Recovery Team #63 - Report 1
Sendai Camp #9 Sakata

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CAUTION: This report is based primarily upon interviews with local Japanese officials who had good reasons to present a kind and gentle treatment of the prisoners.

27 September 1945

SUBJECT: Report on Sendai P.O.W. camp #9, located at Sakata, Japan.
TO: C.O. Recovered Personnel Division AGO GHQ AFRAC

246 British (actual 248)
26 Australians
15 Americans
5 Dutch
Lt. Heiji Mori, who was in charge of the camp said. "Eight of the prisoners died while at the camp. Most of them died of Beri-Beri. The bodies were cremated and the ashes were sent to Yokohama".


The main building was 48 by 16 paces. The part of this building used for billeting the prisoners was 31 by 16 paces and two stories high. The lighting was fair, having a window in the roof for the purpose of letting in sunlight and also the building was wired for electricity. There were no heating facilities visible and the guard in charge admitted that the prisoners suffered from the cold. The remainder of the building was composed of two store rooms which contained approximately 25 bundles of blankets, 15 bundles of coats (English), 25 bundles containing shoes, trousers and caps. 50 bags of rice, 50 cases of tea and some beans. There were also several bundles of American parachutes. The guards informed us that their orders were that the Occupational Army would collect this equipment. On the roof of the main building were painted the letters POW in high altitude.

There was a latrine built at one end of the main building containing eighteen private toilets and a urinals which was eight paces long. There was no excess waste around the latrine. A lean-to shed was at the other end of the main building with a water well and heating facilities for the laundry. On the wall was a sign reading, "THIS WATER NOT TO BE USED FOR COOKHOUSE". The guard informed me that this water was polluted but that they had a tap in the same building with safe drinking water.

The kitchen was 9 by 16 paces. It was built of lumber with a tile roof and a cement floor. Large cracks in the walls made the building poor for winter use. The kitchen contained several large cement bowls in which the prisoners cooked their food. The prisoners ate their food in their sleeping quarters.

At one end of the kitchen was a large boiler used for heating water for the bath. The bath tub was approximately two by fours yards and four feet deep. At first the prisoners were allowed to take a bath four times a week, but later when it became difficult to obtain charcoal, the prisoners were only allowed two baths a week. A short time before being released, the prisoners were allowed a bath every other day. At the other end of the kitchen there were three empty store rooms.

The guard administration buildings and sanitary facilities were not much better than those of the prisoners. Near the entrance gate was an air-raid shelter, large enough for the guards only.

Lt. Heiji Mori informed me that the prisoners at this camp were the best fed, best clothed, and best quartered of any camp in the Northern section. One of the reasons for this was probably due to the fact that food and medical supplies had been dropped by parachute on 22 August 1944, 1 September 1944, and 11 September 1944. There were empty cans of dehydrated milk, roast beef, meat, and rice. There were also cans of Japanese canned foods in a pile near the kitchen and a pile near the entrance gate. The guard said, When the prisoners were imprisoned at this camp the averages 57 kilograms in weight and when they were released they weighed 66.25 kilograms".

Lt. Heiji Mori said, "Some of the prisoners that arrived in October 1944 were wounded when their ship was torpedoed and sunk. The prisoners were in a very weakened condition after being in the water for two days before help reached them.

Lt. Heiji Mori told me the prisoners were worked from 0700 until 1539 during the winter months. And during the summer months they worked from 0700 until 1630. The prisoners worked at loading and unloading supplies from the trains and also they loaded and unloaded ships at the docks.

The guards said, "For recreation, the prisoners played basketball, softball, and went swimming in the ocean", which was about 450 meters from the camp.

Lt. Heiji Mori said, "The prisoners were allowed to have religious services every Sunday. We found a number of hymns written on paper. There were also about fifteen story books printed in English.

There was a twelve foot board fence enclosing the buildings and area of the camp.

Lt. Heiji Mori said, "the camp was opened 10 March 1944". The following men were the guards at the camp.
Sgt. (M) Gunpei Shimizu
Sgt. (Q) Motohiro Hanada
Cpl. Masoa Kumagai
Pvt. Eisuke Ito
Pvt. (M) Shigio Karino

Lt. Heiji Mori was in charge of the camp

/S/ Don C. King
DON C. KING 2d Lt. F.A.
Team Leader
Recovery Team #63