Transcribed by: Faye Powell;
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
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
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
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
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
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