Sendai POW Camp #5-B
Sendai 5-B IWATE-ken, KAMAISHI-shi, YANOURA
NIPPON SEITETSU (Nippon Steel)
Map of area
10 Nov 1943: Established as Tokyo 3-B
IWATE-ken, KAMAISHI-shi, OAZA KAMAISHI No. 4, CHIWARI 68-1
Initial group of Dutch POWS departed Java on September 1943. Transported to Singapore on Makassar Maru. Later sent on the Amatsu Maru to Japan (layover in Formosa- never left ship), arrived 19 November 1943.
20 Apr 1944: Jurisdictional Control transferred to TOKYO POW CAMP 7-B
13 Apr 1945: Large group of Americans, British, and the crew of the MV Hauraki arrive from Yokohama Dispatch Camp at the Mitsubishi Shipyards (Tok 13D ex Tok3B)
14 Apr 1945: Jurisdictional control [and POWS] transferred from TOKYO POW CAMP 7-B to SENDAI POW CAMP. Established as Sendai 5-B
IWATE-ken, KAMAISHI-shi, YANOURA.
Camp never changed location.
15 Sep 1945: Rescue Effected
Source: NARA RG 407
Aerial of Kamaishi area (Apr. 1948; USAF image courtesy of Japan Map Archives)
Camp layout (3rd location at Ohashi Theater from Aug. 15 to Sept. 12, 1945)
Ruins: View in 2009
Dutch POWS - Winter of 1944-45
Source: Mieke Capeder-Hollering (Dutch POW Martinus Hollering is father)
Crew of the MV Hauraki (another image) at Australian War Museum; includes identification of crew members at this camp.
What type of ship is this and where? note the Japanese Imperial flag (photo courtesy of Barbara Fenn) - "I just came across this photo in my parents' old box of photos and scanned it. My father, James Thomas Widdifield, USN, was a Japanese POW, listed under the Yokohama 1D and Kamaishi camps. I'm wondering if you have any idea what this photo represents. Can anyone can tell me anything about it?"
NOTE: Ship was probably one of the China river boat patrols, similar to the USS Panay.
| Slave Labor:
Iron mill work for Nippon Steel; known today as Shin-Nittetsu Sumikin (Nippon Steel and Sumitomo Metal)
Statistical tables - shows POW strength at Sendai #5
Sendai #5 Investigation Report - includes cremation certificates
14 July 1945: U.S. fleet bombards camp- at least 42 POWS killed. See details and photographs. Aerial attack on 11 August killed 12 more POWs. Read NZ History of this attack.
A video of the bombardment is on the web site for the USS Abbot, a destroyer that was part of the Navy Task Force. (48MB file)
Account of Bombardment, List of Dead (PDF of original documents)
Camp Commanders - Masaki (Seiki?) Naganuma (Nov. 1943 to Apr. 1944) and Makoto Inaki (from Apr. 1944)
War Crimes Trials documents (IMTFE):
T-151 - INAKI ("Kobus Kuch"; "Honest Management"); MIKAWA ("Little Hitler"; "Little Caesar"). Also mentioned are the following nicknames: "Wolf"; "Brown Coat"; "Squinty"; "Squint Eye"; "Blue Beard"; "Mortimer Snerd"; "The Sparrow"; "Frog Face"; "The Frog"; "The Toad"; "Bantam"; "Dwarf Hen"; "Bowlegged"; "Siutsan"; "Lisper"; "Bellfleur" Naganuma ("The Rat")
T-338 - MATSUURA ("Stars"); FUKUMURA
See T-104 re trial of Naganuma who was also commander at Sendai #4 Ohashi.
Rescue rosters and rosters of the deceased are complete: There was a total of 351 men:
(Download XLS file with much more information)
168 Dutch ; Dutch Deceased (43)
Others: Includes 1 Canada; 13 Aussies; 5 New Zealand
Separately listed are the 23 crewmen from the MV Hauraki, captured in the India Ocean by Japanese raiders on 12 July 1942.
SEN-05_US_Brit_Dut_Aus_Can_NZ_rosters - Large PDF file of American, British, Dutch, Australian, Canadian and New Zealand rosters taken from seven different sets of archival documents (Record Group 407, Boxes 11, 12 and 114). Includes lists of patients sent to Morioka Military Hospital and also a patient evacuation list. See also this PDF for Morioka Hospital patients.
