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The postcard read: “Your boy is alive!”

James MacMannis and his wife listen to their ham radio

James ‘Dad Mac’ MacMannis is believed to have sent as many as 33,000 postcards during World War II.

WEST PALM BEACH — Dad Mac sat in his living room and furiously scribbled the names the German propaganda machine rattled off. Names of GIs whose moms and dads and siblings and sweethearts in Florida and Iowa and Oregon. Loved ones who for weeks or months had wondered and worried and wrung their hands. Mac would fill out and address a postcard. It would say: Your boy is alive.

As World War II raged, and before and after D-Day, James L. MacMannis wrote as many as 33,000 postcards to families across America. After a while, people called him Dad.

At first, he said, he sent out just a few cards, and he got few responses.

“I was discouraged,” he told Palm Beach Evening Times Editor Tom Penick for a June 1944 column. “It was weeks before I heard from any of the folks I had written. Then they started.”

One parent wrote, “You are doing marvelous work. May God bless you.”

The date of Penick’s column was June 2, 1944. Neither he nor most of the country knew at the time that in four days, on June 6, the world would change

‘Keeping faith’

James L. MacMannis was a veteran of both the Army and Navy and both world wars. He’d been a barnstorming pilot in those first days of flight — a relative claimed he got America’s fourth-ever pilot’s license, something that couldn’t be independently verified — and taught pilots in World War I, when military aviation was in its infancy

He was a parachute jumper who later became an airplane inspector. He joined World War II via the Coast Guard in the Baltimore area.  Around 1943, he moved to West Palm Beach, believed to be about a block south of what’s now the Norton Museum of Art.

MacMannis did have a hobby: shortwave radio.

In August 1943, he tuned in to a Berlin station. Naturally, it was a propaganda broadcast by the Third Reich. Night after night, the feminine voice would rattle off each soldier’s name and serial number, along with messages the GI hoped would get back to their families in the U.S. The Berlin fräulein even gave the GI’s home address so that anyone listening could drop a line to the family that he was OK, at least relatively.

Whether the idea was to show how humane the Germans were or was a ploy to get parents to pressure the U.S. government to push for peace, only the Nazis could say.

But for Dad Mac, a light went on.

Ray Sherman

Every night at 7, Dad would settle into his rocking chair. He listened even when the static made broadcasts pretty much undecipherable. Some nights he would listen until dawn.

“He doesn’t dare leave because he fears he may miss some of the broadcast with the prisoners’ list,” Mary MacMannis said, “And he tries to get all.”

Some nights it was 20 names, some nights 60 or 80. One night he heard 157 names. Some nights, there was no list.

Dad Mac didn’t tell families everything. Sometimes the broadcast would impart that a boy had had both legs blown off or had bullets still lodged in his body.

“It’s enough to let them know that Berlin says they (soldiers) are alive and a POW,” MacMannis said.

He also worried at times if he was a dupe, forwarding details to desperate families about which the Nazi propaganda machine might be lying. He said he felt better when the War Department began verifying to him what he was hearing.

Once word got out about “Dad’s Listening Post,” others stepped up to help; fellow radio enthusiasts, the West Palm Beach fire chief, an assistant chief and a printing firm donated everything from radio parts to postcards. Dad Mac graduated from a small radio to a big receiver.

By January 1945, MacMannis estimated he’d heard 20,000 messages about American POWs and mailed out about 15,000 cards.

Life magazine got wind of him and ran a photo of Dad and Mary in their living room in front of a giant radio. That story quoted a total of 33,000 messages from POWs, including Canadians.

“War Prisoner Information,” Dad Mac’s cards said. “A free humanitarian service given by ‘Dad MacMannis’ Listening Post.′ ” And, “A veteran of both wars keeping faith with his buddies.”

“Howdy, folks,” one postcard quoted G.I. Ray Sherman. “I won’t be long. These Germans treat us mighty well. I will write you soon. Don’t worry. Love Ray.” The form was dated July 22; no year.

A search of databases shows a Ray J. Sherman, born in 1923, had enlisted in Milwaukee and served in the infantry in both the North African and Italian theaters before the Germans captured him at Anzio on Feb. 16, 1944.

Article located in the Palm Beach Post.

We spoke once before about the ham radio operators during WWII and the great job they did, read HERE!

