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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…

View original post 58 more words

Fepows

F Force enroute to the Burma Railroad, by Otto Kreeft

F Force enroute to the Burma Railroad, by Otto Kreeft

Fepows – Far Eastern POWs

Countless films and books concerned with the Second World War have, through the decades, concentrated on Europe and the Holocaust and the Far East prisoners of war have barely been mentioned.  The official 5 volumes of British history for this war include only 10 pages devoted to the subject, compared to the Australian history with 170 pages.

sketch by Jack Chalker, Fepow;British Army, Konyu, Thailand

sketch by Jack Chalker, Fepow;British Army, Konyu, Thailand

Japan’s army conquered the Far East in 1941-42.  Prisoners were taken from Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaya, Thailand, Java, Sumatra, Ambon, New Britain, Celebes, Guam and the Philippines.  According to the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal, Japan took more than 50,000 British and Australian troops in Singapore alone; 42,000 Dutch (N.E.I.); 10,000 British in Java and 25,000 Americans in the Philippines and then transported to the mainland camps.

The Japanese government made its position known in 1942, through its legation in Bern, Germany.  They felt they were not bound by the Geneva Convention, but it would apply the rules as far as it was possible – mutatis mutandis (with necessary changes).  By Japanese standards, the men who were captured had shamed themselves; they were contemptible, expendable and “white.”  But, the Japanese treated their own soldiers as badly as the prisoners.  Although most every rule of the Geneva Convention was broken, not every huard was cruel and not every camp a hell-hole.

Australians, rice in the rain, by Ray Parkin, Fepow, Australian Army.

Australians, rice in the rain, by Ray Parkin, Fepow, Australian Army.

Generally, the prisoners conformed to national stereotypes.  The British tried to preserve the class system, with the officers maintaining their privileges.  The Australians were generous to their “cobbers,” but where also considered the most skillful at robbing or tricking the Japanese.  The Americans were the most entrepreneurial, but some of their rackets were worthy of the Mafia.

The Americans offended the Australians because of their ignorance about other countries and an unsubstantiated superiority complex and they made insulting remarks about the menial status as a pawn of Britain.  The Americans in turn found the Australians smug, opinionated and inexplicably fond of monarchy and pageantry.  Both saw the British as arrogant, stiff-necked, inflexible and acting superior.

40 km south of Thanbyuzayat, Burma (Hidden POW camera)

40 km south of Thanbyuzayat, Burma
(Hidden POW camera)

For most Britons, the war ended on VE Day in 1945 – the soldiers still fighting in Burma became the “forgotten army.”  That made the Fepows not only forgotten, but forsaken.  It would take them more than 50 years to receive any proper compensation from the British government.

Catholic Church at Chungkai, by Jack Chalker

Catholic Church at Chungkai, by Jack Chalker

According to Ronald Searle, former Fepow, “When the memories  have vanished, their story will be a mere milestone in history.  All the personal misery and suffering that captivity entailed will become simply words on a page.  The Fepows have been described as members of the world’s ‘most exclusive and impenetrable’ club… Something that is difficult to explain to those unfortunates who are outside our “club”, who have never experienced what it means to be dirt and yet privileged to be surrounded by life-saving comradeship.”

rice arrives, hidden camera, George Aspinall, Australian Army

rice arrives, hidden camera, George Aspinall, Australian Army

Resource: “Surviving the Sword: Prisoners of the Japanese in the Far East 1942-45″ by Brian MacArthur, Random House, 2005

Being as most of the POWs of the Pacific and CBI were in captivity until 1945, further accounts will appear throughout this series.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Fepow Humour – 

Dammit Freddie - you know perfectly well that Saturday night is formal!

Dammit Freddie – you know perfectly well that Saturday night is formal!

