Archive for January, 2014

We began to receive more Red Cross food and comfort kits after December 1944. This is to acknowledge the International Red Cross and to thank them for the food and comfort kits we received while in prison camps. We did not get all of the items intended for us, as the Japs had removed some items from nearly every one before they reached us. We received comfort kits on Dec. 27, 1942; April 1943; June 16, 1943; December 1943; February 12, 1944; May 3, 1944, and May 12, 1944. In October 1944 we received some clothes, and on Dec. 9, 1944 we got a Red Cross food parcel. Then on December 23, 1944, each man received a full parcel which was about the size of a man’s shoe box. Each man got another food parcel in February 1945, then on March 10, 1945, we got half a food parcel. On April 3, 1945 another half parcel, and on April 5 the remaining part of that parcel was given us. These were the last Red Cross food parcels we received while we were in Camp D-1. I can truly say that camp morals [sic] went up about a thousand per cent on the days that food parcels were passed out, as food was still our biggest concern. I’ve jumped ahead in my story, but I did want to list all of the Red Cross help that we received while in Camp D-1.

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I was the first man in our camp to get a letter from home. It was two years reaching me, but as old as it was, it really perked me up. The American Red Cross was doing what they could to get mail and news to us.

The British and African Red Cross were on the job too. Our first Red Cross parcel came from the British and the second was from the African Red Cross. This second parcel was one hundred per cent dried fruit. Every man in camp received a canteen cup packed full for his ration. We had not had any fruit of any kind for so long, and we were so hungry for it, that most men sat down and ate all of it immediately. This was where we made a big mistake. After eating so much, we all became so thirsty so  [sic] began drinking lots of water–and then the swelling started. It took most of us five or six hours before the swelling began going down and we could relax. It was a good miserable feeling, however.

On January 12, 1944, I was sent back to Camp D-1, and it was good to be with the men I had fought with in the war. Through mutual suffering, we had so much in common. I was much weaker when I returned to camp and had lost about ten pounds making my weight ninety-eight.

I was turned into the Camp Hospital, if you could call it one, and there a Lieut. Baxter of the Royal Engineers of Australia treated me, and I credit him with saving my life. He was the only man in camp that had had any pre-med training, so the Japanese made him our Camp Doctor. I was said to have wet pleurisy. Lt. Baxter said that he would have to get some of the water off my lungs or I would die. I told him to go ahead and remove it if he could. As we had no kind of local anesthetic, it was very [sic] painful procedure. He pulled a syringe from his bag and boiled it to make it sterile. It was a two-way suction type. He stuck it in between two ribs in my back and started working it back and forth, pumping out the fluid. Another patient helped him while they drew out one and one-half canteen cups full of the greenest, foulest fluid I have seen. I nearly passed out during the process. This was done the third day that I was back in Camp D-1. I began to get better, but was in the hospital for eleven days after that. I put my faith in God and my fellow man, and it pulled me through.