George - Darren Norton on Friday had questions about the above subject matter. In their "Return From the River Kwai", Joan and Clay Blair provide some interesting material.
As you all know, two Japanese ships carrying Allied prisoners of war, the RAKUYO MARU and the KACHIDOKI MARU were torpedoed in the South China Sea in September 1944. According to the Blairs, the following number of survivors were rescued by the named submarines: PAMPANITO 73 (one died), SEALION 54 (4 died), QUEENFISH 18 (2 died), and BARB 14.
Ninety two were Australian and sixty British.
When the first repatriated Australians reached Brisbane they were greeted by Field Marshall Blamey and a brass band. The public was not invited. Instead, these men were taken to a secluded convent and kept under guard - prisoners again ! The first British repatriates arrived at Greenock aboard the QUEEN MARY, were greeted by a "low ranking, obscure general", and then were taken to a former country estate outside London where they were kept for a week.
The problem was that both governments feared repercussions when the stories told by these fellows became public knowledge. Eventually, the prisoners were released to their families and the governments, on November 17, made announcements detailing the sinking of the RAKUYO MARU and the treatment of the prisoners in the Japanese camps. The Blairs wrote, (Acting Prime Minister) "Forde's report was one of the most shocking stories ever published in Australia". In London, the Secretary of State for War, Sir James Grigg, told the House of Commons that "it is a matter of profound regret to me that these disclosures have to be made; but were are convinced that the Japanese should know that we know how they are behaving, and we intend to hold them responsible".
So, more than two years had elapsed since the first contingents were moved up to Burma, and this was the first news to reach the civilized world of what the Japanese
did, and were doing. (We were just beginning the Pakan Baroe railway.)
News was getting out, but we couldn't write or say much, other the the Japanese pap and drivel such as postcards stating "We prisoners are permitted to write home by the generous government of Nippon". In May of 1943, however, I was able to send a number of interesting bits of information in a lengthy radio message from Batavia. This was addressed to a younger brother and reads, "Birthday greetings from the island of Java. I am now interned in a military prisoner of war camp. It is half a year since we were landed in the part of the world and we are still together, forty seven survivors of the motorship AMERICAN LEADER."
Referring to the recipient's birthday was a common trick to establish the date of the writing. "Half a year" put our date of arrival as November, and since we disappeared in early September, where had we been in the interval? "Forty seven survivors" meant eleven of our original crew were missing.
In a following paragraph I wrote, "Study classes for languages have been organized. I studied French for a while and then German. There, of course, our time in German ships proved invaluable."
As my family knew I had never sailed in German ship, that told them we had been captured by a German ship, which was also recognized by all the newspapers that carried the story. One newspaper added the comment, "It is to be understood that the letter was presumably checked by a Japanese censor and that the prisoner would not be allowed to imply that life was anything but comfortable in an enemy prison camp."
There were other points made, but it is not necessary to elaborate any further.
Peggy - >George -- These issues are important -- that the governments kept these secrets. There is a certain rational in wartime -- you don't want the combattants to know what sort of demons they are facing -- all the enemy are cross-eyed and buck-toothed. But what really is alarming is that at least US military pows were "sworn to secrecy" AFTER the end of the war. They were forbidden to release their stories AFTER the war was over with threat of court martial for violation of these terms.
Can anyone comment? Are these facts true as I have been informed? What was
the situation for British/other allied pows/internees AFTER the war was over?
Were they too threatened by their own government authorities for revealing details?
Arthur - This is a scanned copy of the article which all returning prisoners of war
PRESS INTERVIEWS IN TIE UNITED KINGDOM.
The following is a message from Gil... tI.L~.P. to 0 0 Troops, SS Boisevein and is drawn to the attention of all passengers. All RAPdJI rersonnel should be informed of the following instructions regarding PRESS INTERVIEWS on arrival in the United Kingdom.
- For their own protection they should not give their own address If this is not done PAPWI Personnel will be inundated by enquiries from next of kin of missingPOWs
- No mention should be made of the names of the P.O.W who have died n captivity.
- For the sake of the next of kin who have not yet heard from POW.lis: 2.APWI personnel are urgently requested not to tell to the PRESS atrocity stories, as these would. only increase the anxiety of the next of kin of those prisoners of war who are still missing.
The only time British POWs were required to sign the official secrets document was in the instance of a de-brief. also written evidence against a war criminal, or those who were subject to certain investigative enquiries
Janet - >Peggy, I know my Father had to sign an oath of silence or as he put it " The Official Secrets Act" , ( I think he was being a tad sarcastic as he generally considered people who had to sign the Act as being in elevated possitions - I know that isn't neccessarilly so as I have had to sign it as a student and working during the holidays in a Government Dept doing the most tedious and menial tasks ) , after he was feed but before being let back home to my Mother and his
When he first told me about that in a passing conversation only a few years ago, I thought he was winding me up a bit and took little notice, but it has surfaced on this site before and apparently he was actually being serious !
I will repeat what I said at the time of learning it was for real - " what a BL**DY cheek " !
Peggy - >Arthur -- Can you lead me to any original documents in the Public Records Office, Military History archives? I don't necessarily believe that it was
originally the intention to deny POW/internees their rights. What governments wanted to do was hold all the important information so that they could and DID use it to their political advantage.
