Archive for July, 2015

On July 16 camp life went on as usual; some men were working in the mines and other on different work details. I was among those still working on the air raid shelter as there had been a lot of damage done from the shelling previously. We tried to “shore up” the inside of the shelter. The Jap guards accompanied us to places where we could salvage some items for this purpose. We picked up old burned tin and raked through the ashes, looking for nails that we could use in our work. We used the sides of trees that had been ripped off from the logs at the saw mill. Anyway, we had one smooth side to nail to.

In camp we were still getting rice and soup, but we on the water detail were making out a little better than we previously had. The bridge across the river had been hit several times from shellings, and a squid cannery had been destroyed by fire near the place we got our water. We were able to hunt out some edible chow at the cannery, although most of it was charred beyond eating. Several of our men were burned or hurt in the shellings, but most of them improved pretty fast. Joe was still kept in the cage during all the shellings, and the Japs just would not release him, though we pleaded with them.

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July 15, 1945

Posted: July 15, 2015 in Uncategorized
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July 15 was a terrible day as none of our men came back from the works yesterday, and it and it [sic] was a long night, not knowing how many of our men had been killed and wounded. We spent the day cleaning up the camp from the shelling that occured [sic] the previous day. That afternoon, we men on the air raid detail were called to do another job. We were assigned the job of burning the bodies of the five men that were killed on the 14th. First we went down by the river that was on the south side of our camp to pick up drift wood and stacked it about two feet high, and then we found some tin that had been through the fire the day before. We put this on top of the wood, then we laid three of the bodies on this. We placed more wood and more tin, and then the other two bodies were put on top of this and more wood. We then poured oil over all of it, set the fire and burned the bodies. The Japs said this was for our health’s sake that they had us burn the bodies. It was not a pleasant task. After the bodies were completely burned, the Japs told us to get the ashes of the bodies, and they would bury them. I never did know whether they buried them or not, but it was another hard day in prison life.

The war really picked up tempo, and on July 14 from 11:40 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. we were under fire from the sea. We were told that it was Task Force 58. Five of our men were killed in this raid, – four Dutch men and one Marine we had nicknamed Sparks, who was our radio man in the Philippines. As far as I could see, the American fleet suffered no damage, but they sure did plenty in our camp and in the steel mill. Also, the gasoline refinery and the town suffered lots of damage. One big shell hit in our camp and some smaller caliber. Later in the afternoon the industrial area was bombed and strafed, and many of our men were wounded that day.

July 13, 1945

Posted: July 13, 2015 in Uncategorized
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On July 13 we were again working on air raid shelters, and by then we had quite a hole dug. We were to “shore” it up the next day. We didn’t get to see Joe closely, but could see the cage from where we worked. It was really rough on him as it wasn’t tall enough for him to stand in, nor long enough for him to lie down. Also, he got very little water and had no toilet facilities. I just wished I could have helped him in some way. There were more air raids that day but nothing dropped close to us.

July 12, 1945

Posted: July 12, 2015 in Uncategorized
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Our work detail changed some after we completed the water detail on July 12. The Jap guards called on us to unload a wagon load of rice that had come in for the Jap guards who were over us in this camp. We were to put it in a storeroom. A black man called Joe was on the same detail in camp with me. He was about six feet two inches tall and had a physique about like Joe Louis. I was accustomed to the balck [sic] men in the United States, so Joe’s British accent was very noticeable to me. The sacks that we were unloading were in sixty kilo bags and that was al ot [sic] of weight for me to pick up and carry, as the bags weighed more that [sic] I did. Joe handled them with ease, so he brought the sacks to me, and I was stacking them in the store room. As he handed it to me, I let it slip, and Joe jumped to catch it. In his fast movement, he accidentally hit a Jap guard that was standing in the doorway. The Jap hit him with the butt of his rifle and accused him of hitting him on purpose. Joe grabbed the rifle from the Jap, and by this time three more Japs came up and had Joe penned against the store room with their bayonets. They really worked him over, and then they took him off to the cage, which was a small room that was about five and one-half foot tall, and three feet by four feet wide. The Japs would not let anyone see him ,for he had committed the unpardonable sin when the Japs said he hit a guard. This caused quite a stir when the other work parties came in that afternoon from their duties. This was the first time anyone had been put in the cage since we arrived in this camp.

July 11, 1945

Posted: July 11, 2015 in Uncategorized
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There were two alerts on July 11, but still we did not see any planes, although on the last one, we could hear the drone of motors over the mountain.

On July 10 I was working on the air raid tranch [sic] and on the water detail. I had a really close call just after we had taken our lunch break. I was inside the barracks resting a few minutes before we had to return to work. I was on the top tier in this barracks, also. The Camp Commandant came in, and someone hollered “Kecatskay,” which means come to attention. The Camp Commandant started going through the personal belongings of different ones in our squad. When he came to my bunk spot, he stopeed and picked up my box that I had my diary things in, and began going through it. It was a heavy cardboard box that I had put a false bottom in. [sic] and that is where I kept my records. On the top side of the box I had the diary they were having us keep, along with my toothbrush, razor and other personal items. The bottom of this was held in place with four small nails to keep it from falling out when it was picked up. It looked as if he were trying to figure out why the box was so heavy for no more things than were in the box. I stood there and sweated as he took each thing out, knowing that finally he would get to my notes that I had been keeping and that I would be punished really severely, as this was one thing they would not allow. Luck was with me, and here again God took care of me, for just at that moment the Air Raid alert sounded, and the Commandant dropped the box as if it was on fire and ready to explode in his hands. We cleared the barracks and went to the trench that we were digging for shelter. Here again we were lucky; the all-clear sounded about an hour later, and we did not see one plane.

July 9, 1945

Posted: July 9, 2015 in Uncategorized
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We went through the same daily routine on July 9 of digging the air raid tranch [sic] and carrying water. The nicest part of the day was when the other details got back to camp from their jobs. The first question usually was “What do we have for chow?” We all knew the answer but hoped some day it waould [sic] be something other than soup and grain. Then we all wanted to know if there was any good news and if anybody had any late news on the progress of the war.

July 8, 1945

Posted: July 8, 2015 in Uncategorized
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July 8 was a different kind of day than just going to work so far as I was concerned. This was the day that the Japs decided to have an air raid shelter detail go to work in the Camp. They picked four men from each of the work details to build and dig air raid shelters in the camp compound. I was one of the men who werepicked [sic] from the saw mill detail. We were given a pick and shovel to dog [sic] in an area the Japs had already measured off. It was to be six feet wide, five feet deep and eighty feet long. Up until this time, there was no protection of any kind for us against bombs and shrapnel. We were not a privileged group, but the Japs stood over us at all times. We did not have running water in the camp, so every day at eleven o’clock we went across the causeway to carry water about a quarter of a mile. The guards went with us, so there was no possible way for us to get any extra food anywhere.

July 7, 1945

Posted: July 7, 2015 in Uncategorized
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Our first air raid in this camp was on July 7, 1945, and they became more frequent as the days went by.