to perpetuate the memory and history of our dead

28.3 E Battery

The men of E Battery and those few others who were ‘attached’ (like civilians Buchanan & Hicks as well as 7 AAF members who were hospitalized in Surabaja; denoted below as E Batt/) lagged behind the rest of the TXNG. Following their capture, they were held for many months on the eastern end of the island. Eventually they were consolidated to the Bicycle camp, weeks after the other groups had departed.

E Battery at Camp Bowie in 1941

This group was seemingly divided into at least three sections. The largest group surrendered themselves at Surabaja to the IJA invasion force that had landed in the north-central portion of the island; separate from that in the western portion. So throughout there captivity they were administered separately. They were moved from place to place across the island until they eventually reached the Bicycle camp on 18 JUN, weeks after the other 2/131 groups had departed.

The Battery Commander, CPT Dodson, led a group of a dozen or so men who tried to evade captivity. They remained free the longest. They had boarded a small boat at Surabaja. However, upon reaching the entrance to the harbor they found it blockaded by IJN ships. So they landed on the far eastern tip of Madura Island. We do not have any details of how they survived except that they were eventually captured with a number of KNIL soldiers. They, too, were moved slowly westward and did not reach the Bicycle camp until OCT 15th.

The last group to consolidate at Bicycle was that from the Surabaja hospital. They entered Bicycle at the end of OCT 42, led by AAF MAJ Horrigan. Army PVT Abileno HERNANDEZ is recorded as having died of TB while still in Surabaja — although his recorded date of death as 3 FEB 1943 suggests that he most likely died at the Bicycle camp.

The majority were eventually transferred to various camps in Japan. They, too, transited through Singapore. There they made contact with the Tharp Group who had yet to leave for Burma. However, they were never re-integrated with their fellow Guardsmen.

Even though they had been consolidated at Bicycle camp, their journey to their eventual places of work took many paths. Most of the E Battery and AAF officers were separated and eventually transferred to Manchuria. The bulk of the men transited Singapore before going to Japan on the Hellship Kamakura. But 12 of them were left behind at Singapore; 8 of those eventually worked the TBR at Hintok; one of whom (PVT Thomas) died there and another (PVT Staver) died of cancer upon his return to Singapore. Four others who were left at Singapore stayed there for the remainder of their captivity.

Listed below is the Camp at time of liberation for those assigned or attached to E Battery.