The point is that NOW we ought to KNOW what happened
Peggy - >Janet -- Thank you VERY MUCH for this information. I think that your father's experience is the tip of an iceberg that has been hushed up. I hope that your information will encourage others to come forward.
Official secrets covers a lot of ground. What secrets? For what reason?
Who ended up profitting from these oaths of loyalty? Take the example of Unit 731 and the US coverups and you get at least some preliminary answers.
Arthur - Unffortunately Peggy, many of the documents which tell of the betrayal of British and Allied forces in the far east are still locked away for at least a further fifty years.
Check public records and they will send you a list of what they hold on any subject
Check my previous answer on this subject. Returning POWs were not oblaiged to sign the official secrets document unless they had been involved in some for of action which had required secrecy in the first place.
We did revceive a document telling everyone not to speak to the press As the press were creating panic among the families who had not at that time had confirmation regarding a loved one.
Why should they be required to sign any document, we had all been out of it for at least three and half years
Peggy - Dear Arthur and Janet, I would really like to hear from anyone or family members who recall experiences of POW/internee periods being asked to withhold information fromt he public -- whether this was formal, as in their involvement in intelligence operations, routine, or out of consideration for the families of those lost.
Janet - >Peggy, I can not believe my Father would have been involved in any extra-ordinary activities like intelligence etc. he jsut never struck me as anyone like that, but was a clever man and an amazing judge of character which often astonished me .
Someone did point out that they thought the powers that be wanted to somewhat protect next of kin of those who had perished, perhaps there's an eliment of truth there , I just do not know.
He did however sorta marvell at the amoungt of info made available via the media at the time of the Falklands and Gulf Wars, he couldn't believe it to be possoble that we were all so privvy to so much information .
He spoke so rarely about anything to do with his POW days untill a few years ago as an elderly man, when he opened up and told me quite a few of these stories that I can relay.
Mind you, he would have no doubt signed anything almost just in order to get this travel pass to get home to my Mum and oldest brother, it is an intersting one, that I shall never now know the answer to.
>Arthur, I wonder if this was what it was and not literally signing an oath ? sadly I will not able to find out now.
Keith - An officer of the Royal Artillery at the end of the war, suggested that it would cause undue stress and anguish to next of kin to learn how their loved ones had died. He was referring to the Sandakan Death March. For next of kin to learn the truth I suspect would have caused an uproar, but this suggestion was
made in good faith by the officer concerned.
Today, it seems like a conspiracy of silence, which if you think about it, it was not intended to be. However, Arthur Lane has mentioned more than once the sealing of records for a further 50 years, if I remember correctly, until 2024.
What is so secret about the Fall of Malaya and Singapore?
Or are we talking about reputations, and I have read one of Arthur's book from cover to cover, and there are passages within it that bring back memories of stories that my father told me.
This still goes on today, and there will be one person reading this, apart from Arthur, that may well agree.
I have my father's POW Index Card, and his de-brief form, and if he had to sign such an oath, he never made me aware of it.
Sorry if this sounds provocative, it is not meant to, but there
are many unanswered questions, and when I get the time, I will share them.
I will however, close with this quotation;
"In time of war, the truth is so precious, it must always be accompanied by a bodyguard of lies" Winston S.Churchill.
Maurice - I have just spoken to my father and he assures me that once he had landed back on British soil he was ORALLY WARNED, "Not to speak of anything you have seen or heard about while you were over there, or you will be clapped in irons" as he had already signed the Official Secrets act he did not need to do it again. And as he said "all we wanted to do was get back home and
the threat of being IMPRISONED AGAIN kept us all quiet"
This is an extract from his diary........"The 'Isle De France' as far as our homecoming was a monumental disaster and is even now remembered with bitterness, if it was incompetence or sheer indifference or even ignorance I don't know, but at Pheasant camp Rickmanswoth to some extent it was put right."
Janet - >Maurice, I am intersted at what your Dad says, I can imagine then, that my Dad's bit might have then been similar, that having already signed the oath in 1939 he wouldn't have needed to sign it again but orally was reminded of this.
I like Ron wonder if this had anything to do with the fact they never wanted to talk about it !
Peggy - Well, this is turning out to be quite an interesting bit of commo on this issue. I hope it will continue to be explored by members of FEPOW. I really can see where being threatened with going back to jail and or prevented from making a quick return home would have been more than enough incentive to sign/agree to a statement seeming so innocent.
Does anyone know of any cases in the services where men who did speak out in
the immediate postwar years were arrested/or faced legal action against them?
I realize that this starts moving into a political arena and perhaps isn't appropriate to FEPOW, but on the other hand these issues are intertwined.
Arthur - >Peggy, I would love to oblige, but I have forgotten what I signed for or what it was about in the first place.
>Janet, You say that you can not imagine your father doing anything secretive or anything like that.
I would draw your attentiuon to Padre Duckworth (No one could be more against secrecy) who the Japanese allowed to carry his vestment case.
In fact the padre had two similar cases, one for his tools of trade as a priest and the other to conceal paperwork relative to the work being carried out by major Wild. Ask the Japanese comander Abe Horisha about it, (Abe is still alive today and knows that all the evidence against him was concealed in that case) Abe will tell you himself that had it not been for Wilds unfortunate demise He Abe would most certainly have hung.