Roster with NOK (RG 389 Box 2071) - US, British, Netherland East Indies
Rosters and reports for Sendai #4 and #5 (RG 407 Box 115) - 327 POWs at No. 5 Camp, Sendai / 351 POWs at No. 5 Camp and in Morioka Military Hospital / Return of POWs / Roster Sendai #4 in April, 1945 / 32 POW deaths from Allied bombing / Return of POWs on Sept.4, 1945 / POWs sent to Morioka Hospital in August, 1945 / POWs sent to Tokyo for release / Statements / Reports / List of POW ashes / No. 4 Camp Ohashi Map / Bombardment accounts / Diseases / Diary-Log / Etc.
Tops of certain pages (in the creases) read as follows:
Investigation of POWs killed the 1st naval bombardment 14/7/45
Tokyo War Prisoners Camp VI
Chief diseases during Sept. 1944, Tokyo Camp VII
Chief diseases during Nov. 1944, Tokyo Camp VII
Investigation of chief diseases Jan. 1945, Tokyo POW Camp VII
Investigation of chief diseases March 1945, Tokyo POW Camp VII
List of Patients, June 1945 - Sendai POW Camp VI
List of names taken from clothing, canteens, misc. gear, haversacks, etc. belonging to ex-POWs and stored in the Kamaishi Police Station.
Glenn McKasson - Memoir of Kamaishi (see story below)
Martinus Hollering, Able Seaman [Dutch]
Allen Lee Silk, Sgt. 4th Marines - Special webpage by Prof. Melvin Oakes
"The following morning, 13 September, the USS Waterman entered Shiogama harbor and joined other units of TG 30.6 who were already in the process of evacuating the Allied POW's there. On 14 September, the destroyer escort sailed for Kamaishi, arriving there the following morning for further evacuation of POW's." (Source- log of the USS Waterman)
Glenn William McKasson
Military Life Story
originally written for his Grandchildren
Born December 11, 1922 at Kettle Falls, Washington. Moved to Kellogg, Idaho at 2 years of age. Graduated Kellogg High School, 1940. Enlisted in the United States Marine Corps on October 31, 1940 in Spokane, WA. Following honorable discharged from Marine Corps April 22, 1946, married Bette J. Pritchard on October 6, 1946 at Pinehurst, Idaho. Moved to Tacoma, Washington in 1946; was a general building contractor until retirement in December 1988. Have two sons, one daughter, four granddaughters and one grandson.
When Bataan was about to be surrendered to the Japanese, I was on duty with an air raid warning unit adjacent to Bataan Airfield. When defeat was inevitable, we were ordered to dismantle our equipment and move it to Mariveles Naval Pier for transport by barge to Corregidor.
We proceeded to comply with this order and did manage to get all our vans and equipment to Mariveles only to find that the Japs had totally destroyed the Naval Pier and had sunk the barge. There was absolutely no way to communicate with headquarters on Corregidor, so our commanding officer. Lt. Schade ordered us to destroy all the equipment.
We complied with his order by saturating all the equipment with gasoline and placing hand grenades throughout the equipment. We attached strings to the hand grenade tripper pins, retreated to a safe distance and when we exploded the grenades, the gasoline also exploded and the equipment was completely engulfed in fire and totally destroyed. At the time the Jap forces were advancing down the Peninsula, we at Mariveles were under attack by artillery, bombers, dive bombers and strafing by zeros. The American and Philippine troops were storming out of the jungles and Mariveles was a scene of utter chaos.
Lt. Schade then dismissed us from his command, told us that we were on our own and suggested that we try to escape the peninsula and go to Corregidor to rejoin our Marine battalion and continue our defense against the Japanese invaders. Bob Ferguson, myself and two others headed for the beach looking for possible ways to escape to Corregidor. There was a burning freighter anchored off Mariveles (the S.S. Yasang, a Dutch Freighter) and we observed there was still one lifeboat hanging in the davits.