Click on images to enlarge.

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Home Front Ham Radio Humor – 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Anne Bertola – Rockland County, NY; US Army WAC, WWII

Arnold Fleischmann – Brn: GER/ MD; US Army, WWII, ETO, Eisenhower’s interpreter, POW, Col. (Ret.)

Roy Harsh – Lancaster, PA; US Navy, WWII, USS St. Paul

Joseph Murphy – Dedham, MA; US Navy, WWII, ETO

James Newmark – Chicago, IL; US Navy, WWII, Carrier pilot

Robert Parks – New Smyrna, FL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, HQ Co./2/187/11th Airborne Division

Louis Reeg – Galveston, TX; US Army Air Corps, WWII, 82nd Airborne Division

Peter Shymske – Seville, OH; US Army, WWII & Korea, 43/103 Infantry Division

Albert Vnencak – Whippany, NJ; USMC, WWII

Ernest Webb – Neodesha, KS; US Army Air Corps, WWII, medic

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Personal Note –  This is my 1000th post.  Yikes, I never would have believed it!!

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D-Day from a different view

German POWs

On 6 June 1944, Milton Roger Sosin, a seasoned reporter, took a ride up the south shore of Lake Okeechobee, Florida.  Overnight, the long anticipated invasion of Europe had begun.

The Miami Daily News was in search of local reactions from people in Florida – Sosin was assigned to talk to Germans.  Not German-Americans, and some weren’t too far away.

Milton Sosin, Miami Herald reporter

In May of 1943, Allied forces had begun to ship German POWs to the United States, more than 9,000 were sent to Florida’s 22 prisoner of war camps.  Near Clewiston, FL, was Liberty Point and Sosin was on his way.

On that warm day, he drove up U,S. 27, past pastures and farm land.  When he got to Liberty Point, prisoners were marching in from the fields, in formation, their shovels slung over their shoulders like rifles.

The draft had decimated the American labor force and disrupted the usual flow of Caribbean workers, so the Germans were put to work planting and harvesting sugar cane.

The Germans were happy to talk.  Yes, they had heard of the invasion, on radios the camp commander had bought them from what they earned running a canteen at the camp.  Enough of the POWs spoke English to translate the broadcasts to the rest.

June 1944 Headlines

The POWs told Sosin the reports were propaganda.  Germany, they said, surely would prevail.  Sosin’s story headline read, “Arrogant Nazis still laud Hitler.  Der Fuehrer’s Forces Think Germany Will Win The War.”

Sosin described the prisoners as “jaunty, confident and arrogant members of Der Fuerhrer’s forces – not cowed and beaten soldiers of a nation being pushed into a tighter and tighter circle.”

But their Glade home was no picnic for the fair-skinned men.  When the American Red Cross showed up, the temperature was 103°F and it had not rained for 6 months.  Prisoners worked long, hard hours, but the Americans could feel no sympathy for them – they knew what U.S. POWs in Germany were going through.

German prisoner buys candy at the canteen

The prisoners were paid 80 cents a day in coupons which they traded for cigarettes and beer.  Barracks held 6-men each and had mosquito netting.  They were served the same meals as their American camp guards.  Nearly 300 POWs fished in the local canals, saw films twice a week and assembled a band using instruments bought with their canteen money.

German POWs play chess

Prisoners had newspapers, took educational courses, played soccer and volley ball at a nearby school and competed against a local softball team.  But when the POWs went on strike whining over a cigarette ration cut – the army handed down a “No Work – NO Eat.” policy.

The prisoner’s had a social structure loosely split among the elite Afrika Korps captured in 1942; troops in Italy ’43-’44; and those captured after D-Day.  The Afrika Korps officers refused to believe what the new arrivals reported about the Normandy beaches and believed they were spies trying to demoralize them.  The korps prisoners would lord over the other POWs, doling out discipline and punishments.

Escaped German POW

Some tried to escape, but Florida was not the easiest place to go on the lam.  Most did not go very far.