Very few people signed the secrecy register. Maybe your father signed to a statement made by a group concerning war crimes?
Peggy - >Janet Arthur -- Did pows/internees have to agree to confidentiality/secrecy of anything they revealed to war crimes investigators?
I'm not sure what the current laws are in US/UK concerning witnesses, except that Grand Jury testimonies in the US, used for deciding whether to indite a suspect are sealed forever. In a sense, the war crimes investigations could be seen as a preliminary investigation leading to decisions about inditement, then trial.
Can anyone in FEPOW with a legal background comment on this issue from the
point of view of war crimes investigations/trials?
Arthur - >Keith, Your final paragraph tells it all. Churchill in the eyes of most people was a hero. In my eyes and many of those who were holding onto the rotten end of the stick, He was a scheming lying creep. Read the book by ANTHONY CAVE BROWN "THE SECRET SECRET SERVANT" which tells of Churchill before he took over the reins of war. He was a sodomist and a horse ringer, one in the services can not get lower than than without being thrown out. Churchill received a medal for saving a soldiers life. In fact the agreement between Churchill and the wounded soldier was that If the wounded man showed Churchill the way back to camp, Churchill would let the wounded soldier lean on him.
I have no love for a man who can knowingly agree to the death of thousands of innocent men and women, (PEARL HARBOR) without first giving them a hint of what was to come. LOOK UP THE MEETING BETWEEN CHURCHILL, ROOSEVELT, AND STALIN AUGUST 1940 TRY TO OBTAIN COPIES OF THE AGREEMENT. you have as much chance of seeing the true document as you have returning from hell or heaven whichever your final destiny.
The document which your father signed was read or brought to the attentention of us all. As I said earlier. The British press reporters were all anxious to have the scoop of the year immaterial of consideration for the families of those whose son's, brothers and husbands had been the victims of the most cruel and sadistic bastards in the world. In this instance the government were right. ask me about Joe Duckworth some time and it will give you some idea of why it was necessary to cover up
>Peggy, In relpy to your question "did anybody"?
The government do not move like that, instead a quantity of abusive mail is received, and then abusive phone calls for instance
"Why do you not keep your big mouth shut"
"Why didn't you die on the battlefield you bastard"
"Why did the Japanese let you go free"
Plus any number of similar messages . Today just the odd "E" mail which is got rid of with just a click.
The signing of these pieces of paper were nothing to do with secrecy. The same applies in life today. The signing of their evidence, because that is really what they are signing for, was to ensure that the evidence they had given, should not be leaked out to either the papers or the people defending the Japanese war criminals, nor should it be made public, Once the matter became general knowledge, the case against would be thrown wide open and out of court.
As well as this the person making the statement needed to be identified, should he happen to be called to give evidence.
Very few British service men however were called upon to give evidence. the Americans saw to that.
Anne - Although it would suit a theory to conclude from the fact that some POWs signed non disclosure documents, there is no way we can assume that it was a widespread practice, that the documents were the same, or that there was any sinister purpose, Firstly, there seems to have benn no uniformity or consistency in what and whether men signed.
Second, in many cases, men were actively encouraged to talk (I have waded through hundreds of post release questionnaires). Indeed this was part of the process to disclose evidence, not hide it. The investigation committees I've studied were grasping for evidence, and sometimes men hanged on grounds that wouldn't stand up in a modern court. Third, men in camps - even the Japanese - would only have known a small part of what was going on. If there was a plot the methods of tracking it down would have been more sophisticated. If the Japanese wanted to wipe out POWs they could have done so much more easily. If the Japanese did have a sophisticated programme, and this is an "if", there are other of tracking it down.
A lot of survivors kept mum because they were just too traumatised.
Just like Holocaust survivors - people wanted them to talk, yet many even buried the fact that they were there. Others had other involvement - knowing about SOE, desertions, cliques etc. and particularly distressing/controversial incidents. Sixty years may have passed but I still find it difficult to pass on gruesome details to families : how much more circumspect men would have been in a more buttoned up age than ours ? That was a time when everything was uptight and bureaucratised. There certainly doesn't seem to have been any consistent coverup, if there was one.
Peggy - >Arthur -- Thanks for this information. Was there an equivalent to the Provost Marshal in the UK services? I understand from Battling Bastards that all pows were interviewed by this office before being repatriated. These records, doubtless, were used in war crimes investigations. I've seen one or two examples from the American end.
Hope this isn't getting to be a bore. You've got a civilian here with no personal military experience, so a lot of these questions may seem obvious to you but its new territory to me. Think of me as a pesky apprentice.
>Maurice -- Maybe some of the others in the group can request war-records of
their kin. I do not have any family members who served in the Pacific theatre. Therefore, I'm not able to gain the same kind of access if I understand the rules of privacy as they apply in the US/UK systems.
Arthur - >Maurice, If your father says that he sined an agreement I belive him, more so if he worked with S O E-
There was no S O E in Singapore as far as I know, I belonged to what was called the independant company, which was a part time outfit which we attended for training every other week with the blessings of our commanding officer,until November 1940, when we trained with 121 S.T.S . again part time.