"Can I scrape out the porridge bins cookie - it's me birthday today." -( George Sprod - bamboo round my shoulder)

“Can I scrape out the porridge bins cookie – it’s me birthday today.” -( George Sprod – bamboo round my shoulder)

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Farewell Salutes – 

Roy Achilles – St. Paul, MN; US Navy, WWII

William Crump – Auckland, NZ; RNZ Army # 273977Flag at half staff with sunset

Richard Discher – Ft. Pierce, FL; US Army, Korea

Bernice Duncan – Shawnigan Lake, CAN; Canadian Women’s Army Corps, WWII

Elmer Hall Jr. – Metairie, LA; US Navy, WWII, PTO

Andrew Harper – El Dorado, IN; USMC, WWII, US Navy, Korea

Richard Kincade – Divide, CO; US Navy, Cmdr. (Ret. 25 years), Vietnam, USS Princeton & Midway

Will O’Donnell – Hawke’s Bay, NZ; RNZ Army, WWII

Bill Romano – Chicago, IL; US Army, Korea

Curtis Williams – Oberlin, KS; US Air Force, Korea, radar

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National POW/MIA Recognition Day (2)

standard1

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

index.1

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.
 

#####################################################################################################

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 – San Francisco, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO, 91st Bomb Group, Purple Heart, POW

Robert Miller – Owosso, Mich; US Army, WWII, ETO, POW

Danile Segrete – Northport, NY; US Army Air Corps, WWII, POW

Harry Shevchuck – Wilmington, DE; US Army, WWII, ETO, POW

John Swett – Chicago, IL; US Army, WWII, ETO, POW

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Operation Big Switch

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Article 111 of the Korean Armistice Agreement laid the ground work for the exchange of prisoners that started 5 August 1953.  Phase One would transfer  the prisoners who chose repatriation to the neutral area around Panmunjom and be supervised by three representatives from both sides.

Phase Two was for those that refused repatriation.  Red Cross teams went to the camps to be certain the POW’s choices were voluntary.  Officer teams from Sweden, Switzerland, Poland and Czechoslovakia directed the activities; 3,000 Indians troops were sent to arrange the required interviews.

Arriving at the Gate of Freedom

Arriving at the Gate to Freedom

All during this difficult process, continuous little battles were being fought behind the wire and there were constant threats to the interrogators and their families.  By 31 December 1953, only 5,000 prisoners had been screened out of 22,604.

The United Nations returned 75,823 to North Korea and 22,604 were turned over to the NNRC (Neutral Natural Reparations Commission, overseen by India.)

The Communists returned 12,773 to the United Nations and 359 to the NNRC.

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The UN General Assembly expressed , by Resolution 712, it’s “profound satisfaction that fighting has now ceased in Korea on the basis of an honorable armistice.”  The UNCURK (The United Nations Commission for the Unification of Korea) was disbanded in 1977.

The Signing

The Signing

Syngman Rhee was more and likely retained as president of South Korea due to the war’s onset.  The invasion of North Korea had failed the plans of an internal revolt to dispose of the leader.  A similar uprising in 1960 did however succeed in overthrowing Rhee.

To quote “America At War: The Korean War” by Maurice Isserman; published by Facts On File, Inc.:   ….and it was Ridgeway, who would warn prophetically in the spring of 1954,  against American military involvement in Vietnam.

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Farewell Salutes – 

James Adair, Jr. – Chandler, AZ; US Army 161st Infantry, SSgt., WWII PTO, 2 Bronze Stars

Cameron S. Baird – Burnei, Tasmania; Cpl./4th Battalion/2nd Commando Unit/RAR, Afghanistan, Victoria Cross

John M. Copoulos – Westminster, AR; US Army, WWII

Victoria Cross for Valor

Victoria Cross for Valor

James Daniel, Jr. – Coral Hills, MD; US Army, Korea

Alexander (Ted) Edward – Christchurch, NZ; EX2nd Division, RNZEF # 111589

Francis Gerow – Springfield, VA; US Navy, Captain (Ret.)

Herbert Swing – Highland Creek, Canada; RC Engineers, WWII

William Was – Santa Ana, CA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, ETO

Henry Wronka – Sun City, AZ; US Air Force, Korea

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