Archive for September, 2015

September 24, 1945

Posted: September 24, 2015 in Uncategorized

On the night of September 24, 1945, I slept very little. The reason was that I had not slept on a mattress in nearly four years on a bed with springs, and the old body just could not change over so suddenly. I seemed to bounce every time I turned over. Yes, it was great to have a good bed after sleeping on straw mats and using a pillow filled with rice husks for so many years. We had a very busy day there getting examined and filling out forms and questionnaires.

September 23, 1945

Posted: September 23, 2015 in Uncategorized
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At 3:30 pm on September 23, 1945, we arrived at Guam. At 4:30 we came ashore and were moved directly to the hospital. I was assigned a bunk and told to go to the galley to get whatever they had to eat.

Representatives of the American Red Cross met us after we were in the ward and gave us magazines, and candy, and opened up an ice box (refrigerator) for all hands twenty-four hours a day. They told us if any item “ran out”, to notify them, and they would replace it immediately. Yipee! We are [sic] all being treated like kings, and I wasn’t mad at anybody.

September 18, 1945

Posted: September 18, 2015 in Uncategorized
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I was very disappointed when I didn’t get to fly back to the States, but on September 18 the ships had their sailing orders and there were fifteen in the convoy. There were 750 ex-prisoners on the ship I was on. If I could have flown to Guam it would have taken only five hours; by ship it took five days. The only thing I liked about the ship on the trip was that we were on our way home at last, and the chow was good, and we could have all we wanted.

We arrived in Yokahoma Bay at 7:30 a.m. on September 17, 1945, and We [sic] left the Wantuck and went aboard the U.S. Hyde. This ship is the receiving ship for all prisoners of war. I had no idea how long I would be there, but I met quite a number of old buddies that I hadn’t seen since I left the Philippines.

September 16, 1945

Posted: September 16, 2015 in Uncategorized
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At 7:30 a.m. on September 16, 1945, we set sail on the Wantuck for Tokyo. We were at sea all day and night. In the afternoon we saw another movie and “batted the breeze” and swapped “yarns” with the crew. The canvas bunks on the Wantuck were four tiers high.

September 15, 1945. Yipee! The ships that came for us were in the harbor! The Fourth Division Marines are the ones who came and picked us up. Was I happy? I should say so. Who wouldn’t be after all these years of war and waiting? The officer in charge was Commander Simpson of the Navy. He said, “Men, you are the last ones for us to pick up, and we have been working hard, so get ready and let’s go aboard.” He didn’t have to tell us but once!

As we went aboard we were told to pull off all our clothes and throw them overboard. Then we went through a decontamination process – a spray mist of some form of medication. We then showered and were given a new issue of underwear, a new suit of khaki and a sailor hat.

We went through an interrogation process – were asked a lot of questions about prison life and were asked to write out statements in regard to the treatment of the prisoners in our camp. I did this and turned it over to the Navy Intelligence Officer. After boarding the U.U.S. [sic] Rescue, a Navy hospital ship, we had our first meal under Old Glory. It wasn’t a big meal, but consisted of honest to goodness good vegetable soupbread [sic] and butter and coffee and sugar. The bread tasted as good as cake, and I must have eaten at least a half pound of butter. It sure looked good to see FREE men and women, and when I speak of women, I refer to the nurses. They were white, wore clothes and had shoes on their feet. They also wore lipstick and rouge. The sicker men were kept aboard the Rescue ship, but I then went aboard the A.P.D. Wantuck, a Navy landing ship. We had supper and afterwards I saw the first movie I had seen in over three and one-half years. The title was “Stage Door Canteen,” and I enjoyed every minute of it.

September 14, 1945

Posted: September 14, 2015 in Uncategorized
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On September 14 plans were that we would board ships that would take us to Tokyo harbor. We were told we might be flown to Guam, and from there to the States. We had the biggest food issue yet, so no more rice and soup. But man, oh man, I could hardly wait for the morrow.

September 13, 1945

Posted: September 13, 2015 in Uncategorized
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On September 13 six allied officers and some news correspondents arrived. Three American officers went to Ohashia and three Australian officers came to our camp at Kamaishi. There was another drop of chow at Ohashia, but I don’t know when we got our share.

September 12, 1945

Posted: September 12, 2015 in Uncategorized
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There was another food drop on September 12. We were sure glad to get it, as once you get the taste of good chow, you just don’t have any appetite for soup and rice.

The next day I went out trading among the Japanese civilians. I had a parachute that I traded to an old lady in exchange for her making a portion of it into a duffle bag for me. She seemed very happy to get it and do the sewing for me. I also got some chickens, eggs, cucumbers, squash, onions, and carrots. There were no new developments in camp.