Posts Tagged ‘food’

August 31, 1945

Posted: August 31, 2015 in Uncategorized
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At 9:45 a.m. on August 31, we had another trip from the Air Technical Command boys, and they dropped more food and clothes. I got fitted out with a completely new suit of clothes from head to foot, and I was filling out with chow. There was still a lot of waste because the chutes failed to open, and some of the chow came right through the roof of the building. I thought, Boy, wouldn’t it be tough to be bumped off by a case of chow this late in the game!

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.

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.

The food in this camp was about like what we had in every camp, but I had gained back some of my strength and my weight was up to 110 pounds now. The men on the saw mill detail had a better chance of getting extra food. Our chief source of food was taking it from the nose bags of the horses that were working at the saw mill. The mixture they fed was ground cane stalks and some soy or mong beans. We thought that this was pretty good food, and we took every advantage that we could of it. This did not last very long, however, as I was caught taking the food out of the bag and got slapped around for it.

Still our biggest concern was the lack of food. What food we got here was horrible. I found better food in the swill boxes in the shipyard than they gave us. Still we went through the motion of eating three times a day. The total amount of food we received in one day’s time was the equivalent of three barley or rice balls the size of a tennis ball, and the soup was flavored with egg plant. The condition that it came to us in was the worst part. There were two days that I just could not eat what they brought, and there were several other men justlike [sic] me. The food was rotten. In one ration, I counted fifteen rat droppings. After two days of not eating, I decided if I was going to survive, I would have to eat it. So by separating the rat droppings from the grain, I then ate the grain. We just called the bugs and worms that were in the grain extra protein, but the rat droppings I could not eat.

The swill or garbage bag was used by most all of the men while they were prisoners of the Japanese. Some took to using them a lot sooner than others; as for myself, I was in Camp D-1 for six months before I could bring myself to carrying one. I woke up to the fact that if I was to live through this ordeal that I was going to have to swallow my pride and get any morsel of food I could find. I noticed that the men using the swill bags were not losing as much weight as I and they seemed more healthy than myself. I soon became an old “pro” at hitting the garbage boxes that were in the shipyard, and sometimes got beat up for my efforts, the same as any of the prisoners did. The Japs were really hard on anyone they caught digging in the garbage boxes. One instance I recall vividly happened one day when noodles were cooked in the kitchen. My buddy Sweatman said, “Pierce, do you think we can get the scrapings from the pot?” Now the Japs had men that came around and picked up the garbage, but our hope was to beat them to the scrapings. On this particular day, a Jap went into the galley and came out with a five gallon can that he set down. He went back inside for something else. I noticed an old bucket lying in the trash, hurriedly picked it up and made a run for the bucket of noodle scrapings that was sitting there. I turned the noodle bucket upside down into my can and got about half of them in my bucket. Then I ran with the bucket and hid behind another building that was close by. It wasn’t long until Sweatman joined me, and we found one other buddy. We crawled down into a hole and ate all of the two and one-half gallon of noodles. Boy, were we full! Incidents similar to [sic] happened each day in camp by different men, or we couldn’t have survived. Many of us got caught and were beaten severely, but we risked the punishment in order to get some food.


Every one who was in camp will remember the next fellow whose name I shall not mention. He was one of the biggest operators in camp by bribe or other means. He always managed to get on the supply detail that went into Cabanatuan and always came back as if he had been to the super market, and he had drugs. The bad thing was that he sold these products at such a high price, when there were men dying whose lives he could have saved if he had given them some of the food and medicine that he had. This man had a black chow dog who ate better than any one in camp. If a person didn’t have the price to pay for the food, he would give it to his dog.