38025683WUEST Raymond AlexSGTE Batt EJpFuk-02-Nagasaki (Kawanami)
20813305WOODALL Munroe Dane     “Tex”PVTE Batt EJpFuk-03-Yawata
38026150Garcia Calixto CPVTE Batt EJpFuk-04B-Moji (YMCA)
20813621SHARP Henry ThorntonCPLE Batt EJpFuk-04B-Moji (YMCA)
38036501WOODALL Carol Kenneth “Corky”PVTE Batt EJpFuk-04B-Moji (YMCA)
20813999ADAMS Earl DewittCPLE Batt EJpFuk-06B-Mizumaki (Orio)
38026155ALEMAN Juan CruzCPLE Batt EJpFuk-06B-Mizumaki (Orio)
36105759CAMPBELL John PaulPVTE Batt EJpFuk-06B-Mizumaki (Orio)
20813981CHOATE Rufus Raymond  “Rosy”SGTE Batt EJpFuk-06B-Mizumaki (Orio)
36009915CIEPLINSKI FRANK PPVTE Batt EJpFuk-06B-Mizumaki (Orio)
38038658CLEMENTS Carl CliftonCPLE Batt EJpFuk-06B-Mizumaki (Orio)
20814005COOK Robert GouldCPLE Batt EJpFuk-06B-Mizumaki (Orio)
38027530CUELLAR Francisco P  (Cardenas)CPLE Batt EJpFuk-06B-Mizumaki (Orio)
20813306CUMBERLEDGE Allen BradfordSSGE Batt EJpFuk-06B-Mizumaki (Orio)
20814008DAVIS John Shelby JrSSGE Batt EJpFuk-06B-Mizumaki (Orio)
20815352DONAHO Eddie LeonCPLE Batt EJpFuk-06B-Mizumaki (Orio)
20813590DRAKE Teddy NormanCPLE Batt EJpFuk-06B-Mizumaki (Orio)
35163018EATON Clarence Josiah           “O J”SGTE Batt EJpFuk-06B-Mizumaki (Orio)
20814010EVANS PETER AlfredCPLE Batt EJpFuk-06B-Mizumaki (Orio)
20814011FARMER Walter LewisCPLE Batt EJpFuk-06B-Mizumaki (Orio)
38050623FARRAR James Woodrow    “Jimmie”CPLE Batt EJpFuk-06B-Mizumaki (Orio)
38038634FENDER Joe GrahamSSGE Batt EJpFuk-06B-Mizumaki (Orio)
20814414GARLAND Huron Archibald “Hugh” JrCPLE Batt EJpFuk-06B-Mizumaki (Orio)
20814013GILBRETH Troy ComerMSGE Batt EJpFuk-06B-Mizumaki (Orio)
20813962GILLIAM Farris Foster1SGE Batt EJpFuk-06B-Mizumaki (Orio)
20814141GILMORE James WilliamPVTE Batt EJpFuk-06B-Mizumaki (Orio)
33070973GONOS GeorgeCPLE Batt EJpFuk-06B-Mizumaki (Orio)
38036285GOSLER Paschal CMSGE Batt EJpFuk-06B-Mizumaki (Orio)
20814014HANKS Horace Eugene “Trader Horn”CPLE Batt EJpFuk-06B-Mizumaki (Orio)
20816790HARGETT Leo (nmi)CPLE Batt EJpFuk-06B-Mizumaki (Orio)
20813452HINTON Roy (nmi)CPLE Batt EJpFuk-06B-Mizumaki (Orio)
20814019HOLDER Harold LeonCPLE Batt EJpFuk-06B-Mizumaki (Orio)
20813465LYNN George WCPLE Batt EJpFuk-06B-Mizumaki (Orio)
38027507MARTIN Arnold WilliamCPLE Batt EJpFuk-06B-Mizumaki (Orio)
39077567MENDOZA Joaquin PegueroPVTE Batt EJpFuk-06B-Mizumaki (Orio)
20814033MINSHEW Cecil TrumanCPLE Batt EJpFuk-06B-Mizumaki (Orio)
20814425MOSES Ronald NealPVTE Batt EJpFuk-06B-Mizumaki (Orio)
37081600MYGLAND Oris ChesterSGTE Batt EJpFuk-06B-Mizumaki (Orio)
35162305NORRIS LAWRENCE OCPLE Batt EJpFuk-06B-Mizumaki (Orio)
38025758ORTIZ Luz HernandezCPLE Batt EJpFuk-06B-Mizumaki (Orio)
20814037PLANT Howard BurnleySGTE Batt EJpFuk-06B-Mizumaki (Orio)
20813989POWERS Cecil FerrelSGTE Batt EJpFuk-06B-Mizumaki (Orio)
20814039PRESLAR Coy JasperSGTE Batt EJpFuk-06B-Mizumaki (Orio)
20813681RHINE THURMAN CharlesCPLE Batt EJpFuk-06B-Mizumaki (Orio)
20813477ROBERTSON Barton Warren   “BW”SSGE Batt EJpFuk-06B-Mizumaki (Orio)
20813990ROGERS Novle WickerSSGE Batt EJpFuk-06B-Mizumaki (Orio)
38026130ROSAS RODOLFO RCPLE Batt EJpFuk-06B-Mizumaki (Orio)
38025824SALINAS ALEJANDRO  (Alex)PVTE Batt EJpFuk-06B-Mizumaki (Orio)
20813619SAVELL Robert DeweyPVTE Batt EJpFuk-06B-Mizumaki (Orio)
38038656SHELTON Archie EdwardsCPLE Batt EJpFuk-06B-Mizumaki (Orio)
20813998SHELTON Clyde JasperCPLE Batt EJpFuk-06B-Mizumaki (Orio)
20814044SNELLING Marvin MorrisCPLE Batt EJpFuk-06B-Mizumaki (Orio)
20814045SPALDING Henry RogersSGTE Batt EJpFuk-06B-Mizumaki (Orio)
20813485STEIN Paul DanielCPLE Batt EJpFuk-06B-Mizumaki (Orio)
20814046STUBBS Robert LantzCPLE Batt EJpFuk-06B-Mizumaki (Orio)
20814049TUCKER Cletus LavernCPLE Batt EJpFuk-06B-Mizumaki (Orio)
20813488VISAGE William AugustusCPLE Batt EJpFuk-06B-Mizumaki (Orio)
38038910WATSON Thomas PaulCPLE Batt EJpFuk-06B-Mizumaki (Orio)
20814050WETSEL ArleeCPLE Batt EJpFuk-06B-Mizumaki (Orio)
20813494WHITE Roger Hammond JrSSGE Batt EJpFuk-06B-Mizumaki (Orio)
20812918WILLIAMS David AlSGTE Batt EJpFuk-06B-Mizumaki (Orio)
20814051WILLIAMS Orville Bob “OB”SSGE Batt EJpFuk-06B-Mizumaki (Orio)
20814054WINN Angrus NyalSGTE Batt EJpFuk-06B-Mizumaki (Orio)
38036322WOODS David ColemanCPLE Batt EJpFuk-06B-Mizumaki (Orio)
20812981WOODWARD Carl RayCPLE Batt EJpFuk-06B-Mizumaki (Orio)
20814057WOODY Thomas BlantonCPLE Batt EJpFuk-06B-Mizumaki (Orio)
20814058ZIMMERLE Milton   “Pete”CPLE Batt EJpFuk-06B-Mizumaki (Orio)
20815464MAYO Dayton GoodmanPVTE Batt EJpFuk-Hakoaki
20813132FUJITA Frank Kumaichi Jr   “Foo”SSGE Batt EJpOmori
38025830MARTINEZ Jimmie GuetteresCPLE Batt EJpOmori
38027522MARTINEZ Ramon PerezCPLE Batt EJpOmori
38050856KALICH Nolan Oscar FrederickCPLE Batt EJp-dcdFuk-02-Nagasaki (Kawanami)
20813982HELEMAN DonaldSGTE Batt EJp-dcdFuk-17-Omuta
(final US death)
O-397523ALLEN Hollis Glenn1LTE Batt EJp-MUKMukden Manchuria
O-360494SLONE William Reuben1LTE Batt EJp-MUKMukden Manchuria
O-412164STRAUGHAN Millett Andrew Jr1LTE Batt EJp-MUKMukden Manchuria
20814003CAMPBELL OdellPFCE Batt-Jv EJv-BCBicycle Camp
20813428CARTER Uell Maples “Banjo”PVTE Batt-Jv EJv-BCBicycle Camp
38037356COSTLOW Eldred LeonPVTE Batt-Jv EJv-BCBicycle Camp
38035659CROFT J. B.PVTE Batt-Jv EJv-BCBicycle Camp
20813458KILLIAN Jr, George BSGTE Batt-Jv EJv-BCBicycle Camp
20814029LOFLEY Cecil DukePFCE Batt-Jv EJv-BCBicycle Camp
20816786STARNADER Walter AllenPVTE Batt-Jv EJv-BCBicycle Camp
38038607HERNANDEZ Abileno (Abelonoa)PVTE Batt-Jv EJv-dcdSurabaja Java
38037058LAWSON THOMAS LafayettePVTE Batt-Jv EJv-dcd-seaen route (Tamahoko)
36203079McMAHON ROBERT WoodrowPVTE Batt-Jv EJv-dcd-seaen route (Tamahoko)
34054391WISMANN EDWARD JrPVTE Batt-Jv EJv-dcd-seaen route (Tamahoko)
20814086LUCAS Herbert AllenSSGE Batt-Jv EJv-JpFuk-06B-Mizumaki (Orio)
38051031VALADEZ Efram GonzalezCPLE Batt-Jv EJv-JpFuk-06B-Mizumaki (Orio)
20814020HOLDER Joe Neal Jr “Buck”CPLE Batt-Jv EJv-Jp-survFuk-05B-Omine
20812965PATTERSON John Thomas  “JT”CPLE Batt-Jv EJv-Jp-survFuk-05B-Omine
38050967PEREZ Frederick TristanCPLE Batt-Jv EJv-Jp-survFuk-05B-Omine
20813626TURNER Jack EudyCPLE Batt-Jv EJv-Jp-survFuk-05B-Omine
O-231656DODSON, Thomas ACPTE Batt-Jv EJv-MUKMukden Manchuria
37078250MORRISON Vere Eugene PVTE Batt-Sg E-SgChangi
35125626VAN CLEAVE Curtis LeePVTE Batt-Sg E-SgChangi
20813173BARKER CEPHUS EugenePVTE Sura-Jv26 /BKK E-Sg-(BKK)Changi
20814032MATTHEWS W. F.   “Hook”PFCE Sura-Jv26 /BKK E-Sg-(BKK)Changi
38050864MILLER Everett WilburPVTE Batt-Sg/H E-Sg-TBR/HChangi
20813720ROBINSON Ray Franklin  “Snooky”CPLE Batt-Sg/H E-Sg-TBR/HChangi
20814043SHIELDS Richard Elendor “Red”PVTE Batt-Sg/H E-Sg-TBR/HChangi
36105819THOMAS Billy (Wm Richard)PVTE Batt-Sg/H E-Sg-TBR/H0TH Th-Hintok ‘F & H’ Hospital Camp No 1
36204029STAVER Lavern Peter “Slick”PVTE Batt-Sg/H E-Sg-TBR/H1Changi
20813984KEITH Ben Clarence JrCPLE Batt-Sg/H E-Sg-TBR/H2Changi
20816758ROBINSON William James “Willie”PVTE Batt-Sg/H E-Sg-TBR/H2Changi
07031168MARTIN John DouglasSGTE Batt E/JpFuk-06B-Mizumaki (Orio)
39009694NODDIN Carl OkerCPLE Batt E/JpFuk-06B-Mizumaki (Orio)
06994072WARRENFELTZ Wyatt HauverTSGE Batt E/JpFuk-06B-Mizumaki (Orio)
19052345SCOTT, George WilliamPFCE Batt E/JpFuk-24B-Emukae (Senryu)
noneHICKS, David JCIVE Batt E/JpFukuoka POW Camp #1 – Kashii
3166805HOPKINS BENJAMIN Grover JRSM1cE Batt E/JpFukuoka POW Camp #1 – Kashii
3821779RAFALOVICH DANIEL SPIROSM1cE Batt E/JpFukuoka POW Camp #1 – Kashii
O-020678HORRIGAN William Kienle “Hoot”MAJE Batt E/Jp-MUKMukden Manchuria
O-413473MICHIE Robert Edward Lee      “Lee”2LTE Batt E/Jp-MUKMukden Manchuria
noneBUCHANAN, Gaylord Alexander ” Buck”CIVE-Sura-Jv E/Jv-BCBicycle Camp
O-404048GALLIENNE Winfred Hugh   “Bill”1LTE-Sura-Jv E/Jv-BCBicycle Camp
O-352477FERREY, James Paisley1LTE-Sura-Jv E/Jv-MUKMukden Manchuria