121 S.T.S was a main unit which operated under Spencer Chapman, They were being trained to operate behind the lines. but thankfuly we remained with our own units although the training was most useful
Every unit had a provost officer or sergeant. Above them was the military police provost officer,and if anyone was asking questions it would most likely be him or one of his supernumeries.
There are many tales coming from POWs today, and I would ask, why the hell they didn't say anything when the majority were still alive. There are far to many so called secret diaries just emeging from the woodwork.
How secret I wonder? , where would one hide their manuscript ?when all they stood up in was a loin cloth, Their most precious carrying vessel was a bamboo cup and possibly the top or bottom part of a mess tin
When the battle is over everyone wants to be the hero.
In my particular instance I gave a statement concerning my witnessing Kaiyoki Tanaka murder one man on the first occasion and later three men, by discharging dynamite charges prematurely out of spite .
No one twisted my arm to make the statement, although the officer taking my statement had suggested that the sooner I made the statement the sooner I would get home. I did not think this was a threat, just advice.
Anyone can request to view record held at the Public records office.
Go down any day and you will see young men and women who were far too young to have even been involved in the Gulf war.
Peggy - >Anne -- Yes, I agree with you that apparently there was no uniform policy regarding signing of secrecy oaths or other official warnings to former pows to keep silent. However, statements were signed by former POWs in a concerted effort by Allied governments to hide the truth of Japanese war crimes. I am not provoking a theory of conspiracy, because that has already been amply
documented by people regarded as experts on the subject of war crimes and war crimes trials.
As Sheldon Harris, FACTORIES OF DEATH, p. 120 reveals:
Frank James, pow "We were required, when we came to the depot at Manila, on the ay back from the pow camps, we signed a statement by the Army stating we would not tell before our experiences or conditions, what happned to us in the prison camps, before any audiences, or the newspapers, under threat of court martial. "
That the coverup of UNIT 731 activities by the US, UK and apparently the Canadian governments was a "conspiracy" is how Peter Calvacoressi , Guy Wint and John Pritchard say in TOTAL WAR, THE CAUSES AND COURSE OF THE SECOND WORLD WAR, pp. 1201-1206. . "The story of Japanese biolgocial warfare implicates more than half the persons tried by the IMTFE and more than 5,000 others who worked on the BW program in some capacity. It involved a genuine conspiracy of silence...Allied prosecutors from half a dozen countries affected by the issue remained silent at the Tokyo War Crimes Trial about what they knew ..What seems quite incredible is that the cover-up conspiracy -- for it is by no means a demonological exaggeration to speak of it as a conspiracy -- was maintained throughout the three yeras which elapsed between Japanese defeat and the conclusion of the Tokyo trial...and that...this conspiracy was sustained for so long afterwards."
We know, also that crimes of cannabalism were widely covered up as described
by Tanaka Yuki in HIDDEN HORRORS, p. 131-134. Webb, head of the Tokyo War Crimes had full access to these files and facts which were not explored in more than a couple of instances.
The collective hush-up of the comfort women issue is another good example of collective official silence. Only one war crimes trial was held concerning comfort women and this was in Batavia. Tens of thousands of women were forced into sexual slavery. Hicks, THE COMFORT WOMEN speaks amply on this subject.
As Arthur point out, many of the war crimes investigation files in the UK and I know for certain that there are a number of such cases the Netherlands also sealed until 2024. Many people who suffered under the Japanese are now themselves DENIED ACCESS to the official government records. In this sense,
they can't even prove "officially" what happened to them.
Maybe, in fact, these secrecy oaths were more prevalent among American pows -- as America had more to gain/loose in terms of political/military and diplomatic leverage by controlling to the utmost the history of the pacific war as it wished it to be known in the cold-war with Japan as its chief Asian ally.
Well, in the end, I guess we are all working towards transparency and the values that make it possible for us to agree to disagree while openly sharing information.
Anne - Procedures for the conduct and investigation of war crimes and war crimes trilas are very well documented. Often cases can be studied together with pre trial investigations, and complete acess to exhibits. What emerges is that they were so desperate for convictions thaat some of what was done then would not stand up in a modern court. Indeed, this was one of the many reasons that the
trials came to an end.
Arthur - The trials ended because the American Government via MacArthur ordered that they be stopped. The agreement signed by our war leaders or leaders agreed that the matter of Japan and anything associated would be at the discretion of the American government.it was a demand that they held due to the lease lend agreement signed by our war leader giving the Americans a ninrty nine
year lease on all British bases in return for the war materials supplied by the Americans.
That was also why the British army was not part of the army of occupation.
The war with Japan was arranged and directed by the Americans with British assistance only.