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Military Humor –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Ralph Brown – Maori Hill, NZ; RNZ Air Force # 424421, WWII

Paul ‘Bud’ Erlacher Jr. – Milford, CT; US Army Air Corps, WWII, Sgt. Medical Corps

Lee Holstein – Laguna Woods, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, Co. B/187/11th Airborne Division

Durwood Johnson – Cravens, LA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, B-17 tail-gunner

John Knaur – Des Moines, IA; US Navy, WWII, steamfitter, USS Amycus

Jack Maddox (100) – GA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, crew chief, 62 FS/56FG/8th Air Force

Newton Nelson – River Falls, WI; US Navy, WWII & Korea

Harry Siria – Thompson Falls, MT; US Navy, WWII, PTO, fire ship

Otho ‘Coke’ Wiseman – NM; US Army, WWII, ETO, Purple Heart

Elvin Zipf – Pompton Plains, NJ; US Navy, WWII, air corps

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Following the Flag

This is not our Flag Day, but the history behind it and the relationship to the POW’s of WWII are with us still today.

The Veteran's Collection

The Old Flag Never Touched the Ground Depicting the Massachusetts 54th Infantry Regiment at Fort Wagner, SC, this (2004) painting, “The Old Flag Never Touched the Ground” by Rick Reeves prominently displays the flag leading the troops in battle.

Today is Flag Day. On June 14, 1777, Congress passed a resolution to adopt the stars and stripes design for our national flag. In honor of that, I felt compelled to shed some light on how the impact of the flag holds for men and women who serve this country in uniform.

Throughout the history of our nation, the Stars and Stripes have had immeasurable meaning to to those serving in uniform. On the field of battle, the Flag has been a rallying point for units as they follow it toward the enemy. From their vantage points, commanding generals are able to observe their troop movements and progress throughout battles by following the flag.

Troop reverence for the…

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Intermission (5) – POW in Japan

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Can you imagine what it must be like to be marched out to face a firing squad, say goodbye to your closest friend who is standing next to you and then have the squad shoulder their rifles and march away having not fired a shot?  What are the odds on that happening during a war situation?  The mind boggles at the odds of this happening but this did happen to Charles Rodaway who served in the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment during World War II.

POW camps in Japan

POW camps in Japan

He joined the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment and was posted to Shanghai in 1934.  He undertook guard duties in Shanghai before  being transferred to Singapore in 1938.  At the fall of Singapore in 1942, he was captured by the Japanese and put to work as a labourer in the Kawasaki shipyards, near Tokyo.  In 1944, he and a friend attempted to escape but were captured and sentenced to death by firing squad for the escape attempt.

 In an interview, he said, “I said to my pal, ‘This is it’.  Instead of a volley of bullets, the officer in charge, ordered the firing squad to shoulder arms and marched them away.

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Charles Rodaway

He and eight other POW’s were sentenced to 15 years incarceration at Sakai Prison in Osaka.  In a 2005 interview, he told of the horrendous conditions in the prison, “There was no heat or fan; no water, a wooden pail for a toilet, one light hung from the ceiling, a small barred window at the rear of the cell. Clothing was one thin shirt, one thin trousers, no shoes or socks, no jacket or kimono. No wooden box, only the floor to sit on. Only one thin blanket for cover. Bathing was usually allowed once a month; no soap, no washcloth or towel, no clean clothing.”

Charles was released from the prison, a week after the Japanese surrender, when it was liberated by Allied Forces in August 1945.  His family were stunned when he reappeared in Blackpool.  They had waited at the train station for him, and when he did not appear they were convinced that he had died.

Narmuni  POW Camp, Osaka, Japan

Narmuni POW Camp, Osaka, Japan

In 1948, he emigrated to Canada but made many trips back to his hometown until he became too old to travel.  On the 12th March, he celebrates his 100thbirthday.  His wife, Sheila, said “It’s quite an accomplishment, especially considering the inhumane conditions during his time in Japan prisons. He’s absolutely amazed he’s lived so long, and feels wonderful, excitedly looking forward to his birthday although he can’t quite believe it! He credits truthfulness and honesty as the key.”

An amateur historian, Tony Rodaway, who is no relation to Charles is credited with bringing this story to the attention of the world.  Most soldiers, on their return from war, do not talk about their experiences as it is often much too painful.  In Charles’s case he must give thanks every day that the firing squad was called away.

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Military Humor –

low-tech-gifts-john-atkinson

Traveling light !