SGT DONALD HELEMAN was the final US POW death; dying of Beri-beri in Omuta just days before the end of the war (12 AUG 45).


However, 18 were left on Java when the majority departed. Late in the war, they were trans-shipped to Japan during which time 3 died at sea when the Tomahoku was sunk en route. Four men survived that sinking and served out their captivity in Japan.

Lest we forget that 8 men originally assigned to E Battery were left in Singapore and eventually worked the TBR as part of H-Force. Two died as result of that TBR time.

20814032MATTHEWS W. F.   “Hook”PFCE-Sg-(BKK)Changi Jail
38050864MILLER Everett WilburPVTE-Sg-TBR/HChangi Jail
20813720ROBINSON Ray Franklin  “Snooky”CPLE-Sg-TBR/HChangi Jail
20814043SHIELDS Richard Elendor “Red”PVTE-Sg-TBR/HChangi Jail
36204029STAVER Lavern Peter “Slick”PVTE-Sg-TBR/HChangi Jail
36105819THOMAS Billy (Wm Richard)PVTE-Sg-TBR/HTH Hintok ‘F & H’ Hospital Camp No 1
20813984KEITH Ben Clarence JrCPLE-Sg-TBR/HChangi Jail
20816758ROBINSON William James “Willie”PVTE-Sg-TBR/HChangi Jail

One man’s story remains particularly enigmatic. Even though he wrote a survivor account, it does not truly clarify his POW journey. In their defense, the family members who finally published his story, did so after his death using notes he left behind. So they had no opportunity to expand or clarify any aspects of his story. W.F. “Hook” MATTHEWS was originally a member of the E Battery group, but he was seemingly left behind on Java when the main body moved on to Japan. “Hook” tells his story differently. H Force traveled to Thailand by rail through Ban Pong; “Hook” claims to have arrived by ship into Bangkok. Exactly where he worked and what he did is not explained in his memoirs. Part of his very vague story matches the experience of those who worked at Hintok; other segments do not. I had originally included him in the H Force / Hintok US group for the lack of any data to suggest otherwise. One additional problem is that he is not included on the IJA roster of E Battery men who sailed from Java to Singapore in the fall of 1943. How and when he made his way north and onto the TBR remains unexplained. Did he, like Charles MOTT have a completely unique POW experience? One fact that seems to suggest his inclusion him in the H Force is that he was indeed returned to and liberated from Singapore. H Force is the only group that made such a round trip journey. But again, his name never seems to appear on any available rosters. His full story seems to have died with him and his notes failed to clarify his saga.

Thanks to my intrepid research companion, Marianne, we can clarify at least part of MATTHEWS’ POW journey. IJA rosters place him among 7 other US POWs still on Java in NOV 1944 — so he was definitely NOT part of the Hintok TBR group! Those 8 seem to have traveled to Singapore in JAN 1945 aboard the KINTA MARU in what is known as the JAVA 26 Party. In a 1995 interview by John Ferguson of Angelo State Univ, Matthews still contends that he was “sent to Bangkok by train and then a ship”. If he had gone by train, he’d have traveled to BanPong. No other POW relates a combination of train then ship. How and where he’d have been placed on a ship after the train is never explained. In all truthfulness, Matthew’s accounts must be read with the understanding that his concepts of geography and place names is often faulty. Nor is it even explained what he did as a POW “in Bangkok”. I personnally believe that his use of Bangkok simply denoted Thailand and that he traveled to BanPong by train — likely as late as 1945 = well after the TBR was completed. What happened after that is never clear. We do know that he was returned to Singapore after about six months and ws libertaed from there.

The final group to depart Singapore bound for the TBR was known as the “Medical Party” there arrived in FEB 44 to attend to the medical needs of the romusha. Since the JAVA 26 Grp did not arrive in Singapore until JAN 45, it is highly unlikely that Matthews and his fellow POWs were transported to Bangkok much less the TBR.