Peggy - >Arthur -- Yes, supporting your statements about MacArthur I draw attention, again to an article that recently appeared in Amnesty International -- I have excerpted the following segments below. The full text can be found by searching at www.google.com
Amnesty International -index: IOR 53/004/2001 01/09/2001
The duty to enact and enforce legislation - Chapter Two
CHAPTER TWO - THE EVOLUTION OF THE PRACTICE OF UNIVERSAL JURISDICTION III. Prosecutions for crimes committed during the Second World War
''A war crime . . . is not a crime against the law or criminal code of any individual nation, but a crime against the ius gentium [international law]. The laws and usages of war are of universal application, and do not depend for their existence upon national laws and frontiers. ''(96)
B. The political decisions to prevent further prosecutions
Surprisingly, the United States General, Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers in the Far East, as a result of popular opposition in Japan to war crimes trials of Japanese, took the initiative in mid-1947 to urge Allied governments not to hold further war crimes trials.(104) In response to MacArthur's request, the United Kingdom took the lead to stop further trials. On 12 April 1948, the Overseas Reconstruction Committee of the British Cabinet decided that ''no further trials of war criminals should be started after 31 August, 1948''.(105)
Three months later, the British Commonwealth Relations Office sent a secret telegram to Australia, Canada, Ceylon, India, New Zealand, Pakistan and South Africa suggesting that no new trials should be started after 31 August 1948, partly on political grounds:
''In our view, punishment of war criminals is more a matter of discouraging future generations than of meting out retribution to every guilty individual. Moreover, in view of future political developments in Germany envisaged by recent tripartite talks, we are convinced that it is now necessary to dispose of the past as soon as possible.(106)
Canada sent a secret cable in response on 22 July 1948 saying that it had no comment to make and the British government sent a subsequent note on 13 August 1948 warning that ''no public announcement is likely to be made about this''.(107)
A series of similar political decisions were taken by Japanese and American officials to bring to an end trials of Japanese accused of war crimes and to release those convicted, commute their sentences or pardon them. At the same time that the trial of senior Japanese civilian and military was taking place before the Tokyo Tribunal, Japanese Emperor Hirohito promulgated a secret imperial rescript pardoning under Japanese law all members of the Japanese armed forces who might have committed crimes during the war, which was later tacitly approved by United States General MacArthur, as Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers.(108) As a result, there never were any prosecutions in Japanese courts of Japanese for war crimes.(109) The Far Eastern Commission (FEC) issued a formal advisory in 1949 to the 19 Allies in the Far East that trials of Japanese for war crimes should take place no later than 30 September 1949.(110) Two years later, the Treaty of Peace with Japan provided in Article II that all Japanese who had been convicted of war crimes would be returned to Japan to serve the rest of their sentences under the authority of the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, with the aim, as it later became known, to ensure early release on parole or commutation of sentences.(111)
Maurice - >Arthur please go to this site I think it will enlighten you, my father was in SOE and in Singapore.
"There was no S O E in Singapore as far as I know,"
Oriental Mission Scapula
>Peggy, I do believe on Rons site there is a list of addresses that can be contacted, but this is what I have.
British Army records at Ministry of Defence, Defence records, Bourn Ave, Hays, Middlesex, UB3 1RF
And Army records at the Army Personnel Centre, Historic Disclosures, Mail point 400, Kentigern House, 65, Brown Street, Glasgow, G2 8EX.
If you write, tell them of the relationship, quote full name, rank, number, date of birth, Regiment, Corps, and any other information that will help. They will respond, ask you to sign a kinship form, and send a cheque for £25, but there is a 2-3 month wait. I believe they now supply photocopies of original documents.
Ron - >Maurice, Been listening in to the quite lively topic/debate, has been very
The page for Service Records is:
Peggy - Thank Maurice and Ron for this info.
>Arthur -- On the subject of MacArthur's control of war crimes trials I offer the following:
"These trials [including all local military tribunals] were held under the auspices of SCAP which oversaw war crimes trials in Japan and throughout the Asia-Pacific region until 1951." Source: Jaenie M. Welch "Without a Hangman, Without a Rope," International Journal of Naval History, April 2002. Available online.
I'm continuing to dig into the issue of SCAP interference in the war trials involving citizens of their Allies -- I have a feeling there's quite a story here to be uncovered.
You know, what surprises me is finding things like this. I had some odd notion that the British, Dutch, Australians, Chinese had something like vague independence in such matters. I guess I ate too much apple pie as a kid.
Arthur - I would suggest that you surf the web for information on the Bilderbergers. This will tell you why the people who actually fight the wars have no chance at all in any of the negotions.
Wars are planned in advance just like football matches.
Maurice - >Arthur, Please go to this site I think it will enlighten you, my father was in SOE and in Singapore.
"There was no S O E in Singapore as far as I know,"
Oriental Mission Scapula
Arthur - >Maurice, I knew of 121 S.T.S because as I stated in one of my
message replies today. I was a part time with what was known as the
independant company until the end of 1940. then later did a few weeks part
time with 121. We never knew then or did we after the war consider that 121
was part of O S E. I met Spencer Chapman briefly at the Raffles hotel just
before he left for the jungle in January 1941.His description of events was
something like "A bloody mess and no bugger is interested" He had been
talking to my CO colonel Eb Holmes
Keith - >Arthur, Just a question, would it have been anything like a POW de-brief form, listing camps and hospitals, dates, and camp leaders, if you tried to escape (my dad answered that one with the word no, which knowing my dad, he would have been wondering if the guys asking the questions were on the same planet), escape commitees etc?
Does this ring any bells? He asks hopefully.
The fact that my dad answered all of these and other questions with a "NO" SPEAKS VOLUMES TO ME.
If you would like a copy of this, let me know, better make it a direct response to be safe.
Janet - Very interesting isn't it, I just wonder what else might have happened that they were asked to " forget " that we will never know of.