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Farewell Salutes –

Kenneth Austin – Vancouver, CAN; RC Air Force – WWII

Robert Berly Jr. – Charlotte, NC; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, B-24 pilot, POW

Hector Cafferata Jr. – Caldwell, NJ; USMC, Korea, F/2/7/1st Division, Medal of Honor

Barry Davies – UK; British Special Air Services, GSG9 hostage rescue (1977)

Dudley Evans – Greenville, MS; US Army, Korea, Cpl., POW, KIA

John Howard Sr. – AL; US Army, Korea, POW/ Vietnam, 1st Sgt.

Morell Jones – Auckland, NZ; RNZ Army # 443211, WWII, 26 Battalion

Frederich Mayer – brn: Freiburg, GER; US Army/OSS, WWII, ETO, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, POW

Edmond Rachal – Marco, LA; US Army, WWII, ETO, 823rd Tank Destroyer Batt., POW/ US Air Force, TSgt. (Ret.)

James Sorenson – Superior, WI; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, Purple Heart, POW

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The Ultimate Sacrifice

For our return to the Pacific War and August 1943….

IHRA

Art print of Ralph Cheli's B-25 going down over New Guinea. Painted by Steve Ferguson, sold by IHRA

On August 18, 1943, Maj. Ralph Cheli led a strike group from the 38th Bomb Group in an attack against the Japanese airstrip at Dagua, New Guinea, as a part of an all-out low-level B-25 strafer attack against the four airfields in the Wewak complex. Already fighting bad weather across the northern coast of New Guinea, Maj. Cheli’s unit was attacked by roughly ten 59 Sentai Oscars. Soon thereafter, one of the fighters made a five o’clock pass at the lead B-25, its fire ripping into the right engine. Maj. Cheli’s wing burst into flames and he rapidly began losing power as black smoke poured from the engine nacelle and wing. Despite a severely damaged aircraft, Cheli selflessly refused to relinquish leadership of the formation, and continuing his attack across the target, strafing and dispersing his load of parafrag bombs as he went. Only when the attack run was well…

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Eye Witness Account – Magic on the Burma Railroad

‘One day, the Japanese camp commandant said he had generals coming to visit and that he wanted me to do some magic. He asked what I would need for a trick. I requested an egg. He wrote out a chitty and told me to take it to the cook house. The cook asked me how many I wanted, so I asked for 50. I went straight back to the hut and we had a 49-egg omelette, saving just one for the trick.

Egg-shaped: Fergus Anckorn with the secret of his success

Gus Anckorn 7.egg-trick today

Gus Anckorn
7.egg-trick today

After the war, as a lecturer in subjects including English and economics at West Kent College, Fergus often pepped up his lessons with anecdotes about his extraordinary wartime survival. Now 92, he has decided to record everything in a new book, Captivity, Slavery And Survival As A Far East POW.

‘At the prison camp that night I did the trick for the generals and it all went very well,’ he says.

‘But the next day I was summoned to the commandant’s hut. He was glowering. The chitty was on his desk. He said, ‘You do magic one egg. Where 49 eggs?’ I thought, in ten seconds my head will be rolling across that floor.

‘Out of my mouth came the words, ‘Your trick was so important to me, I was rehearsing all day.’ He nodded and let me go. I couldn’t perform that trick again for 40 years. My knees would knock together even thinking about it.’

FERGUS ANCKORN. With the nurse he married.

FERGUS ANCKORN.
With Lucille, the nurse he married.

 

The Japanese wanted to know how the trick was done, so Fergus showed the commandant how he made a hole in the back of a second eggshell into which he dextrously stuffed the handkerchief. The hollow egg is switched for an intact egg, which is cracked on a bowl, and out plops – not a handkerchief – but yolk and albumen.

Fergus and his twin sister were born in Dunton Green, Kent, in December 1918. Fergus’s father, Wilfred, a writer on The Hotspur, and his mother, Beatrice, instilled in him the moral code of decency, honesty and kindness that helped him survive the war.

On Fergus’s fifth birthday his father gave him a box of magic tricks and he became hooked on the expressions of amazement his family would feign at his childish conjuring. But as Fergus practised, this wonder became genuine and, at the age of 18, he was admitted to the Magic Circle.  ‘For about five years I was the youngest member and now I am the oldest,’ says Fergus. ‘I have joined the Inner Circle of 150 members.’ 

When war was declared in 1939, Fergus joined the Army.