We swam out to the freighter, boarded same, up the rope ship's ladder and managed to launch the lifeboat. The freighter was burning completely below decks and the decks were so hot they burned our feet, but we managed to find four oars and get away from the freighter in the lifeboat.
We started rowing toward Corregidor but immediately came under attack by a Japanese zero. The zero strafed us three times, but each time we managed to jump into the water and none of us was hit by the strafing zero. After the zero left the scene (possibly out of ammo) we got back into the lifeboat only to find it had been hit several times and water was pouring into the boat through the bullet holes.
We tore up our shirts and stuffed cloth into the bullet holes to slow the leaks, but realized that we could never make it to Corregidor without help on bailing water out of the boat, so we headed back toward shore to see if we could find men willing to help in our escape plan and willing to bail water while we rowed.
We had no buckets so it was decided that we would have to use our 3/4 quart canteen cups to bail with. When we were about halfway between the freighter and the shore, we were blown completely out of the boat into the water again. Debris was falling all around us, and when the confusion was over we realized that the freighter had blown up and the only evidence left was a ripple in the water and a sinking hull. We later found out the cargo hold of the freighter was full of explosives that were unusable either on Bataan or Corregidor and therefore never unloaded.
We got back into the boat again and went to shore and found twelve more men willing to help in our escape venture.
We waited until dark to thwart the Japanese air attacks and then sixteen of us headed out for Corregidor. The boat leaked badly and with four men rowing and twelve bailing, we managed to progress slowly toward Corregidor which was only two and a half miles away.
Five and a half hours later we could see the outline of Corregidor through the darkness and only then did we feel that our escape might be successful. Then the U.S. Marines guarding the beach started firing at us, thinking that we were the enemy attempting an invasion of Corregidor. After much confusion and shouting back and forth, we managed to convince the Marines that we were Marines, too, escaping from Bataan and then we were allowed to land on the beach.
I spent the next 27 days of the war on Corregidor with the same Marines that fired on us and in the same beach gun position. These last 27 days we were under constant air attacks and artillery shelling from the Japanese. Sometimes the shells would come in so fast and explode so close together, we would be forced to stay in our foxholes, as nothing above ground could survive the shelling.
The Japs would pick out an area and start placing shells across it. When the shelling stopped, it would be a no-man's land, no trees, shrubbery or camouflage was left standing except for a few smoldering tree trunks, burning and jagged at the top from the exploding shells.
On May 2, the Japs made a direct hit on Battery Geary's 6 and 12 inch mortar magazine, and the shells had penetrated through 18 feet of reinforced concrete and exploded the entire magazine.
The explosion was so great it blew one mortar clear out into the China Sea, one onto the golf course and one clear to bottomside. Battery Geary had been the most effective battery against the Japs, and its destruction was a crippling blow to the Island's defense.
Our food ration was now cut to one meal a day, that is if you could get out of your fox hole long enough to find a field kitchen in operation to draw your ration, if not, you just missed your day's meal.
On May 4 the Japs really started to apply the pressure. They had bombed and shelled us for over 60 hours straight and the explosives were so constant it sounded like large machine guns firing. The entire island was swept with artillery shelling and bombing. On May 5, an intense barrage was laid on the east end of the Island with a lesser barrage on bottomside and elsewhere, after the lifting of the barrage on the east end. Heavy machine gun fire and rifle fire could be heard and we knew that Jap forces had landed on the Island.
On the morning of May 6, we were advised that the Japs had captured Malinta Tunnel and that General Wainwright had surrendered to the Japanese. Our commanding officer ordered us to destroy all our weapons and ammunition and to remain in our positions until the Japs rounded us up.
I believe our Marines could have pushed the Japs completely back off the beaches, if it had only been Jap Infantry, but by landing Jap tanks on the beaches and with no artillery support for our Marines, the Marines were overrun and had no chance against the Jap tanks nor the following Jap Infantry.
