Fukuoka #26-B
Keisen (Yoshikuma)

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Fukuoka 26-B-Keisen

(ASO KOGYO YOSHIKUMA TANKO)
Yoshikuma Coal Company, owned by the ASO family
FUKUOKA-ken, KAHO-gun, KEISEN-machi

POWS arrived at the Usui railroad station, just south of the camp.

Location Map - show relationship to other nearby camps
Detailed Location Map
Above data courtesy of Wes Injerd

Location:

Camp sits on a rise surrounded by a 10 ft fence. Six barracks, slate rooks, each with five 12 mat rooms with hallway running length of each building (sliding door access).

Time Line:

10 May 1945:
camp established as Fukuoka Branch #26
Sept 1945: Rescue effected

Photographs:

From Japanese mine historical collection

Overall view of camp


Train loading station



1. Group Photograph of Australians: (after Surrender) - ask for scan.
2. Group picture of Aussies approx. six weeks after surrender. Most still appear emaciated. Caption indicates "Usui" which was the nearby railroad station. From Ken Gregson: "My late father, Robert George Gregson, (known as George), is the chap seated on the very left."

Slave Labor:


POWS used in coal mining in formerly closed and dangerous mine. This mine system was- and still is - owned by the ASO family. The son, Taro Aso, was [in 2009] the Prime Minister of Japan. The Aso family continues to deny it used any slave labor during the war. The Aso family remains a family of dishonor and shames the Japanese. In early January 2009, Prime Minister Aso admitted the mine used prisoners but denied any responsibility for any abuse or deaths. He issued a meaningless apology.

News Story: From the Japan Times- proof of slave labor being used at Aso Mines. In post war report, Aso mines denied responsibility for the two deaths even though they happened over two months after arrival. Both died from effects of severe malnutrition. Underwood article in the Asia-Pacific Journal, and this article; Shukan Gendai Article with English translation.



Hell Ships:

First group arrived on the Asama Maru. Many men transferred here from Fukuoka #2 Nagasaki. A large number of the men British definitely came up on the WALES MARU (Weills) which departed Singapore 16 May 1943. (per diary of Wilkie and contacts from John H. Byrnes- Source: Robin Lim). A number of these men were transferred here from Kobe House (camp 2B). Known that most of the Aussies came up on the Awa Maru.

Affidavits:

Jorgenson, William Victor- short affidavit
Hill, Athol George - short affidavit

Books:

"George Smith McNab" - based upon camp note book & diary. Written by his granson, Brian Coutts.

Rosters: (Original rosters)

300 Survivors; Australian roster prepared by Neil MacPherson and Morris Casey of Australia now revised per actual rescue rosters.

Americans: NONE
Australians: 197 men with rank and units (Includes two who died; Watson and Wilkie); revision pending with rosters located RG 331 Box 927
Dutch: 2 men
British: 100 men including one officer; rosters located RG 331 Box 927
Dutch: Two (2) Men;
Belmorte, Colaco Arnold Herman Maximiliaan, NEI Army, Kapitein Doktor, POW# 15301
Groot Wesseldijk, Alidus Theodorus, NEI Army, Luitenant Doktor, POW# 15302
Ask for spreadsheet which contains more information.