He served in the 118th Field Regiment Royal Artillery and spent the first two years in Britain, preparing to fight a Nazi invasion.  While stationed in Woolwich, South-East London, he contracted pharyngitis and met the love of his life, a pretty, bespectacled nurse called Lucille.

‘I was lying in a ward for two months,’ he recalls. ‘One day, the fellow in the next bed asked if I was engaged. I said, “Good God, no. I haven’t got time for women.” And then Lucille walked into the ward. I quickly added that if I ever did get married, it would be to her.  ‘Lucille and I hit it off straight away. I used to go and talk to her when she was in the sluice cleaning out the bedpans – very romantic.’ 

After the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Fergus found himself heading to the Far East instead. Just before they departed, the colonel of Fergus’s regiment gave him the then huge sum of £30 to buy magic props, declaring: ‘You’re the only man we’ve got to entertain the troops.’

POWs working on the Thailand/Burma Railroad.

POWs working on the Thailand/Burma Railroad.

 

But on arrival, it was the enemy who were full of surprises. ‘We arrived in Singapore 15 days before it fell,’ says Fergus. ‘My war lasted five days.’  On Friday, February 13, 1942, Gunner Anckorn was driving an armoured lorry just outside Singapore when 27 Japanese bombers swooped out of the sky. ‘There were so many of them, there was no escape,’ he says.

By the time the bombing stopped Fergus had taken a severe blow to the head, his right hand was hanging off and he had a bullet in the back of his left knee. He was found in a ditch and taken to a field hospital, where a surgeon told Fergus his damaged hand would have to be amputated. 

Luckily, when an orderly came round to administer ether he recognized Fergus and cried: ‘You can’t cut his hand off, Sir, he’s our conjuror and a bloody brilliant one, too!’

The next day Fergus woke up in the Alexandra Military Hospital to find he still had his hand but that the hospital had been taken over by the Japanese, who were taking away the staff and shooting them.

From the Daily Mail. co. uk

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Military Humor –

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Well, I didn’t read it myself, but my mate knows a bloke who got a mate that’s a mess orderly and he knows a bloke on P party who says…….

 

 

buck.jpg from Muscleheaded

Courtesy of Chris, from Muscleheaded.wordpress.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Charlie Aldridge – Olive Branch, MS; US Army Air Corps, WWII, CBI

Asia-Pacific Campaign Medal

Asia-Pacific Campaign Medal

Stanley Atkins – Fort Lee, NJ; US Army, WWII, Africa & CBI, Bronze Star

William Baldwin – Stroudsburg, PA; US Navy, WWII,PTO, USS Batfish & Bass

Angelo DeRosa – Toms River, NJ; US Army Air Corps, WWII, CBI

Mary Dunne – Milford, CT; US Army WAC Nurse Corps, WWII, CBI, 159th Sta. Hosp & 181st Gen. Hosp.

Earl Hayes – San Jose, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, CBI, P-47 pilot

William Kast – San Francisco, CA; US Navy, WWII, PTO, gunnery officer

Duane Oberlin – Ft. Wayne, IN; US Army, WWII, CBI

Donald Peck – Tampa, FL; US Army, WWII, CBI, Bronze Star

Peter Zaharko Sr. – Brooklyn, NY & Delray Bch, FL; US Army Air Corps, WWII, CBI, 68th Air Service Group, Sgt. Major

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Former U.S. POWs Visit Japan

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On 12 October 2015, 9 US former prisoners of war returned to Japan for a Memorial Service – 

View their 2 minute video Here!

YOKOHAMA, Japan — Nine former American servicemen who were held as prisoners during World War II were in Japan on Monday to revisit some of the places where they were held seven decades ago and recount their memories.

The men, all in their 90s, opened their tour with a memorial service for their fellow fallen soldiers at the Commonwealth War Graves in Yokohama, near Tokyo.

As they marked the 70th anniversary of the end of the war, the emphasis was on reconciliation.

George Rogers, of Lynchburg, Va., said he had no hard feelings. Now 96, he was taken captive by the Japanese after surviving the infamous Bataan Death March in April 1942 and forced to work at the Yawata steel plant in southern Japan, or today’s Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp.

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During his nearly 3 1/2 years of captivity, Rogers was given meager food rations and sometimes beaten.

He said that he was lucky to survive, but that he harbored “no hard feelings” toward his captors.

