U.S. PRISONERS OF WAR OFFER KIND AID
TO VICTIMS OF SASAGO TRAIN ACCIDENT
Deeply impressed by the kindness and sympathy shown by former American prisoners of war in the recent train accident which occurred at Sasago Station on the Chuo (Central) Line on September 6, Transportation Minister Naoto Kobiyama has decided to express his heartfelt personal thanks to those concerned by presenting them with gifts of appreciation, according to the Asahi [newspaper].
Immediately after the accident a train arrived at Sasago Station carrying 80 American prisoners of war on their way from Chino to Yokohama. [Note: These were the men from Niigata POW Camp under command of Canadian Squadron Leader Leonard Birchall, "The Savior of Ceylon."] While the Japanese railway employees at Sasago Station made frantic efforts lest the transportation of those internees be in any way delayed on account of the accident, the internees themselves upon hearing of the circumstances voluntarily offered to lend a helping hand.
At once, every one of them descended from the train and started to give medical care to the wounded passengers, using whatever medical supplies they had on hand. Others opened tins of preserved foodstuffs which had been distributed to them, and gave the contents to the wounded to eat.
They also offered their own woolen blankets and even helped to fix up emergency bedsteads.
Even after restoration of traffic at Sasago Station, every time a train carrying war prisoners passed, supplies of canned foodstuffs, woolen blankets, clothing, overcoats, and other articles have been thrown out of the train windows as gifts to the wounded from the American internees.
Meanwhile, a report has been received from the Railway Central Bureau at Kofu, which has jurisdiction over Sasago Station, expressing the desire of all those concerned to convey their feelings of gratitude to the internees. Transportation Minister Kobiyama, upon hearing this, at once ascertained whether those internees had sailed yet or not and took all necessary measures in order to send them wine, a famed product of Kofu, as a token of appreciation.