On the Death of
Pvt. Robert Gordon Teas

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Deposition of D. Grant RAF
Re: Teas Death
Source: RG407, Box 187
_____________________________________________________________________________________

MITSUSHIMA CAMP
(Tokyo, No 3)


Death of Pfc R.G. Teas, US Army,
Report by Squadron Leader David Grant RAF.

Pfc R.G. Teas was a prisoner at the above camp where I was a senior RAF officer from November 28th 1942 till August '42.

On or about the 2nd of March, 1943 Teas who was in sick quarters suffering from malnutrition and dysentery was found to be in possession of several tins of Red Cross food. The matter was reported to me and I questioned Teas. Who said he had taken the cans from a shed where he had seen them being hidden by a Japanese reservist employed in the camp.

I discussed the matter with the senior American officer, Major Alan M. Corey, (115, N. Cheyenne St. Tulsa, Okla.). We concluded that Teas’s story was true. As the store had not been broken open. I went to Yosinsawa [Yoshizawa], (Corpl. 48th Regt.) the camp interpreter, and reported the matter, describing the reservist who had hidden them. He said that Teas must have stolen the cans. I said that it was impossible as the store had not been broken into. And further than another American soldier had also witnessed the concealing of the cans by the Japanese reservist. I also reminded Yoshisawa that Teas had been diagnosed by the camp doctor, Lt Van Slooten, Dutch Army. As suffering from kleptomania. Yoshisawa understood the term “kleptomania” which he looked up in his dictionary, and realized that it meant mental sickness causing the sufferer to steal objects irrespective of their value.

Yoshisawa then called the storeman, a reservist called Sucaiyeh. The two had a long discussion in Japanese which I did not understand.

All three of us, and Sq Ldr Blanchard. Then went to the sick bay. On the way I again asked Yoshisawa to have Teas sent to a proper hospital for treatment for his physical and mental trouble. He said “I do not think Teas is mad.”

On arrival at the sick bay I was astonished to find that Yoshisawa and Suchiyeh made no mention of the Red Cross cans. But accused Teas of having stolen a Japanese shirt. They searched his kit but found no stolen shirt. In order to make him confess to the theft, Yoshisawa ordered him to stand up on his bunk and Suchiyeh slashed him repeatedly across the face with a knotted rope. While Yoshisawa jabbed him several times in the stomach with a stick.

Sq Ldr Blanchard protested vigorously against this treatment. And after several minutes the punishment stopped without any confession having been obtained. Teas was then ordered to stand outside in his underwear. The weather was bitterly cold. I went to Yoshisawa and asked that Teas be allowed to return to bed. This he was allowed to do after one hour and a half. I learned later that Yoshisawa ordered that Teas must not be given any food for four meals and was obliged to fast from his morning meal until the evening meal of the following day.

Teas died on March 5th 1943. I am convinced that his death was caused or at least hastened by the above-described maltreatment.

WITNESS- DAVID GRANT S/Ldr RAF
W.T. BLANCHARD S/Ldr RAF
CERTIFIED TRUE COPY:
(signed) ??? G Rasmussen
Capt – ???
Original document received this date for transmittal to Legal Section, GHQ, SCAP.

John F. Mahoney, ?? ??
War Crimes, GHQ
L???? O.



Excerpts from Deposition of 1st Sgt. C.O. Snodgrass 803rd Engineers (Avn.)

Re: Teas Death – Interviewed at 29th Replacement Depot
Luzon P.I. 13 Sept. 1945

Q. Will you state all facts in detail pertaining to atrocities, war crimes, violations of Rules of Land Warfare and human decency at Mitsushima, Japan, the dates thereof, the perpetrators, giving their ranks, units and other identifying information.

A. About February 1943, a Private First Class, Robert Gordon Teas, A.S.N. 6915655, 19th Bomb Group, A.A.F., home address 304 S. Park St., Streator, Illinois, was killed by the Japanese at this camp. They claimed that he had disobeyed an order, but I don’t know anything about that. I first saw a Jap by the name of TSUTCHIA [Tsuchiya], whom we called “little glass-eye” and another Jap, whose name I do not know, but whom we called “rivet- tooth”, beating Teas at the wash stand outside the barracks. They were using a piece of wet rope with knots in it, about an inch thick. The rope was about 5 or 6 feet long, but they they had it folded over several times. They beat him around the face and head. They continued this for about 15 minutes, when they knocked him down they would pull him on his feet again.