“Just like we do what we’re told to do as far as the Army is concerned, your (Japanese) men do the same thing. They tell them to do it, they do it,” he said. “Other than that, I think we lived.”

A month after Japan’s Aug. 15, 1945, surrender, Rogers returned to the U.S. in skin-and-bone state, weighing only 85 pounds (38 kilograms) despite being 6-foot-3. His doctor told him — he was 26 then — that he would most likely not live past 45 or 50, keep his teeth or have children.

Rogers still has his teeth, and has five children. One of them, Jeffrey, accompanied him on his trip to Japan.

“They didn’t give me any food, and I didn’t get much water when I needed it, but other than that, it was a long trip, very far,” he said.

His hope to revisit the steel plant wasn’t accommodated. The Yawata plant was chosen as a World Heritage site.

William Chittenden, Carl Dyer & Joseph Demott. 3 of the 9 former Pow's at the Commonwealth War Graves, 12 Oct. 2015

William Chittenden, Carl Dyer & Joseph Demott. 3 of the 9 former Pow’s at the Commonwealth War Graves, 12 Oct. 2015

During the Bataan march, thousands of prisoners were forced to walk more than 60 miles under severe, sweltering conditions while being abused by their captors. Many died.

Historians say some 30,000 Allied force members were held as prisoners in Japan during World War II.

At Monday’s memorial service, the nine veterans, assisted by their family members and U.S. servicemembers, laid flowers for their fellow countrymen who perished while in captivity.

The participants, visiting Japan at the invitation of the Foreign Ministry under a program for reconciliation that started five years ago, are scheduled to visit some former camp sites, including Osaka, Yokohama and Kamioka, central Japan.

Japan has similar programs with Australia and Britain. Many former POWs still harbor hard feelings because of harsh treatment by the Japanese.

It took 94-year old Arthur Gruenberg, from Camano Island, Wash., 70 years to come back. The former Marine surrendered at Corregidor, Philippines, in May 1942, and was eventually shipped to a Fukuoka mine in southern Japan. By then he was blind in one eye due to vitamin A deficiency.

Gruenberg said he was simply impressed by Japan’s postwar development and hoped it remains a peace-loving nation.

“Everything is just amazing, it’s unbelievable,” he said. “I can’t say it (my feelings) has changed much, I just hope we don’t have any more wars.”

Article from “Stars and Stripes.”

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Military Humor – 

SadSack37

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Farewell Salutes – 

Alan Brecht – Canberra, AUS; RA Navy, Commodore

Thomas Campbell – Beaumont, TX; US Navy, WWII, PTO

Don Edwards – San Jose, CA; US Navy, WWII228685_214560631902034_100000442955388_742352_2701778_n

Quin Johnson-Harris – Milwaukee, WI; US Air Force, Afghanistan

Robert McCombe – Whangamata, NZ; RNZ Army # 056196, WWII, Hawkes Bay Regiment

Sam Ozaki – Chicago, IL; US Army, WWII, ETO, 442nd RCT

Charles Ragland – Bethesda, MD; US Army Lt., Vietnam, Siver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart

Josephine Stetson – NYC, NY; US Army civilian employee & USO, WWII

Steve Theobald – Goose Creek, SC; US Army, Iraq, SSgt.

Marvin Voltech – Des Moines, IA; US Army, WWII, PTO

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National POW/MIA Recognition Day (2)

NEVER FORGET!

Pacific Paratrooper

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FOR ALL THOSE WHO BORE THE TRIALS – PAST AND PRESENT – MAY THEY ALWAYS COME HOME!

To view last years POW/MIA Day post click HERE

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POW/MIA

by: Abe Jones

For as long as we have Wars
And we send our Young to fight
We’ll have Those who are Missing
And the P.O.W.’s plight.
 
All People of this Nation
Have this Duty to fulfill,
We must keep Them in our thoughts
And, We must have the Will
 
To bring every One home
And those POW/MIAs
And leave NO Souls behind.
 