About 6:00 PM on May 6, Jap troops appeared at our beach position and forced us to walk up the trail and the road to the airfield on topside, where we spent the night sitting up with no food or water; but with constant prodding with rifle butts and bayonets by the Japs. They seized all personal items they wanted to take from us. The following day we were forced to walk down the road to the 92nd garage area at bottomside. This area was about the size of 2 city blocks, all concrete, with only the damaged garage building on one side. There was no food, no water and no protection from the blazing sun nor from the tropical rains that came later. There were about 12,000 American and Philippine troops in this area. We were surrounded by Japs with machine guns setup and we were told that if the entire Philippine Islands were not surrendered, we would be shot. I was kept in this area for 24 days and those 24 days were no doubt the worst days of my entire forty-two and a half months as a Japanese prisoner of war.
There was no food, no water and our bed was hard concrete; blistering hot all day, cold and windy and often wet at night. Mosquitoes and black flies were so thick you couldn't beat them off and all the time we were looking into Jap machine guns.
If you were lucky you might be able to get on one of the daily work parties that the Japs had, cleaning up the Island, gathering up and burning dead bodies. If they were Japanese, you had to collect their dog tags and give them to the Jap guards. They would not let you collect American of Filipino dog tags. This was a horrible job, but it did allow you to get away from the 92nd area and gave you a chance to find water and food while searching through rubble and buildings for the bodies.
After 24 days of this torture, some of us were marched down to the dock at bottomside and herded onto barges that took us out to an old cattle transport ship off the shore. There we climbed up cargo nets to to ship's deck and then down ladders into the ship's hold. The ship had hauled cattle and horses and had not been cleaned and we were compelled to sit in the manure and urine. After a few miserable hours of this we were ordered back on deck and back down the cargo nets onto barges in Manila Bay. There were about 200 prisoners per barge. When the barges got as close to shore as they could without grounding, we were forced to jump into the water and make our way to shore. On shore we were pushed into columns of four abreast and forced to march the full length of Dewey Boulevard into downtown Manila and into Bilibid Prison. The Japs had forced thousands of Filipinos to line both sides of the march route to show the Filipinos they had captured Corregidor. This march was to be a victory march for themselves. We had many victory signs and much encouragement from the Filipinos and I think the Japs ended up as the villains and we, the hero's.
I realize all this is quite traumatic, but the greatest trauma of all was on a daily basis. You never knew from day to day if you would live to see another day. You had absolutely no freedom. You could not do one thing without approval from the Japs. They would ask you questions, but you never had the right answers. Unless you answered exactly what they wanted to hear or if you said anything else you were punished, beaten and even tortured and worst of all, they would take away food ration for indefinite periods. I recall one incident, of many, when we were being punished by the Japanese guards at our camp in Yokohama. We were forced outside at 2:00 AM in 20 degree weather and forced to stand at attention, because the guards suspected that someone was doing something against their rules. They would not divulge what rule had been broken, but said they would keep us at attention until somebody admitted that they had broken a rule. After an hour or so went by, they started beating on any prisoners that they felt were not in a rigid attention position. I, for one, was struck in the rib cage with a rifle butt which possibly cracked some ribs, as I had terrible rib pains for months after this incident. After three and a half hours of this punishment, we were released and ordered to get dressed and get ready to go to the shipyards for our daily work routine.
Even marching to and from our camp in Yokohama to the Mitsubishi Shipyards to work each day was torture as the Japanese children would torment us, throw rocks and prod us with their pointed rifle sticks which they used in their military training programs. You can't really blame the children, because the adults and the guards would urge them on and laugh at our misfortune for being prisoners of the Emperor.
Even today, 50 years later, this bothers me more than anything else. I still have the feeling that when people ask me questions, I won't give the right answers, the feeling that they don't understand my answers, don't listen, don't care or simply don't believe me. So I just don't talk about it. I also have the feeling of constant guilt that I survived this terrible ordeal, while my POW friends were dying by my side and I could do nothing to help them and for my fellow POW comrades who fought and struggled for survival, only to be killed by our own U.S. Navy forces, when freedom was only one or two months away. Please believe me, this is very tough to live with and the feeling persists no matter how hard I try to overcome it.
In my life I feel that I have been through three wars; the first against the Japanese on Bataan and Corregidor, the second against the Japanese fighting for survival as a prisoner of war and the third, surviving bombing and shelling from the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy while in prison camps.