But there is STILL the question of when and where MATTHEWS may have gone after Singapore. Did he indeed have a totally unique POW journey? It seems that the 5 non-TXNG POWs either stayed on at Singapore or were transferred to Japan.

HIZA FRANKABseaAMER LDRAL-Jp-survFuk-06B-Mizumaki (Orio)
MOSS Arthur RWiperAMER LDRAL-SgChangi

HIZA survived the sinking of the Tamahoko Hellship en route to Japan. The other 3 AMERICAN LEADER Merchant Mariners and AAF Sgt SHIPLEY seem to have remained in Singapore and were liberated from there.

The other 2 TXNG POWs that are shown as being with MATTHEWS in what is known as Java Party 26 and seemingly rode the KINTA MARU to Singapore are (incorrectly?) listed in the official US Nat’l Archives as being liberated from Bicycle camp in Java. It is not unusual for the Archives to be wrong, which only complicates trying to tell the POW story fully and correctly.

20813173BARKER CEPHUS EugenePVTBicycle Camp
34083307ROBBINS Howard SamuelPVTBicycle Camp

Having said all of that, we still cannot document or verify MATTHEWS’ story of going to Bangkok or what he may have done there or that he only stayed about six months before being returned to Singapore. I have officially removed him from the Hintok Group list and I’ll leave him as an ‘outlier’. Hopefully, other records will come to light that can assist on filling in the gap we now have in his POW journey.

It seems that in MAR 42, he had been wounded during the E Battery defense of Surabaja and was in the local Dutch Hospital with a dozen of so other US military to include AAF 1Lt Ferrey who had been wounded during one of the air attacks on the Singosari airfield. 1Lt Ferrey is recorded a leading a group of POWs who arrived at the Bicycle camp in FEB 1943 –well after all the other US POWs, to include the rest of E Battery, had departed. Seemingly, BARKER and MATTHEWS were in this group. But that is all speculation. In effect, they had become completely detached from their US comrades. BARKER And MATTHEWS were both E Battery members, so it is possible that they traveled together. Unfortunately, we know little about BARKER’s journey or if it extended beyond Singapore. He is (seemingly erroneously) listed in the US Nat’l Archives as being liberated from Java when it is clear from the IJA roster that he was moved to Singapore in Jan 45. PVT ROBBINS was a member of HQ Battery and was seemingly left behind as all the other TXNG soldiers departed Java. Why he was then swept up it the KINTA MARU Java 26 Grp remains unexplained. Usually it was simply a matter that whatever reason they were left behind (often hospitalization) was no longer an issue and they were deemed fit to travel. Apparently, 1Lt Ferrey’s wounds had healed and he was eventually transferred to the Mukden Manchuria Camp.

28.3b Another E Battery journey

Fellow US POW researcher, Marianne LeButt, has dedicated much of her time to documenting the journey of the E Battery contingent of POWs. Since my work has concentrated on the TBR workers, I share here a narrative [1] that she provided to me concerning the POWs who were assigened to E Battery. Her list differs somewhat from mine because I have included the members of the 2/131 and other US personnel who were left behind with E Battery in Surabaja and therefore completed their POW journey as part of that group.

E Battery Soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, 131st Field Artillery

of the Texas National Guard, The Lost Battalion

This Narrative is regarding E Battery of the 2nd Battalion 131st Field Artillery of the Texas National Guard also known as “The Lost Battalion”, which consisted of 4 Officers and 95 enlisted men. The main focus is on the 61 men of E Battery who were in the Fukuoka 2b Nagasaki camp in Japan and were later liberated from the Fukuoka 6 POW camp in Mizumaki near Orio, Japan in September of 1945. At the end of this Narrative I have also included information about the other 34 enlisted soldiers of E Battery. 

     The four officers and 95 enlisted soldiers of E Battery landed in Java in JAN 1942. When the Japanese Imperial Army captured Java in March of 1942, all the soldiers of Battery E then became prisoners of war. They were in various POW camps in Java as they made their way across the island from Surabaja and Batavia. 71 enlisted men and 3 officers of E Battery were later sent to the Fukuoka 2b Nagasaki camp in Japan via Singapore in late 1942. Sixty-one of those 71 enlisted men were sent to the Fukuoka 2b Nagasaki Camp in Japan then moved to the Mizumaki Fukuoka camp 6 near Orio[1].

     In late October of 1942 these 61 men were among the 79 enlisted men of E Battery of the 2nd Battalion, 131st Field Artillery, and also 3 of their officers Lt. Hollis Allen, Lt. William R. Slone and Lt. Millett Straughan, who left Java for Japan via Singapore. E Battery’s Commander, Captain Thomas Dodson and 16 enlisted men did not leave with them. These 82 departed Batavia, Java in “Java Party 5g” that left Batavia on the Japanese freighter ship the Oyo Maru on 28 Oct 1942. William Visage of E Battery, in an oral history interview[2], related the following regarding what the men experienced on the four day voyage

    “We were all in the hold [of the ship]. Crowded – there wasn’t enough room to lay down. Your knees were jammed up against each other and laying on each other.” He also stated there was not enough food or water to drink and it was very hot.

     After arriving in Singapore, they spent about 4 weeks in the Changi POW Camp there. Eight of these men were sick and stayed in Changi. The other 71 and their 3 officers then departed Singapore for Japan on 28 Nov 1942 on the Japanese passenger ship the Kamakura Maru which arrived in Nagasaki, Japan on 7 Dec 1942. Then they were transported by ferry to the Fukuoka 2b Nagasaki camp on the island of Koyagi. During their stay at that camp, they all did forced labor in the shipyards. These 74 men spent over 2 years in this POW camp.

In April 1945, the three E Battery officers – Lt. Hollis Allen, Lt. William Slone and Lt. Millett Straughan were transferred out of the Fukuoka 2b Nagasaki camp on the island of Koyagi and then on to the Senior Officers’ POW Camp in Mukden, Manchuria from which they were liberated in 1945. Also liberated there was E Battery Commander CPT Thomas Dodson (who left Java about 1 year after the rest of E Battery men) and who was sent to the Mukden Manchuria Camp from a Formosa POW Camp[3].

   In June of 1945, about 2 months after their 3 officers of E Battery left Camp 2b for Manchuria, the enlisted men of E Battery were transferred from the Fukuoka 2b Nagasaki Koyagi camp to other POW Camps in Japan. Only 2 soldiers were not transferred: Nolan Kalich had died on 3 Dec 1943 and Raymond Wuest who remained there until liberation. 61 of the soldiers of E Battery were transferred to Fukuoka Camp 6 in Mizumaki and were liberated there in September 1945. The other 8 men were sent to other POW camps in Japan. 