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Farewell Salutes – 

Pamela Brement – Tucson, AZ; civilian internee, WWII, Philippinespowmia

John Gulberanson – Roveville, MN; US navy, WWII, POW Santo Tomas, Philippines; Korea

Richard Klema – Wilson, KS & Morro Bay, CA; US Army, WWII, ETO, POW

Buel Knight – Tuscaloosa, AL; US Army, ETO, POW / USMC, Korea, Vietnam

Bruno Lombardi…

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Featherston, NZ – POW Camp

Featherston, NZ

Featherston, NZ

During WWI, Featherston was the largest military training camp in New Zealand, housing 7500 men.  It was dismantled after the war ended.  In September 1942, the US requested that it be re-opened as a prisoner of war camp for the captured Japanese troops of Guadalcanal.

Approximately 900 Japanese and Korean men were housed in the camp with the senior Japanese officer being Lt. S. Kamikubo of the Imperial Japanese Navy.  The prisoners consisted of Koreans and labor units who had worked on Henderson Field and about 250 Japanese, at the time of the POW uprising.  Lt.Colonel D.H. Donaldson was the camp’s commandant.

The Japanese prisoners were from the army, navy and air force with the majority of them from the cruiser IJN Furutaka, which was sunk during the Battle of Cape Esperance.  The remaining 19 men were the extent of the surviving crew from the destroyer, Akatsuki.  It was this group that refused to assist in the work parties and staged a sit-in on 22 February 1943.

Japanese POWs

Japanese POWs

A guard fired a warning shot, which appeared to have injured Lt. Adachi Toshio.  This led to an apparent charge by 250 rock-throwing prisoners.  The guards opened fire with rifles and sub-machine-guns.  Forty-eight POWs and one New Zealand guard were killed.

An official inquiry cleared the guards of wrongdoing by judging that they acted in self-defense. It blamed the incident on cultural differences worsened by a language barrier.  Among the issues was the Japanese being unaware that under the 1929 Geneva Convention, compulsory work by the prisoners was allowed.  The Japanese government rejected the court’s findings.

Pvt. Walter Pevin, NZ POW guard

Pvt. Walter Pevin, NZ POW guard

In September 1945, the prisoners told a neutral inspector that they were concerned about repatriation as honorable citizens; provisions would be necessary or they should be given asylum on a Pacific island.  They feared a mass suicide might result otherwise.  The POWs also worried about the treatment in New Zealand when news of the conditions in the Japanese POW camps holding their men was released.

Examiner (Launceston, Tasmania) 3 March 1943

Examiner (Launceston, Tasmania) 3 March 1943

The prisoners were transported in two trains from Featherston to Wellington and embarked on 30 December upon two large American tank landing vessels, LST 273 and LST 275, under Lt.Comdr, R.P. Rudolph, for Japan.

The Featherston uprising would inadvertently be one of the reasons for the Cowra POW camp incident in August 1944, to be posted later in this series.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor – everyone’s favorite soldier….

SadSack36

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Farewell Salutes – 

Brian Arsenault -Northborough, MA; US Army, Afghanistan, 82nd A/B

Eric Bradshaw – Wandoan, AUS; RA Air Force # 124491

Wayne Dyer – Detroit, MI; US Navy 21_gun_salute

Harold Greene – Schenectady, NY; US Army, Afghanistan, Major

Dean Jones – Decatur, IL; US Navy, Korea (beloved actor)

Jerome LaVatch – Rutland, VT; US Navy, WWII

Brian Maples – Auckland, NZ; RNZ Army # 207340, Canterbury Regiment

Robert Oliphant – Bryant, AR; US Army, WWII, WTO, 8th Infantry Division

Billy Stevens – Bullhead City, AZ; UA Army (Ret. 26 years), Korea, Vietnam, Sgt. Major

Edward VanNordheim – Licoln, NE; US Army, WWII, PTO, Bronze Star

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Nashville: About 400 letters found in cereal box tell story of WWII German POWs in Tenn.

STORIES TO REMEMBER….

Letters found in cereal box tell story of WWII POWs in Tenn.

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About 400 letters, stuffed inside an old Corn Flakes box, recall the experiences of some of the tens of thousands of prisoners of war who were sent to Tennessee during World War II.

In the late 1980s, Curtis Peters’ sister-in-law in Lawrenceburg found the letters — all from German men who were held at a prison camp near Tennessee’s southern border. The local history buff instantly recognized their significance.

After returning to Germany, the former soldiers wrote back to people they met as POWs with striking affection, sometimes referring to the Tennesseans as “Uncle and Aunt.”

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