Anne - "Just a question, would it have been anything like a POW de-brief form, listing camps and hospitals, dates, and camp leaders, if you tried to escape (my dad answered that one with the word no, which knowing my dad, he would have been wondering if the guys asking the questions were on the same planet), escape commitees etc?"
That is exactly what the post war questionnaires asked ! Plus they also left space for he men to fill in extra observations. Hundreds, probably thousands, of them are available for perusal. Re your Dad's comments on escape he was by no means alone. Level headed man !
David - Nothing to add to the discussion, except to say, that I can understand why Ex-POW's didn't want to "Talk", to talk on occasions, wold involve others - many are still alive!
Some answers may be had from Wes Injerd brilliant web-site, have a look here as well, you never know?
Janet Uhr - >David: thank you for this reference. Could I say that the photo of the "US airman" executed after teh surrender is in fact RAAF W E Newton VC, 22 Attack squadron, being executed at Salamaua on 29 March 1943. It seems to be one of those photos which is used to support any proposition for any reason: which makes one doubt the accuracy and worth of the rest of the material. This photo, for instance, I've also seen recently in The Price of Peace, published Singapore 1995 : True accounts of the Japanese Occupation: there it was illustrating a statement that "British and Australian military officers..(trying to flee) who were caught by the Japanese were either incarcarated by the Japanese, or beheaded in public". But then - my favourite on this unhistorical use of material is a photo of 8 section, 9 platoon A coy2/18 22nd Bde, 8th Division AIF, taken in training in malaya in May 1941 somewhere around Port Dickson; it turns up in apparently reputable sources as'Australians forcing a path through dense jungle to meet the advancing Japanese': 'Australians training in jungle warfare': 'AIF on the defensive'; 'AIF in retreat'; 'British troops retreating through jungle which had been through impenetrable'.( see my Against the Sun: the AIF in Malaya, 1941-1942; p 47 and supporting notes.
Arthur - >Keith, I would apreciate a copy.
In answer to the question on form filling..Unfortunately When my POW days ended, most POWs had gone home, I was with a group of 100 prisoners working a in camp at Uttaradit close to the Burma triangle. Don Mackintosh, JonnyBeck and I had heard rumours that the warwas over, so we walked out of camp and hijacked a train which the hilarious driver stopped just close to the camp for everyone to get aboard, then we took ourselves down to Bangkok and handed ourselves over to the authorities.
It was the 11th September mine and Becks birthday.
We arrived by Dakota in Burma on the 15th September and joined a Dutch merchant ship for England on the 21st September
Most of the camps had been emptied by this time Maybe this is why we were not de-briefed at the time.
Peggy - >Arthur -- Yes, the Bilderburg connection. This is interesting and I've seen it. The fact that this in also intertwined with Lockheed planes sales to Japan, deals cut by KODAMA Yoshio. KODAMA was a class-A war criminal
released by MacArthur from Sugamo prison without trial in 1948 -- along with future Prime Minister KISHI and "philanthropist" SASAKAWA. KODAMA has been named by respected scholars and investigators in the US/UK as the chief bagman for the CIA from the late 1940s until his death. One of Kodama's chief assistants was a former ATIS translator who first met Kodama when he was a war-crimes prisoner.
John Dower, David Kaplan, Anthony Sampson are just a few of the people who
have look at KODAMA with some reference to the Bilderburg connection.
Arthur - >Peggy, Have you ever wondered why the newspapers never publish any stories about the Bilderbergers. The Daily Mail tried it once and it was noticeable that there were no readers letters or follow up published.
Just the one article and then the safety curtain was dropped.
The majority of people believe that there is a God in heaven.
My belief is that there is a self made God on earth and he is the one who rules the Bilderbergers. He decides if the Americans will go to war not the president.
Peggy - >Arthur -- No surprise -- but there is quite a lot on the internet about this group for any interested in learning more about the Bilderbg group. A lot to think about for sure.
Janet - >Arthur, What a truely fantastic story, and the fact the driver stopped near the camp for you to board ! just brilliant ,and the fact it was your and a mates birthday too, thats one birthday you will never forget isn't it .
I can only be heartened by that and think at least the railway proved usefull for something in the end - like you and your mates hitching a ride !
My dad was already in Rangoon by 9 Sep ( from his letters ) still at the reception " hospital " awaiting orders to return home.
Arthur - >Janet, I can asure you, the Thai train driver needed no prompting, his family home was in Bangkok just a 20 hour journey. We also took with us the Jap Gunso and one of the guards for their own protection.
The following item is from my scrap book.
I invite comments.
REPORTS FROM A BRITISH INVESTIGATOR OF JAPANESE WAR CRIMES.
G RTM Report of Investigating officers (Capt J G Godwin)
Subject : War Crimes In Bougainville
Execution of United sates Airmen at Kieta October 1943
(A) No interrogation
Decapitation of Police boy at Kieta August /Sept 1943
(A) No developments
The execution of eight United States airmen and one Padre art Numa Numa in July 1943 have now been confirmed
(A) Mitsuomi Yuda, formerly commanding officer of the 3rd battalion 45th regiment , threw light on the above mentioned atrocities . With his reluctant assistance , the whereabouts of the murdered men's graves has been located . All nine bodies were exhumed for possible identification before being re-buried in a proper cemetery. The skulls of the victims showed sword damage and were found separated from the skeletons. Conclusively therefore, all the victims were decapitated.
