Posts Tagged ‘cigarettes’

Then on September 2, the big planes came over again and dropped plenty of chow. Still about forty per cent was wasted, and one Marine Corporal was badly hurt when a box of chow broke four of his ribs. The remaining sick men were moved to Omura and we had another issue of gum, cigarettes, candy and toilet gear. We seemed to be getting only the damaged stuff, but so what! The Japs were still issuing us our items.

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August 30, 1945

Posted: August 30, 2015 in Uncategorized
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More planes came over at 9:30 a.m. on August 30 and dropped more food, but about forty per cent was lost or damaged due to the chutes not opening. I spent the day in the hills, hunting for and carrying out the chow. I got plenty to eat out of the food stuff that burst in the drop. I was so full that I was uncomfortable. We had a very good soup and were issued gum, candy, cigarettes, matches, and 1/2 of a K ration dinner. Then at 6:00 p.m. we had fruit cocktail, and were “putting on the dog” as well as pounds. I had already gained fifteen pounds, and at that rate knew I should be in pretty fair shape by the time our troops arrived.

August 28 was another great day. The Japs gave us one 8 ounce can of salmon and approximately one pound of margarine. The American planes came over again and dropped twelve sea bags of chow. These pilots surely knew how to fly as our camp was situated between two ranges of mountains with a river on the west side. Between the bases of the mountains was not over five hundred yards, and it was a hard approach from either end, but still they dropped down within less than one hundred feet of the camp. Out of what they dropped, each man in camp received one-half of an Army breakfast ration and one package of cigarettes for each three men. About 3:30 p.m. the B-29’s came over and dropped a load of stuff that consisted of food, clothes and medicines, but about forty to fifty per cent was lost due to the parachutes not opening.

The next day, August 27, we had another visit from our Navy boys. By parachute they dropped cigarettes, magazines, newspapers, and two pilots dropped their emergency rations. Out of the fags that were dropped, each man received two packages of Chesterfields. Oh, but it was great to know that we would all be going home soon. It was a great day for all hands, but we were expecting a bigger day tomorrow.

Boy, O Boy! August 25, 1945 was a day of days for me and the rest of the men in this camp and the other one too. At 11:45 a.m., our planes at last spotted our camp and dropped a pack of Lucky Strike cigarettes with a note saying, “IT WILL BE ONLY A FEW MORE DAYS.” It was dropped by Ens. W. F. Harrah, 2221 East Newton St., Seattle, Washington. This did things to me. I became all goose bumpy and tried to yell and holler, but would only choke down. Tears came into my eyes and rolled down my cheeks. Other men’s reactions were the same, and we all cried with JOY! They also said they would be back later with chow and clothes.

Another man died from shell shock that day, making a total of twenty-seven from the first shelling, and six men died from the shelling of July 14th, which totaled thirty-three men in both raids.

I recall one Dutchman from Java, O. W. Hooper, who had never seen snow before. He pulled off his shoes and waded through the snow so that he could tell his people that he had walked in snow.

There was a civilian R. S. Wilkins from California who sold his ration of bread or took I.O.U.s to be paid when we got back in the states. The price was five dollars U.S. money. Sometimes I would trade bread for cigarettes; not that I was that hep for something to smoke, but it seemed as if that was the only pleasure one could get out of this place, and it did cut down on the gnawing hunger.

Every prisoner learned the art of trading one thing for another due to the fact that we had no money, with very few exceptions, and those who did have could not spend it. Cigarettes were money in camp, as one could trade them for just about anything in camp. When we first arrived in camp, one could buy or trade fifteen cigarettes for one ration of rice. By the time we left Camp D-1, one could get a ration of rice for two or three cigarettes. There were three prices on just about everything that one bought or traded for. First was the price in camp; then a second price in the shipyard, and then the high price occurred when one took something out of the camp and traded for an item in the shipyard, and then brought it back into camp. The reason for this was that one ran the risk of losing it when he left camp, for we never knew when we would have a “shake down,” and if the Japs found it, they took it away from you, and you got slapped around for trying to get something out of camp. If you got caught trading in the shipyard with the civilians, you not only lost what you were trying to trade, but you got punished by the guard more severely than in Camp. Then the third chance was when we came back to camp. The price then increased about five times, as each time one ran the chance of losing everything that he had invested, plus the severe punishment that the Japs “dished out.”

[See End Note 2]

By now our camp was getting better organized as to dispensing the food and water. There was one building used for the cook house, and here they cooked the rice and soup for all that were in this camp. The rations were just a  mere existence. The Japs had outside working parties, and it was good to get out of camp on one of these details. Most generally one could pick up an extra bit of food that the Philippinos would give us, if they had a chance to do so.

The flies were getting as bad as they had been on Corregidor at the 92nd Garage area. The Japs kept after us to be more sanitary so that we would stay healthy, but still the flies became worse and worse. The Japs decided to reward us by giving us a biscuit for a certain amount of dead flies. A ten ounce milk tin of dead flies was worth two biscuits. Cigarettes were getting scarce in camp, and we could trade a biscuit for three to five cigarettes. I worked hard all one morning with a home-made fly swatter and got two cans of flies, which I traded for biscuits. I ate one biscuit and traded the other one for cigarettes. Cigarettes were money in camp, and were the only pleasure that were allowed to indulge in. After two days of killing flies (getting from one to ten flies with each swat), I decided there surely was a faster way to get flies to fill a milk can. Besides, after you swatted one, he was about half as big as before he was killed.