    The 61 enlisted men of E Battery at the Fukuoka 2b Nagasaki camp on the Island of Koyagi, were put on a train in Nagasaki and traveled about 125 miles northeast to the Fukuoka POW Camp 9 in Mizumaki[4].

   Discipline at this camp was strict with limited food consisting of mostly rice, occasionally some fish and meat and vegetables in the summer months. The POWs became malnourished which caused them much physical discomfort while trying to expend energy each day working in the coal mines

   The Mizumaki POW camp consisted of 16 barracks, two hospital barracks, a mess room, a bath house and some storage buildings. Each 2-story barracks building housed about 68 men in 16 rooms. All were infested with lice and other bugs. They slept on straw mats on the floor.  Food was limited and some of the soldiers stated that they would pick weeds and grass to supplement their diets when the vegetables in a garden they were permitted to grow only in the summer months diminished.

    Australian soldier Francis O’Neill related the following in an Affidavit at the end of the war: “Our camp was situated about 2 miles from the town of Orio. There were steep hills immediately behind. In front was a river and then flatland covered with small peasant farms. About a quarter of a mile away was a coal mine. The mine railway line ran parallel to and only a few yards from the camp fence. The whole camp was surrounded by a wooden fence with wooden spikes on top and an electric wire across the top of the fence and there were sentry boxes at intervals.”

     British Lt. Derek Humber related the following in a report made at the end of the war regarding food the POWs were given in the camp:  “The basic ration of food was rice, bread and some beans. Also soup for the morning and evening meal which consisted of turnips boiled in water and once or twice a week a small amount of meat or fish for the midday meal. By 1945, the miners were receiving 420 grams of rice, 200 grams of bread, and 2 bowls of very thin soup [a day]. Workers not down in the mine received 400 grams of rice and 170 grams of bread and the same soup. Sick people received 300 grams of rice and 100 grams of bread. It was not surprising that the sick were so long in recovering. The diet was completely lacking in vitamins. The average weight loss of the men varied from 25% to 33%.” 

   The POWs at the Camp were forced to work long hours in and around the coal mine there. The conditions in the mines were very hazardous. The tunnels were not properly timbered and in certain parts there was not sufficient timber and in other areas the timber was rotten with decay. After blasting operations, no inspection was made to ensure the tunnels were safe before POWs were sent back to work. There were many injuries.  

    Paul Stein describes what it was like for the men of E Battery that worked inside the coal mine[5].  

    “I worked in a coal mine that was near the town of Orio. It was very dangerous. It was an old mine that had been worked for years and to get to the face of the mine where the coal was, we went down one level, then to the 2nd level then to the third level down which was a long way down. All down there was honeycombed long passageways. The Japanese would drill holes and they dynamited the face and loosened the coal. They had small rail cars and we would put the coal in these cars.  It was dangerous, there were cave ins because the wooden supports would fail. It was such an old mine that the wood was rotten and they would cave in. We had a lamp light on our headgear and it ran from a battery on our belts. We had quotas. We were down there so many hours and they blew air in down there. They had strings hanging down and you watched them and if a string did not move in the breeze it was because we weren’t getting enough air, the air was bad and we would start to move up. We worked 8 or 9 hours a day. We were really filthy coming out of the mine covered with coal dust.”

    Peter Evans also described what it was like in the mine in an oral interview[6]. “The coal mine was run on 3 shifts, day evening and night shifts. We wore a headgear, soft hats [not hard hats] with a miners light on it and a battery you wore on your belt that weighed about 2 pounds. Before going into the mine we had to take our hat off and bow at a Shinto shrine.  In the mine we were in groups of 10 each. The day shift started at 5 am. In the mine there were 3 layers, the bottom third level was about 1000 feet under ground. We were issued a rake and a devise that was made out of basket material in the form of a shovel which we would use to put the coal into the coal cars which were on tracks. The coal was loosened by drilling holes and filling them with dynamite. They would rush us back in there to get the coal and you would nearly die with a headache all the time because of the fumes from the nitroglycerin.”

      With the surrender of the Japanese Army on 15 August 1945, the United States military made plans for liberating POWs held in Japan. Because of Intelligence information that there was severe malnutrition of the POWs in the camps in Japan, the U.S. Army started conducting flights of parachute drops of needed supplies into the POW camps. Contained in these drops were much needed food, clothing and medical supplies. Their first operation however, was to identify where the POW Camps were. To compound the difficulty in identifying camps, the U.S. Army did not know the exact coordinates of some of the camps and also was unaware that in mid-August 1945, the Japanese had renumbered some of their POW Camps. B-29 bombers made numerous fly overs attempting to identify POW camps in Japan. They painted in large white letters under one wing of the bombers “PW SUPPLY MISSIONS” so the POWs could identify the planes. The POWs then saw those fly overs and would mark the top of the roofs of their barracks in big white paint “PW” and other markings so the U.S. bombers could spot where they were. The B-29 bombers first dropped numerous leaflets into the POW Camps giving instructions to the POWs to stay in their camps until the U.S. Army liberated them. Also leaflets telling them that food and supply drops would be made to them. Then the bombers made parachute drops of many bundles of food and supplies into the camps. When they did, the bombers took aerial “strike photos” of the Camp. 

    The U.S. Army “Tactical POW Supply Mission Report” 1945[7] states that U.S. B-29 bombers made two parachute drops of food and supplies into the camp the 61 soldiers of E Battery were in – the Mizumaki Fukuoka No. 6 POW Camp. These two Reports are:

    1.  “POW [Supply Mission] Report no 81. Date Flown: 7 Sep 1945. Camp name unknown. Camp is located approximately 2 miles west of briefed target POW camp No. 9, Fukuoka. Camp consists of approximately 28 barrack type buildings enclosed by a fence. Markings on their roofs are: “USN PW HOLLAND 1100 MEN.” 40 bundles were dropped.” 

    2.  “POW [Supply Mission] Report No 62.  [By a different U.S. bomber plane]. Date Flown: 8 Sep 1945. Fukuoka Camp 12, coordinates 3351N – 13041E. Camp located 2 miles from Orio between 2 hills and adjacent to a railroad and a river. Approximately 30 barrack type buildings. Signs on roofs read: “USN, PW, HOLLAND, 1100 MEN.” 