(B) The interrogation of Shigemitsu Nishida a strong suspect , and formerly a sergeant major of 3rd battalion 54th regiment at Tenekau is proceeding, as expected he is denying any involvement.
(C) Tsutemo Sakamoto formerly the commanding officer of the 3rd battalion 45th regiment (1942) revealed having no knowledge or information relating to the war crimes at Numa Numa, and as released from custody.
(A) Execution of airmen by major Shimamura and sergeant major Sakamoto, both senior members of the Kempetai, continues to be investigated.
CANNIBALISM BY 13th Regiment in 1944-45.
(A) Interrogated Yukio Yoshida, who has denied that he was a participant, but admitted that he was an eye witness, He avers that the eating of human flesh developed into common practice and included the cooking of freshly killed soldiers brought back from the jungle. He was unable to say if the bodies had been killed in action or intentionally executed
(B) Interrogated Masuo Haraiwa who also had knowledge of cannibalism and who further admitted that army doctors would perform on the spot dissection of corpses. This entailed removing certain internal organs such as liver and kidneys. Occasionally a body would be rejected because it had been dead too long. Bodies that smelled or were fly blown were left where they had fallen in battle.
(C) This testimony repudiates the assumption made in file 125E of the previous week's report regarding the belief that Australian soldiers killed in action were not cannibalised.
(D) Masuo Haraiwa's testimony also identifies that these atrocities were committed by members of the 2nd battalion 13th regimen, near Jaba river and other places he can not recall.
File 125F DECAPITATION OF AUSTRALIAN CITIZEN Francis Roach at ROROVANA January 1943
(A) continuing investigation.
File 158A It is now believed the executions of flying officer Bellert, flying officer Summons, wireless officer Schelenker, Sgt Brownlee and flight sergeant Brown RPS occurred at different dates in 1944 and 1945
(A) Under continuing investigation.
File 158D Dutch New Guinea.
It has now been confirmed, decapitation of an Australian Airman and flying nurse (Sister Craig)occurred at Babo in early September 1945. Though this was a remote area, the world had been at peace for three weeks, Isolation and poor communications could not be used as an excuse for this atrocity. These deliberate murders had no justification either at war or peace. Vengeance or so it would seem , at Japan's humiliating defeat would appear to have been the precursor to this heinous crime.
EXECUTION OF Flt Lt MOODY AND F/Sgt AITCHESON AT IDOR September 1944
(A) Under action
JGG:PJM Report of investigaint officer (Capt J G Godwin)
File 125A NUMA NUMA
Execution of United States Airman and on Padre approximately July 1943
No suspects to interrogate
File 125F Decapitation of Francis Roach February/June 1945
(1) All suspects so far have remarkable denials and ignorance, but all to a common pattern. Either they have been well schooled, or are telling the truth not lies, I remain suspicious.
Execution of Flight Lt Moody and Flight sgt Aicheson at Idor September 1944
(1) Interrogated Masataka Matsuyama, many new development leads were elicited
(2) Interrogated Keisuke Yasumura ,he revealed most important information.
(3) Not completed interrogation of Tamekichi Uchida, he has brought me to the conclusion that he is the most consummate liar and hostile suspect I have yet encountered. His evasiveness firms my resolve to continue interrogating him.
File 158A EXECUTION OF FIVE AUSTRALIAN AIRMEN 1944/45
Interrogated Tomio Kobayashi and Takeshi Uehara: both corroborate each others testimony. No developments.
(2) Investigations to date unproductive, will in future concentrate efforts on Naval elements in areas concerned.
JGG: BEJ REPORT OF INVESTIGATING OFFICER (CaptainJG Godwin)
File 152 BANKA ISLAND ATROCITIES 17th FEB 1942.
Former private Tanemura Kiyoshi of the 2nd Platoon 2nd company Oritu Butai, was called for re-interrogation concerning the fate of Mr V G Bowden (Australain Trade Commissioner Malaya) On Banka Island on 17th February 1942. Kiyoshi admits that his platoon took part in the successful assault on the lightly defended island, and that some Europeans (Later amended to all) were captured, including a number of Australian nurses. Kiyoshi displayed a most worried attitude which was not lost to this investigating officer. His answer to questions were evasive and devious, similar in context to an earlier interrogation conducted by Sergeant Weston. Kiyushi reluctantly
admitted that after the male europeans were rounded up , there was some rifle clubbing incidents inflicted on the prisoners as necessary punishment for disobeying the orders of their guards. He strongly denied being in the guard, alleging in his own defence that he had not quite recovered from an earlier attack of malaria, and that he had sought permission from his immediate superior NCO Sgt Furuwaka (FNU) to rest in the shade of some trees.
This investigating officer who felt that kiyoshi was concocting an alibi for the purpose of elucidating the truth, accepted the testimony without demur.