Some of the medical problems I had while a prisoner of war have affected my life; illnesses have included:
1. Avitaminosis - This problem started on Bataan when we were engaged in battle with the Japanese and were severely starved and malnourished. During that period I had continuous weight loss and by the time of surrender to the Japanese, I had already lost about one-fourth of my normal weight. After capture and imprisonment by the Japanese, we were given three rice balls a day when we worked, if we didn't work, we didn't get the rice balls; therefore my condition grew worse day to day. When the Japanese finally surrendered, my weight was down to 79 pounds. I weighed 155 pounds when I enlisted in the Marine Corps.
2. Beriberi - This was my worst enemy. I had beriberi so bad that my eyes would be nothing but narrow slits caused from the swelling. My legs swelled so badly that I could imprint the full depth of my finger into my legs and after I withdrew my finger, the imprint would stay for hours before it would eventually swell shut. The pain in my legs was so severe I could get no rest, nor into any position that would relieve the pain. I finally found that if I broke the ice off the top of the water filled fire barrels that were located around the exterior of the camp buildings and stood in the ice water until my lower body was completely numb from the cold, I then got some pain relief and was able to get some rest. This procedure backfired on me twice. The first time, a Jap guard found me standing in the rain-water barrel after the 8:00 PM curfew, when we were not allowed outside the building and I was severely beaten by him. I still have the scars. The second time, I must have stayed too long in the barrel. (I was wise enough by then to take my treatment before curfew). My entire body was severely chilled and I came down with pneumonia and then pleurisy.
I was in Camp 3 in Yokohama, Japan at that time. We were forced to work in the Mitsubishi Shipyards and were grouped into squads with ten men per squad. We were issued rice rations, at one ration per squad for each man who worked. If any squad member was sick, and could not work, his ration was cut from the squad allowance, so if five men were sick, the squad only received five rations for ten men. When I became too sick to work and was running 105 degree temperature every day, it was decided that I should be admitted to what we called the "Death Ward", so that my fellow squad members would not have to share their rations with me. When I was admitted to the "Death Ward" there were about 42 prisoners in the ward and death was averaging two men per week. When my condition grew worse and I could hardly breath, they summoned Dr. Brown, an army doctor and fellow prisoner, to examine me. He had no medication, but felt that if he could remove the liquid off my lung, I might recover. Dr. Brown fashioned a needle of some sort that he attached to a blow-type flit insect gun, inserted the needle into my lung cavity and withdrew over two and a half quarts of liquid off my lung. I began a slow recovery and made up my mind at that time that I would not let the Japs bury me in their homeland. Eventually I healed enough to return to work and earn my own food ration.
3. Ear damage, infections and fungus - I got an ear infection while on Bataan. We called it "Jungle Rot" and I believe it was caused from trying to get clean in the polluted river that ran behind our jungle camp. The river was so polluted you could almost walk on top of the water. Nevertheless less, it was the only water available for bathing, and in the hot, humid jungle it even felt refreshing. The ear problem stayed with me through all these years. i recall that on one particular day on Corregidor, the Japanese shelled and bombed us continually for over twelve hours straight, and I was told later that the Japanese artillery had shelled us with over 1,800,000 pounds of shells. That was in addition to the bombs dropped by their bombers. During the last 27 days that I was on Corregidor, we were under constant artillery and bombing attacks. The powder smoke was so dense it burned your eyes, throat, nose and lungs. I had a continuous 24-hour-a-day headache the entire time.
The dirt and dust created by bursting shells and bombs was so thick, you could hold your hand out, palm up, and a dirt pocket would form in your palm. Your nose and throat were caked with dirt and I am sure the lungs were also badly covered from inhaling this dirt and dust. As Corregidor was only two square miles in size, it seems a miracle that anyone ever survived the shelling and bombing. It is obvious that my ear problems were increased from the numerous explosions. Another traumatic incident was being bombed, shelled and strafed by our own Navy and Air Force. We had been bombed out of our work camp in Yokohama when the B-29's were making their large bombing runs over Tokyo and Yokohama and our camp was completely burned to the ground.
