused us any medical supplies whatsoever, up to nine men dying each day. Drafts were going to Japan and I was one of 1800 that left for Japan at the end of 1942. Whilst in this Camp we were quartered in former Army barracks surrounded by electrified wire and firewood was that scarce that we were forced to use the woodwork from those buildings. The quarters were teeming in bugs, lice and fleas.
Working conditions were very severe with only a break of half an hour at midday.

I saw several bashings take place but cannot remember the names of any of the victims. A Japanese nicknamed "The Yank", he was also being the interpreter was one of the ringleaders of these bashings.

We were subjected to parades whilst would-be searchers were made, when we would be forced to stand for 3 hours in the rain and many collapsed from their weakness and exposure. These parades were called at any time from darkness to dawn and the sick were not excluded from these parades, and our only clothing being the G-strings.

Conditions whilst not extremely bad, were subject more to the whims of the Japanese than to our conduct. The Japanese frequently put on execution parties on the pier which was visible from our camp and which we were forced to view, the victims being Chinese men, women and children. On the opposite side of the Camp, at the "Welcome" Hut, many Chinese were to be seen tethered and weights of barbed wire placed on their backs and stomachs; they were a common sight. The Japanese Camp Commandant who was in charge of these guards permitted these offences to go on. I cannot recall the Camp Commandant's name.

* * * * * * *

Transfer to Japan
From Shamshuypo (sic) Camp, I was transferred to Sakurajima Camp at Osaka, JAPAN at the end of 1942 and remained there till April 1945.

In this Camp, the food was very similar to the rations supplied in Shamshuypo (sic) Camp but we obtained a midday meal when we commenced working.

Here again we experienced a lot of sickness and a little medicine. There were several supplies of American Red Cross drugs brought into Camp but our doctor had very little access to it and he often told us that the Japanese medical corporal would not let him use any of the drugs in a reasonable quantity. When an inspection was made by senior Japanese officials, the sick were sent to work which gave the impression that we were reasonably treated on account of the low number of sick personnel remaining in the Camp. I have often aided in carrying sick men to work and later a lot of these men were to die.

The medical Corporal was called MATSUMOTO and if things were not pleasing him, he would go around the hospital patients and bash us with a bamboo stick, and continue so until his strength gave out. Several times our doctor spoke and interfered on our behalf and he was also subject to bashings by MASUMOTO which consisted of face slapping. On several occasions when men were near death from sickness, he would lock the medical cupboard and walk out. On returning to Camp next morning, he would inquire concerning the sick mens' health. On being told of their death, he would laugh and say "I am glad". MATSUMOTO also pedalled our drugs outside.
Our rest days became only two per month and we were forced to work cleaning our camp each rest day. No soap was issued for 5 months and then we were penalised in our rations for having dirty clothes. No razors were obtainable and men became very dejected.

In this camp they issued us with a shirt, a pair of trousers and a pair of cardboard boots which were faced on the outside with cloth. I consider MATSUMOTO the indirect cause of many prisoners' deaths.

COCOODA, although a corporal, was virtually in command of the Camp and with MATSUMOTO and IKEEDA formed a trio that turned this camp into virtual hell.

MATSUMOTO was of 5 foot or 5 foot 2 inches high, medium build, wore glasses and was very dark with an ashen complexion.
IKEEDA was similar in build and height.
COCOODA was thicker set although of the same height and also wore glasses. He was nicknamed "The Little Corporal. I cannot recall any other outstanding features of these three Japanese.

COCOODA and IKEEDA always gave us our roughest treatment when the Camp Commandant was absent which was frequent. For trifling offences such as spitting, they would stand the Camp to attention and bash many with a bamboo stick and make passes with their swords at us in that they would make personnel kneel in readiness for execution striking the backs of the necks or making a sweep past the heads with the backs of the swords and laughing at our discomfort. They frequently struck us with the flat of the sword. These parades for misdemeanours generally occurred at the termination of a work day and sometimes the victims of the charges were forced to stand to attention in the snow until roll call at night which was 8 p.m. thereby missing their tea. Whilst standing to attention, they would be bashed in relays and a bucket of iced water thrown over them when they collapsed to bring them to.
When I complained of my ulcerated leg, I was kicked in the ulcer by IKEEDA and as a result it was 9 months in healing.

When men were not considered to be doing their best at work, they were paraded in front of us and bashed and on one occasion, one man's head hit the cement floor with a dull thud and 9 days afterwards was found dead in bed. He had complained of severe headaches after the bashing but was refused medical aid by the Japanese because they said a loafer did not deserve medical aid. IKEEDA was the one who administered the bashing and MATSUMOTO was the one who refused medical aid. They gave this man's death as from natural causes but I consider he died from a fracture of the skull.

When anyone was reported for not working hard, these three Japanese always meted out heavy punishments although the men were in a weakened condition and, in my gang, were expected to swing 28 pound hammers, pattening the steel hulls of boats. This treatment was meted out to all and sundry during the whole period of imprisonment at this Camp,


I was next moved to the Copper Mines at AKINOBE (sic) and the treatment was very similar to that meted out at other camps. Whilst at this Camp they encouraged us to pluck Mulberry leaves to make soup to augment our meagre rations.

I certify the above evidence is true and correct

Sworn by the abovenamed at )
HENTY, NSW this twenty-first ) SIGNATURE of H S Willard
Day of October 1946 )
Before me (Signature not readable)
A Commissioner for taking Affidavits