Kiyoshi went on to say that he had lay down in a thicket and dozed off into fitful sleep. Only awaking as the evening shadows began to fall. Feeling relaxed he rejoined his platoon. Kiyoshi admitted to hearing screams coming from nearby houses, and was told by platoon members that some officers and NCOs were pleasuring themselves(raping) the Australian nurses. He was told that after the officers and NCOs were satisfied, it was the platoons turn. Kiyoshi stated that he than asked about the male prisoners , and was told that they had been beheaded and were buried adjacent to the Chinese store. When asked if he could remember seeing any European of importance(MR V G Bowden the Australian trade commissioner) he shook his head and said that all Europeans looked the same to him. When asked if he knew the reason for all the male prisoners being executed, he shrugged and answered that only officers would know the answer, however as a lowly soldier he could only presume that it was because they resisted punishment from the Imperial Forces of Japan. Pressed as to the fate of the nurses , he volunteered the information that the following morning after the nurses had been raped incessantly, he heard that they had been taken down to the beach and there forced to bathe (ostensibly), whereupon a machine gun had opened fire and disposed (executed) of them. Kiyoshi strongly denied participating of the male prisoners by reason of feeling unwell, and because of his indisposition, he had not felt inclined to join in the raping incidents during the night with the rest of the platoon. Asked to name other NCOs and officers who had been involved, he hedged around and pleaded that the incident had occurred seven years previous and he could not remember the names, and that the platoon had been shipped to Burma, but en passage the ship had been sunk with great loss of life.
THE BALLALE ISLAND MASSACRE
J G Godwin.
I assisted sergeant A H Weston in the interrogation of former lieutenant commander Isamu Kiyake. who is presently confined in Sugamo prison.
This was a horrific and sadistic massacre. almost satanic, and which is a further indictment on uncontrolled Japanese depravity. Because of its impact upon the sensitivities of normal decent people it is not proposed to extemporise the genocidal and depraved excesses discovered
It is apparent that sexual lust dictated the behaviour of many hate motivated Japanese who relished the opportunities to humiliate and ravish prisoners, particularly women and girls of European origin.
In this regard and upon sworn testimony provided , this reprehensible conduct included selected boys held as prisoners in selected 'Boys Camps' in the Dutch east Indies Perhaps General MacArthur was aware of this widespread Japanese conduct, and realising the enormity of what would be exposed if these investigations proceeded, particularly concerning Imperial Japanese Army Brothels, of which there were hundreds in conquered countries. The order not to continue with the investigations into these widespread atrocities had been issued to spare Japan the odium and contempt of the world. However a separate (CC) report will be filed in the appropriate prosecution index A file minus a separate (CC) report will be filed by sergeant Weston in his own weekly summary.
Thousands of women, girls and young boys were used as sex slaves, after the war they were immediately killed in bizarre and inhumane fashion by the Japanese holding them as prisoners and sex slaves.
THESE FILES ARE STILL BEING HELD IN SECRET PLACES BY THE VARIOUS INVESTIGATING COUNTRIES. AUSTRALIA,, AMERICA AND GREAT BRITIAIN. SINCE THE JAPANESE HAVE STILL NOT ADMITTED THEIR RESPONSIBILITIES, THESE FILES SHOULD ALL BE PUBLISHED INTERNATIONALLY IN ORDER TO BRING HOME TO THE JAPANESE AS A NATION THE FULL TRUTH OF THEIR BASTARD SONS IGNOMINY
THE ABOVE IS JUST ONE MORE OF THE 3600 INVESTIGATIONS WHICH MACARTHUR ORDERED TO BE STOPPED.
I IMPLORE ALL DECENT PEOPLE TO DEMAND THAT THE TRUTH BE TOLD, AND SHAME THE DEVIL.
Peggy - This is an official website of the Canadian government. These pages discuss the decisions being made in the mid-1950s to amnesty the Class A War
Criminals -- which happened in 1958. It is interesting for what it says about politics and behind-the-scenes maneuverings by the Allied governments.
Keep in mind as you read this, that the Sec. of State at the time was John Foster Dulles, architect of the San Francisco Peace Treaty.
DATE: 12-31-57 22 -- Foreign Relations Subchapter A -- General Designating the Secretary of State to act for the United States in certain matters pertaining to Japanese war criminals By virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the Statutes, and as President of the United States and as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States, it is ordered as follows: 1. The Secretary of State, or his designee, is hereby designated and empowered, without the approval, ratification, or other action of the President, to make on behalf of the Government of the United States of America the decision required by Article 11 of the Treaty of Peace with Japan in those cases in which the Government of Japan has submitted recommendations for reduction of sentence or parole with respect to sentences imposed on Japanese war criminals by tribunals established by the Government of the United States or by the International Military Tribunal for the Far East. 2. In exercising the authority vested in him by paragraph 1 hereof, the Secretary of State, in general, shall accept the recommendations of the Government of Japan if they are accompanied by findings made by a responsible nonpolitical board, and if he is satisfied that the board has considered all the pertinent matters in each case under consideration, including the trial record, in arriving at its conclusion. 3. Executive Order No. 10393 of September 4, 1952, establishing the Clemency and Parole Board for War Criminals, and Executive Order No. 10613 of May 16, 1955, amending that order, are hereby revoked; and the Clemency and Parole Board for War Criminals is hereby abolished. The records of the said Board shall be turned over to the Department of State on the date of this order. The provisions of Executive Order 10747 of Dec. 31, 1957, appear at 23 FR 43, 3 CFR, 1954 - 1958 Comp., p. 403, unless otherwise noted.