They then took Teas into the barracks and were joined by two more Jap Army guards, one named Yoshiyawa (Yoshizawa), whom we called “Mushmouth”, and the other, whose name I do not know, we called “Mickey Mouse.” He was an interpreter. They continued to work on Teas with the rope and also a wooden club about 3 to 3 feet long, three inches thick, and six inches wide. They were hitting him on the head mostly. They made him get up on his own everytime they knocked him down, until he was too weak. Then they picked him up and continued their beatings. They kept this for 20 to thirty minutes. They kept screaming questions at him in broken English all the time. I couldn’t understand what they were asking. Finally, they clouted him and he dropped unconscious. He never come to and died about 4 to 4 hours later in the evening.

Clifton Snodgrass



Describe How Japs Beat Yank To Death

Yokohama (AP)- Japanese guards invaded the sanctuary of a prison camp hospital to administer a fatal beating to an American prisoner of war, a U.S. military commission trying the first war criminal case in Japan-that of guard Tstsuo Tsuchiya-was told today.

Pfc. Robert Gordon Teas of Streator, Ill., had been accused by his captors of taking American Red Cross supplies which the Japanese had hidden in the Mitsushima camp, said a deposition from Pfc. Charles B. Gavord of Deming N.M.

Gavord’s testimony was read at the trial of Tsuchiya, charged with implication in the murder of Teas who was captured on Bataan April 10, 1942.

“Sergeant Mushmouth another of the more than 300 Japanese underlings who will stand trial and Little Glass Eye (as Tsuchiya was known) took Teas into the open yard, threw water on him and beat him with hardwood canes shaped like swords,” Gavord testified.

“Then they put him into the guardhouse. But each day they took him out and beat him some more. The day before he died, they put him in the hospital and I personally saw these same Japs beat him before he died.”

Gavord fixed the date of the incident as in March 1943, one of the coldest months in Japan.

A deposition by First Sgt. Clifton Otto Snodgrass of Junction City, Kan., said one beating given Teas by Tsuchiya and another guard, whom prisoners called, “Rivet Tooth,” lasted 45 minutes.

“They took a rope about an inch thick, which they doubled several times, and beat Teas around the face and head-and each time he fell down they made him get up again,” Snodgrass testified. “When Teas was too weak to stand up, they picked him up and continued the beating for up to 30 minutes.”

(From The Times Record, Troy, N.Y. 19 Dec 1945)



JAP GUARD FACES US TRIBUNAL
Atrocities In Prison Camp

From JOHN LOUGHLIN
YOKOHAMA

Tatsuo Tsuchiya, diminutive, one-eyed Japanese prison guard, and the first of more than 300 "minor" war criminal suspects who will pass through US military courts on atrocity charges, entered a courtroom yesterday and faced a tribunal of nine colonels who will decide his fate.

He is charged with having at Mitsushima camp beaten an American prisoner to death with knotted ropes and clubs, with inflicting many other cruel beatings and tortures, and with having forced British and American prisoners to stand in lines and slap each other.

The small, drab, depressing courtroom was ablaze with the white glare of arclights and noisy with the clicking of Allied and Japanese movie cameras when "Little Glass Eye," as Tsuchiya is called, entered, accompanied by white-helmeted military policemen who towered over him. He was thin-faced, with bristling, short-cropped hair, and wore a faded civilian suit and thick-rimmed glasses.

(From The Argus 19 Dec 1945 - Australian online newspaper archive)



LIFE SENTENCE FOR JAP GUARD WHO HELPED KILL POW

From JOHN LOUGHLIN
TOKYO

The six-day trial of the first war criminal to be arraigned by the Allied Military Commission in Japan has ended with a life sentence being imposed upon Tatsuo Tsuchiya ("Little Glass Eye"), a prison guard, who was charged with having helped to beat to death an American POW, Pte Robert Teas, a survivor of the Bataan death march.

Tsuchiya was acquitted on charges of having forced British and US POW’s to beat each other and of having stolen Red Cross supplies.

The next suspects to be tried will be the commander of a POW camp, who will be charged with having ordered prison guards to bayonet an American prisoner to death, and another camp commander charged with the ill-treatment of prisoners.

(From The Argus, 28 Dec 1945 - Australian online newspaper archive)

--- Information on this page courtesy of John Hicks and Grant McLachlan