We were then transferred from the Mitsubishi Shipyards to the steel mills at Kamaishi in Northern Japan. On August 9, 1945, the steel mill was assaulted for three hours and twenty minutes by the U.S. Navy Seventh Fleet. The Navy shelled constantly and dive bombers dropped numerous bombs, while torpedo planes torpedoed and strafed. The mill was almost completely destroyed; it was a total disaster! Our POW camp was hit and burned to the ground and some prisoners were killed in the camp. There was a tunnel through the mountain between the steel mill and the harbor; hundreds of Japanese civilians, military and some of our prisoners went into the tunnel to escape the shelling and bombing. U.S. Navy dive bombers dropped bombs on both ends of this tunnel and all occupants in the tunnel were killed, either by the bomb explosions or from concussion created throughout the tunnel. After the raid was over, we worked 24 hours a day removing bodies from the tunnel. We accounted for 42 POW bodies found in the tunnel. On August 11, 1945, the U.S. Navy again attacked with bombers, dive bombers and strafing and I know an additional twelve POWs were killed. I never entered the tunnel during the raid because of mixed emotions. Knowing that our fleet was able to get that close to Japan with no obvious counter attack from the Japanese, I realized that the war might be coming to an end and sometime in the near future, I would be freed from POW life, so I actually stood in the center of all the bombardments, watched the steel mill being demolished and waved and cheered as the U.S. Navy planes flew over. The only negative thought that entered my mind was the possibility that I might be killed by my own Navy. If the Navy attack was in preparation for a ground assault by American forces, I could be killed by them or by the Japanese soldiers who were guarding us as their prisoners. In any case, I did cheer our Navy and was extremely fortunate not to be wounded or killed during these attacks. Previously, I had been bombed, shelled, strafed and shot at by the Japanese and now I had been bombed, shelled and strafed by the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy and shot at by the U.S. Marines. But I survived it all and it gave me encouragement that I might live through the entire war and someday be a free man again.
On August 25, 1945, I was in a POW camp in Northern Japan at Ohashi; a Navy dive bomber flew over our camp and a note was dropped inside our camp that simply stated, "Just a few more days!" A few days later, food supplies were dropped into our camp from low flying Navy bombers. We had no other information on the war situation and did not know when we would be freed from the POW camp. On the morning of September 9, 1945, we awoke to find that all the prison guards had left the camp. Eager then, to obtain our freedom, eighteen other prisoners and I left the camp and hiked over the mountain to the railway station at Kashimura. We then commandeered the first rail car behind the engine of the train bound for Tokyo. It got a little scary on the trip to Tokyo as we saw only Japanese soldiers at the various station stops en route - no occupation troops and we began to wonder if our quest for freedom might cause us trouble; but then we crossed the river at the outskirts of Tokyo and there were armed American Soldiers patrolling the bridge. American Army Officers met us at the Tokyo train station and escorted us to General McArthur's Headquarters.
We took hot showers; were given new khaki uniforms with Ex-POW armbands attached. We were served hot food; but most of us were not able to retain the rich food. I was taken to the U.S.S. Monitor that was anchored in Tokyo Bay and was treated for worms, fed a low-fat, non-rich diet; had a couple of teeth pulled and four filled and then was flown by Navy aircraft to the U.S. Naval Hospital on Guam. At this hospital they maintained my diet, treated me again for worms and when I was up to the trip, I was flown in a Navy PBY-X2 hospital aircraft to Honolulu. After more treatments and more controlled diet, I was flown on civilian aircraft to Oakland, California Naval Hospital. I arrived at Oakland on September 24, 1945, almost four and one half years after I had originally left the United States for duty in the Philippine Islands. After a few lab tests at Oakland Naval Hospital to make sure the worm problem was cleared up, I was transferred to the U.S. Navy Hospital at Sandpoint, Seattle, Washington. Since I had not been home for Christmas since 1939, I was given a sixty-day medical leave so that I could go home. When the sixty days were over, I was ordered to report to the U.S. Marine Corps base at Bremerton, Washington. I complied with this order and was given a sixty-day furlough and ordered to report to Farragut, Idaho, Navy Base on termination of my furlough. At the end of the furlough, I reported to the U.S. Marine Headquarters at Farragut and when I would not consider re enlistment, I was discharged on April 22, 1946.