  Regarding the above two Reports, as mentioned above, the U.S. Army did not know exactly the location of where all the POW camps were and didn’t know about some of the camp number changes in August 1945 by the Japanese Army. Regarding the 1st report above – the Report stated they didn’t know the camp name number and didn’t put the coordinates but it appears they were looking for Fukuoka Camp 9 not knowing the Japanese three weeks prior had changed the number of the Mizumakicamp from Camp 9 to Camp 6. Comparing a 1945 aerial “strike photo” with a later 1949 aerial photo, that is in the Japanese Archives, of Mizumaki, Fukuoka confirms that this Report and strike photo are of POW Fukuoka Camp 6 in Mizumaki.

     Regarding the 2nd report above: the coordinates they gave are exactly the coordinates for Mizumaki where Fukuoka Camp 6 was located.   

     Regarding the markings the POWs painted on their barrack roofs for the bombers to see: “USN” means U.S. Navy and “PW” means Prisoners of War. The American U.S. Navy POWs (survivors of the sinking of the USS Perch and USS Pope ship) painted these letters on a barracks roof to indicate there were U.S. Navy men among the POWs there. It was the Dutch soldiers who painted “Holland 1100 men” on top of their barracks.

     On 14 September 1945, a U.S. Army “POW Recovery Team” entered the Fukuoka Camp 6 in Mizumaki. In the Camp they found 1,064 POWs including 117 British, 138 American and 761 Dutch soldiers. We can only imagine the emotional feeling the 61 men of E Battery felt on that day after enduring 3 and ½ years as a Prisoners of War. Armed Forces photographers took numerous photographs at the Fukuoka No. 6 Mizumaki Camp on the 14th and 15th of September 1945 when they entered the camp. These 23 photos give a good understanding of the POW Camp the 61 men of E Battery were liberated from. In one of these photos is Pvt. Carl Ray Woodward of E Battery and in two other photos is Sgt. Farris Gilliam of E battery.  Also, there is a group photo of the 138 Americans in the camp of which almost a half of them were the 61 men of E Battery. (Source USA National Archives, Washington, DC.) 

    Also at the USA National Archives, is a 16 Feb 1946 communication from the “General Headquarters, United States Army of the Pacific” which stated: “Transmittal of Fukuoka Camps name lists.” In this name list of POWs are all 61 men of E Battery.

     On the 17th of September, the powerful Makurazaki Typhoon with over 100 miles an hour winds moved across Okinawa and then the Island of Kyushu Japan where the Fukuoka 6 Mizumaki Camp was located. In an interview James Farrar described the powerful winds the men in the camp endured and said that the typhoon blew down several of the buildings in the camp including the mess hall. E Battery soldier Roger White in an oral interview[8] stated the following about Sept 17: “The night before we left [for Nagasaki] we had one of the worst typhoons Japan had ever seen and we thought, this is it boys, I don’t think we are going to make it. But we did”.

     On 18 September, the soldiers of E Battery and other POWs from the Mizumaki Fukuoka Camp 6, were put on a train by the U.S Army POW Recovery Team and traveled about 125 miles southwest to the Dejima Docks at the Nagasaki Harbor. As they approached Nagasaki, unaware that an atomic bomb had been dropped on Nagasaki on 9 August 1945, they were shocked at the devastation they saw.  Scorched barren landscapes in the distance outside of Nagasaki and no buildings standing when they traveled the outskirts of Nagasaki except for a few brick chimneys that were seen among the ashes in the distance. The Dejima Docks in the harbor of Nagasaki, where their train was headed for, sustained much blast damage to many buildings, not the total devastation of the city of Nagasaki which was north of the harbor.

     In the US National Archives in Washington DC is the following Report: From “The United States Pacific Fleet Commander of Cruiser Division Number 4. To: “Commander of the USA Fifth Fleet 18 September 1945. Subject and Enclosures: Lists of Prisoners of War and Civilians evacuated at Dejima Docks, Nagasaki, Kyushu on 18 Sep 1945.” On this 18 September list are the names of the E Battery men from the Fukuoka camp 6. The list gives their name, their service number, rank and their physical condition whether good, fair or unfit.

Another Report at the USA National Archives by the: “Commander of the Fifth Fleet, United States Pacific Fleet To: Chief of Naval Operations” Subject: “Commander of the Fifth Fleet Action Report, The Occupation of Japan 15 Aug to 8 Nov 1945.” In this report, the Commander discusses the U.S. Navy’s processing and evacuation by U.S. ships from Japan of the POWs brought to Nagasaki Harbor by U.S. Army Recovery Teams who had liberated them from POW Camps. He states regarding Nagasaki Harbor: “The release of the Prisoners, the medical examinations, delousing, processing and screening has all been conducted in a remarkably smooth and efficient manner by 22 Sep 1945. Photos Attached.” The “photos” that the Commander said were attached to his Report were taken at Nagasaki Harbor by U.S. Navy photographers of all the phases of processing including captions under each photo describing the photos. Viewing these photos gives insight into what the soldiers of E Battery from the Fukuoka 6 experienced when they were brought by the U.S. Army Recovery Team to the Dejima Docks at Nagasaki Harbor. 

When the POWs arrived by train from their POW Camps, they were greeted by U.S. Navy personnel and a U.S. Navy band playing songs popular in the 1940’s: “Hail, Hail the Gangs All Here, California Here I Come, Piccadilly and other era favorites that brought tears of joy to the faces of the Prisoners.” The POWs were then given coffee and donuts by the Red Cross, showered and were sprayed with DDT. They received a medical examination by Navy Doctors, and if, in fair or good condition, proceeded to the clothing line where they were issued all new clothing and uniforms. Then they were given a Red Cross sack full of personal necessity items. After they completed the process, they were taken to the Dejima docks and were transported by smaller Navy boats, LCVP, (landing crafts), out to U.S. Navy ships in the Harbor to leave Japan.

     Roy Hinton was found himself on the hospital ship the USS Haven. Only a very small number of them were put on the destroyer, the USS Wadsworth and a couple were among the 11 American Army and Navy men who went to the cruiser the USS Biloxi.  The vast majority of them were put onto the aircraft carrier the USS Lunga Point which sailed for Okinawa arriving there on the 21st. The USS Wadsworth and USS Biloxi loaded the POWs on the 18th and sailed for Okinawa the same day and arrived there on 20 September 1945.

