Posts Tagged ‘Japan’

We arrived in Moji on November 26, 1942 with 286 of us prisoners, as we lost two more on this thirteen day voyage.

No sooner had we docked until we were put ashore, and after tinko (roll call) we were marched several blocks to a ferry which we boarded to cross to the main land of Japan. Upon arrival we were again marched to a railroad station, but this time we were put aboard a passenger train. We still didn’t know where we were going, and the Japs didn’t want us to see, as all of the windows of the train were covered with heavy shades. It was on this train ride, however, that I got my first look at Fujiyama, as there was a small crack in the window shade where I was sitting. I kept looking also, trying to see the name of the town or city that we passed through.

On the sixth or seventh day aboard this ship, the Jap who had given me the job and I were in the cold storage room taking out fish to be prepared and served to the Jap troops that were aboard. As we were pulling the fish out, a large piece of meat which at first looked like a dressed turkey fell out. It turned out to be a leg of lamb. The Jap said, “You like leg of lamb?” “I sure do,” I answered. He replied, “We cook” and so we did.

It was while we were cleaning the fish for cooking that the ship’s crew really came alive. An alarm sounded and all the Jap soldiers went to their battle stations. There was a lot of commotion, but I could not see any thing. Finally, a Jap who was up in the crow’s nest yelled something, and the ship made a hard right rudder, and then another hard left rudder. By this time, I was over to the side of the ship trying to see what we were dodging. On the second turn, I saw a torpedo coming straight for the ship, and it looked as if it were going to hit us mid ship. By seeing it in time, the ship moved out of the path of the torpedo, and it just missed the ship’s tail by about ten yards. The torpedo went on for about fifty yards, and then it went down. It must have been fired at maximum distance, or also there was a malfunction of the torpedo. It was not long after this that three Jap destroyers came up and rode flank on us until we docked in Moji, Japan.

The next morning early, the boat began to lift anchor, and we were on our way.

It was now daylight as the Japs opened the hatch and said that it was time to eat breakfast, which was no different from any other meal. The food was lowered down on a rope attached to a large woven basket. We could never tell what time of day it was by the type of meals given us, as we ate the same food for every meal, and this same token held true throughout my entire prison life.

We still had no idea where we might be going. The rumors were running wild as to where we were headed. Some said Japan; others said we were heading for China, and others thought Korea. All of these rumors were wrong, as we landed in Tyeow, Taiwan. I had never heard it called by that name, as the island is better known as Formosa.

We were aboard the Lima Maru for sixteen days, traveling seven hundred miles. I have often wondered how we must have looked from the deck of the ship, as in my mind, we were a group of human beings, living like so many cattle or pigs shoved into and [sic] over-crowded space. I know there were three men who died on the trip, and their bodies were just pushed over the side of the boat into the ocean.