Glenn W. McKasson
The death of William H Brodie, crewman on the MV Hauraki
Speech by Yoshiko Tamura in Japan:
ANZAC DAY 25/4/2004
Thank you very much for the invitation to speak today. It's indeed an honour as a member of POW Research Network Japan which was founded in March 2002 to get a chance to talk to you again about one soldier buried here in this New Zealand Section of the British Commonwealth War Cemetery, Yokohama.
In this section, there are 13 New Zealand graves. All of them, except for one, died on duty in BCOF, the British Commonwealth Occupation Force. Only one of them lost his life as a prisoner of war in Japan. If you look at his plaque, just like all the others', you can only learn his name, his rank and organization, age and his death date. Some of them have inscriptions provided by the family. So you can see that his name was William Henry Brodie (CD 10), the Fifth Engineer Officer, Merchant Navy, serving on the m.v. Hauraki. He died on 10th August 1945 at the age of 30.
According to the cemetery register, his home town was Canterbury, New Zealand; just five days before the end of the war. What happened to him? And where was he at that time? You can't get any more information from his grave marker.
We have worked very hard to get more information, although we were told originally that there were no record left as all the documents were destroyed just after the war. But little by little we could manage to find and now we have covered almost all the personal details of each casualty. According to our research, we found Brodie was in the Kamaishi Camp (this camp) in Iwate Prefecture and his death was caused by critical burns through shelling.
At the last stage of the war, many POW camps in Japan suffered heavy damage from air raids in which many POWs lost their lives. Kamaishi, an industrial area near the sea, was badly damaged twice when allied warships bombarded shore instalations in North Central Honshu. First on 14th July in 1945, the city and the ironworks were shelled. 1460 houses were burned and about 240 citizens died. 5 POWs were killed at the ironworks.
A second time, on 9th August, the city of Kamaishi was again bombarded by British warships. This time they were rained with 2700 shells. 1470 houses were set on fire and over 100 citizens lost their lives. In the camp, 5 POWs died. Within the ironworks, workers and POWs ran into the sheiters. 17 POWs died through gas inhalation and 20 others were injured. As a result of these two shellings, 32 POWs died, mostly Dutch and including 4 Americans, 2 British and 1 New Zealander.
Last month, Mrs. Taeko Sasamoto, one of the co-representatives of our group, and I visited the U.K. to make further enquiries of some former POWs. One of them happened to talk about the shelling in Kamaishi. He was in the Ohashi Camp, which is in the mountains, about 15 km from Kamaishi. On the day Kamaishi was attacked, a camp doctor in Ohashi told the men that many POWs in the Kamaishi Camp were hurt and desperately needed help. He asked for volunteers to assist. This British POW decided to go with him.
As he entered the camp hospital, he told us that he was astonished at the awful smell in the room and how badly the victims were burned. He took care of one man. He tried to give him some spoonfuls of soup. But his face was so badly gashed that he was terrible to see. He remembered this man couldn't drink well because of his damaged jaw. He tried to talk with him, but his voice was too weak and very hard to hear because of his poor condition. The only thing he could understand was that this man was British.
After returning to Japan, I received an e-mail from New Zealand that this William Henry Brodie lived in New Zealand but his nationality was British. Only two British and 1 New Zealand casualties were in Kamaishi. Who can say that there's no chance that the British former POW we met last month in the UK took care of the dying Brodie?
Our group has investigated many POW camps in Japan. We have accumulated a vast amount of information about the individualities buried here, but we still have work to do. Recently we are greatly encouraged, because quite often we exchange information not only with Japanese but also with people overseas and sometimes we get interesting information by internet. Our group members helped me a lot in preparing this talk and I have included as much information as possible.
Just before closing, I would like to tell you something. We have believed there's only one New Zealander's POW casualty in this cemetery. But there's also another New Zealander whose grave is in the British Section. This was pointed out by a young New Zealander who visited Japan recently. The sailor's name is Robert McNeill of Auckland (GD 13). He was working in a dockyard in Nagasaki and died there from acute pneumonia on 15th April 1944 at the age of 23 according to the record. Let's go and visit his grave, too, after the ceremony. There's one more I would like to tell you. The commandant of the Kamaishi Camp passed away some years ago, but his daughter is here today to attend the ceremony.
Thank you very much for this honorable chance to talk to you.