     In their respective oral interviews, the following E Battery men stated the following:

   — William Visage:  He stated he was put aboard a ship and that the others were on what he called a LST[9]. Visage was referring to the Lunga Point]. 

   — Roger White: “Then our group was put on an aircraft carrier, the Lunga Point, she was a beauty to us. What they had done, they had taken all their airplanes and put them down on the third deck below and on the second deck below, where the airplanes normally stayed, they had put cots. That is where we slept. The galley was down at one end and they told us we could have anything we wanted to eat.” In Okinawa, “We never got to land. They just took us by ferry to this troop carrier [Note: it was the USS Haskall]. Then they took us to Manila.”

   — Peter Evans: Regarding leaving on a ship from Nagasaki to Okinawa:  “We were taken aboard one of those little aircraft carriers [Lunga Point]. We were taken to a harbor, Buckner Bay… At Buckner Bay we were transferred to another ship the USS Haskall.” 

   — Cecil Minshew: At Nagasaki harbor – “At the harbor they put us on ships. They put me on USS Wadsworth.

   — Rufus Choate – In a letter Rufus wrote to the daughter of E Battery soldier Archie Shelton on 29 Sep 2003, Rufus Choate wrote: “We left the coal mine camp by train which took us back to Nagasaki where US navy ships were docked. As we left the train at Nagasaki, the first of us off the train at the head of the line were sent to a destroyer [note: that was the USS Wadsworth]… The next in line were sent to an aircraft carrier [note: that was the Lunga Point]. My group went to Okinawa and then by aircraft to the Philippine Islands where we stayed two weeks before boarding a troop ship for home. The group on the aircraft carrier went to the Philippines Islands by sea and were about two weeks behind us.”

      In regards to the vast majority of E Battery men from the Mizumaki camp who were transported from Nagasaki to Okinawa on the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier the USS Lunga Point the following describes their experience: 

     According to a book about the USS Lunga Point during WW II written by Lt. Linton Smith, aide to the Executive Officer on the Lunga Point, printed in 1946 under the authority of Captain Washburn Commander of the USS Lunga Point, Lt. Smith wrote:  

     “Nagasaki.  “On the afternoon of 15 September we got underway [from Okinawa] for Nagasaki, Kyushu to take on a load of POWs. We arrived early on the morning of the 17th. We were greeted there by a typhoon though, that gave us a pretty rough time on our first night, with some gusts of winds up to 80 knots [92 miles an hour] being felt. We commenced taking on board POWs as passengers on the 18th and finished on the 19th when we got underway in the afternoon with 760 POWs sleeping on cots on our hanger deck. We took them straight to [Buckner Bay] Okinawa[10] [arriving on the 20th] where we disembarked them for further transportation [the USS Haskell] on the 21st.” In this book there are 4 photos showing some of the POWs that boarded the Lunga Point on 18 September on the top flight deck and the hanger deck below on cots and a photo of the Lunga Point arriving in Okinawa.

      At Okinawa, a very small number of the 61 men of E Battery from the Mizumaki Camp who arrived on the USS Wadsworth and USS Biloxi were flown from Okinawa to Manila.  The vast majority of them who were on the USS Lunga Point were transferred directly from the aircraft carrier to the troop carrier the USS Haskall which left Okinawa on the 21st of September and arrived in Manila in the Philippines on the 25th of September. The men in E Battery were then taken to the U.S. Army Processing facility there, the 29th Replacement Depot, where they were given further medical checks etc. and processed for departure to the United States.

Return Home to USA of the 61 soldiers of E Battery

from the Mizumaki Fukuoka POW Camp 6

     The SS Marine Shark – 24 men and two officers of E Battery were on the ship the Marine Sharkthat left Manila, Philippines on 10 Oct 1945. The ship had various delays in the ocean on the way due to boiler and engine problems. The Marine Shark reached Pearl Harbor in Hawaii on the 23rd of October and left on the 24th. The ship was originally destined for San Francisco, however the Captain first decided to divert the destination to Seattle, Washington for repairs but later decided to proceed to San Francisco as planned. The Marine Shark sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge and into the harbor where they were welcomed by a cheering crowd. They disembarked the ship on 1 November 1945. (Note: There is a photo of the Marine Shark and many soldiers on deck as the ship arrived, that was printed in the newspaper the “San Francisco Examiner” on 2 Nov 1945 page 12.] I could not find a passenger list for the Marine Shark. In their oral interviews, three E Battery men, William Visage, Peter Evans and Roger White all stated they returned on the ship the Marine Shark. Also, in 1945, some newspapers from various Texas townsprinted the names of various soldiers, from their area of Texas, arriving on various ships and the dates of arrival. The newspapers cited the source of their information was the Army War Department. The following list of men on the Marine Shark that I saw named in the various newspapers.

List of 24 of the 61 E Battery men from the Fukuoka 6 Mizumaki

Camp who returned to the USA on the ship the Marine Shark

Earl Adams,  Francisco Cuellar,  Allen Cumberledge, Teddy Drake,  Peter  Evans, Walter Farmer,  Troy Gilbreth, Harold Holder,  George Lynn,  Ronald Moses,  Cecil Powers,  Coy Preslar,  Barton Robertson,  Novle Rogers,  Clyde Shelton,  Marvin Snelling,  Paul Stein,  Robert Stubbs,  William Visage,  Arlee Wetsel,  Roger White, Orville Williams, Carl Ray Woodward,  Milton Zimmerle.  (Also aboard were Officers:  Lt. Hollis Allen and William R. Sloane from the Mukden, Manchuria Camp) .

The ship the MS Klipfontein

      The MS Klipfontein Ship Passenger list 22 men of the 61 men of E Battery from the Fukuoka Camp 6 in Mizumakiwho were onboard. The Klipfontein left Manila, Philippines in late October and arrived in Seattle, Washington on 28 October 1945. The E Battery soldiers were then processed at an Army facility there and then traveled by train back to Texas. The men named on the MS Klipfontein passenger list were:

Juan Aleman,  Rufus Choate,   Carl Clements,  Robert Cook,  Eddie Donaho,  James Farrar,  Joe Fender,  Farris Gilliam,  Horace Hanks,  Leo Hargett,  Arnold Martin,  Joachin Mendoza,  Cecil Minshew,  Lawrence Norris,   Rodolfo Rosas,  Alejandro  Salinas,  Robert Savell,  Cletus Tucker,  Thomas Watson,  David Williams,  Angrus Winn,  David Woods.

