Fukuoka #17 Branch POW Camp
NARA: RG 389, Box 2124, 2127 & others
(MITSUI KOZAN MIIKE KOGYO-SHO)
FUKUOKA-ken, OMUTA-shi, SHINMINATO-machi
Map, and Layout:
Gibbs Report: Overview of camp history
Maps: General area - Detailed location
Camp Medical Report and History:
Medical and historical report by Dr Hewlitt. Narrative of the medical difficulties faced by the POW doctors despite the deliberate withholding of medical supplies.
Camp Photographs & Sketches
4 pages, total of 20 photographs. Composite page.
FUK-17_Photos.pdf - Camp view, Benjo latrine, Inside room, Koreans stoking the furnaces, Camp kitchen which fed 1735 men, Koreans working in the mines, Koreans placing roof supports, Dutch Barracks 7 men squad, Overall view of camp, Barracks with pool, Guard shack
Time Line: Special thanks to Jim Erickson
7 Aug 1943: Camp opens with 500 Americans arriving on Clyde Maru. (Mati Mati Maru) Pows # 1 to 500
24 March 44: Seven Americans arrive- POWs # 501 to 507 POW Kenwa Maru
19 June 1944: group of Aussies, British & Dutch arrived on Teia Maru. Had been on the Burma-Thailand railroad.Australians #s 507-655; British #s 657-664 and Dutch 668-928.
June or July 1944 200 British arive on Hioki Maru (not sure of dates)
2 Sept 1944: 200 Americans arrive from Philippines aboard Canadian Inventor.
16 Jan 1945: Approximately 191 Australians arrive aboard Awa Maru.
Jan/Feb 1945: 95 Americans arrive ex Brazil Maru (Oryoku/Enoura/Brazil Maru survivors); and 95 British, Dutch, Czech, Norwegian, and American arrive aboard either Melbourne Maru or Enoshima Maru. The later included survivors of Hofuku Maru.
June 1945: a group of X Aussies arrive (#s >1893). They had been brought to Japan in Sept 1944 aboard Rashin Maru and were initially held at Fukuoka 13-D Oita before being transferred to #17
Sept 1945: Rescue effected
Primary Slave Labor Use:
Coal mining, Mitsui mines. Approximately 1,735 POWs of mixed nationalities.
Major Hell Ships:
See major discussion of camp arrivals by Jim Erickson
Known ships: Clyde Maru
Americans (External Link- includes Dutch)
Civilian Roster (USA)
Rescued Australians Roster
FUK-17_Rosters_1946-02-16.pdf - ORIGINALS
Roster prepared with the cooperation of POW Research Network - Japan. Based upon Japanese records
Books Describing Life at Fukuoka #17
"The Forgotten Gordon Highlander" by Alistair Urquhart
"A Gordon Highlander if ever I saw one" by William Ross Young and John Duff
Special pages originally developed by a school in Lewiston, Idaho specifically for Fukuoka #17, an OUTSTANDING web site originally developed by students in the Lewiston Idaho school by Linda Dahl (picture of Ms. Dahl and her students). The school has discontinued the project and Linda Dahl, now with the Lewiston Library, continues the project at her own expense. It is THE website to go to for information on the men and the camp.
Special- Affidavit of SSgt Frank Stecklein- descibes fierce beating by Jap Guards
Link to Fukuoka POW pages
Harold G.Kurvers "Snuff" - survived the Oryoku Maru - Interview transcript
Frank Lovato - Survivor video (book)
Assorted files courtesy of Richard Szczepanski, son of Joseph Szczepanski:
Interview with Jim Bashleben of the 192nd Tank Bn; links also to live interview, sketches
Article on C.M. Graham, former POW and author
Japanese Camp Staff:
See "Guard Personnel"
Oscar Otero, 200th Coast ArtillerySpecial Photo Collection (courtesy of Bettyanne Otero Metzgar)
"My dad, Oscar Otero, was at Fukuoka Camp 17. He was with the 200th Coast Artillery and, as mentioned in the newspaper clipping, Fifth Intercept. After liberation, the two photos of Baron Mitsui were taken in his home with his family. My dad was acting body guard and interpreter (seated at back wall) to his CO -- my father was fluent in Japanese. Several places my dad is listed with quartermaster, medic, burial duty, artillery, body guard, interpreter, cook and, of course, in the mines. Thank you for the opportunity of sharing these with this site." --Bettyanne Metzgar
"Happy to find out he is alive!" -- handwritten on Red Cross letter regarding cable sent to Otero on Sept. 25, 1944
"What did not show clearly on the pictures of Baron Mitsui I sent is my father's handwritten date of Aug 20, 1945. Also, that picture of the officer that is attached to the same album page is maybe Major Schott, who is noted on page 92, second paragraph. I know he taught the men to brush their teeth with twigs."
"My father was fluent in Japanese and included are the San Diego photos of him interpreting after liberation."
"Here is the picture of Father [Albert] Braun who was in one of the Philippine camps with my dad. In Japan I think he was interned farther north [Omori]. New Mexico has his own history with the Native Americans and I think in WWI."
"Albuquerque had a returning Bataan Parade -- the photo was taken on the steps of the Masonic Temple in Albuquerque, which used to be downtown on the corner of 6th St NW and Central Ave."
Oscar Otero died on March 25, 1951.