   — Two other of the 61 E Battery men: John S. Davis: arrived in San Francisco 31 October 1945 on the ship the USS Perida. Thomas Woody arrived in San Francisco 20 October 1945 on the ship the USS Bolivar.

   — The other 13 men of E Battery were not on the Passenger List of the Klipfontein so they did not arrive on that ship. They very well could have also been on the Marine Shark but were not listed in Texas newspapers that I viewed. I did not view all Texas newspapers to try to find them, only some newspapers. Or, they may have been on another ship.

Full List of all of the 61 men of E Battery

who were in the

Mizumaki Fukuoka POW Camp 6

Earl Adams,  Juan Aleman,  John Campbell,  Rufus Choate,  Frank Cieplinska,    Carl Clements,  Robert Cook,  Francisco Cuellar,  Allen Cumberledge,  John Davis,   Eddie Donaho,  Teddy Drake,  Clarence Eaton,  Peter Evans, Walter Farmer,  James Farrar,  Joe Fender,  Hugh Garland,  Troy Gilbreth,  Farris Gilliam,  George Gonos,  Paschell Gosler,  Horace Hanks,  Leo Hargett,  Roy Hinton,  Harold Holder,  George Lynn,  Arnold Martin,  Joachin Mendoza,  Cecil Minshew,  Ronald Moses,  Oris Mygland,  Carl Noddin,  Lawrence Norris, Luz Ortiz,  Howard Plant,  Cecil Powers,  Coy Preslar,  Barton Robertson,  Novle Rogers,  Rodolfo Rosas,  Alejandro  Salinas,  Robert Savell,  Archie Shelton,  Clyde Shelton,  Marvin Snelling,  Henry Spalding,  Paul Stein,  Robert Stubbs,  Cletus Tucker,  William Visage,  Thomas Watson,  Arlee Wetsel,  Roger White,  David Williams, Orville Williams,  Angrus Winn,  David Woods,  Carl Woodward,  Thomas Woody,  Milton Zimmerle.

    (Note: In addition to the 61 E Battery enlisted men in the Mizumaki Fukuoka Camp 6 who are listed above, the following men were also in this camp: Of the 2nd Battalion 131st Field Artillery: James Gilmore and Herbert Lucas of F Battery: Carol Woodall and Thurman Rhine of HQ Battery; and Efram Valadez of Service Battery.  Also there was one survivor of the USS Houston, AMM2c Marion Conner. Also two civilians: Patrick Aki of Hawaii who was a young tugboat worker who was captured on Wake Island in 1942 and David Hicks of Texas an employee of the Adjutant General’s Corps).

List of the other 34 soldiers in E Battery that were NOT in

the Mizumaki Fukuoka Camp 6

    The following are 8 soldiers of E Battery who left Java with the other 79 enlisted men of E Battery who were in Java Party 5g. They also were on the ship the Oyo Maru that arrived in Singapore on 1 Nov 1942. These men were sick upon arrival in Singapore and thus unable to leave with the others for Nagasaki, Japan on 28 Nov 1942. They stayed at the Changi, Singapore POW camp. About 5 months later, 6 soldiers of these men were sent overland by train on 5 May 1943 to Thailand to work on the Thailand Burma railroad. William (Billie) Thomas who died of beriberi 27 Oct 1943 there and was buried at the Kanchanaburi Hospital Camp Cemetery no. 2 in Thailand. The other five men returned to Singapore in late 1943. They were: Ben Keith, Everett Miller, William Robinson, Richard Shields and Lavern Staver. [JJK note: This group may also have included Ray Robinson]LavernStaver died at Changi, Singapore on 25 May 1945. The other four were liberated at Changi, Singapore in September 1945. Two other men who were left behind in Singapore in 1942 never Changi, and were liberated there. They were: Vere Morrison and Curtis Van Cleve.  

The following 10 soldiers who were among the 71 soldiers of E Battery in Java Party 5g who were at the Fukuoka 2b Nagasaki camp on Koyagi Island in Japan, but were not part of the 61 men who were sent to the Mizumaki Fukuoka 6 Camp in June 1944. Two never left the Koyagi Island Fukuoka 2b Nagasaki camp. They were Nolan Kalich who died in the camp on 3 Dec 1943 and Raymond Wuest who was liberated from that camp in September 1945. The other 8 at the Fukuoka 2b Nagasaki Koyagi were sent to other POW Camps in Japan and were liberated from those camps in September 1945. Liberated from the Omori, Tokyo Main Camp were: Frank Fujita, Jimmie Martinez and Ramon Martinez. Liberated from the Moji Fukuoka Camp 4 were: Calixto Garcia and Henry Sharp. Liberated from the Kokura Fukuoka Camp 3 near Yawata was Munroe Woodall. While Dayton Mayo was liberated from the Hakozaki Fukouka Camp 1. Donald Heleman was transferred from Hakozaki Fukuoka Camp 1 to Omuta Fukuoka Camp 17 where he died 12 August 1945.

    Another sixteen E Battery members were left behindwhen the Java Party 5g left for Singapore arriving there 1 Nov 1942. Abelino Hernandez died in Java on 2 Feb 1943. Seven were liberated from Camp 1 Batavia. They are: Odell Campbell, Udell Carter, Eldred Costlow, J. B. Croft, George Killian, Cecil Lofley and Walter Starnadar. They were flown out of Batavia on military transport planes to Calcutta, India. 

Two others: W. F. Matthews and Cephus Barker left Batavia for Singapore in Java Party 26 in January 1945 on the ship the Kinta Maru After arrival in Singapore, W. F. Matthews went to Thailand to work on the Thailand-Burma Railway for about 6 months and was then sent back to Changi, Singapore. It is unknown if Cephus Barker also went to Thailand for a while or remained in Changi the whole time. 

     The other 6 soldiers were: Joe Neal Holder, Thomas Lawson, Robert McMahon, Frederick Perez, Jack Eudy Turner and Edward Wismann. Theyleft Batavia, Java in Java Party 20 and arrived in Singapore on 21 May 1944 on the Kiska Maru. Two weeks later, on 3 June 1944, they left Singapore on the Miyo Maru for Japan. Enroute, the convoy was in a typhoon lasting 4 days. On 19 June the ship arrived in Takao (Formosa). Because the Miyo Maru was badly damaged in the typhoon, it could not continue to Japan so the POWs were transferred to the ship the Tamahoko Maru. Near Japan, the convoy was being tracked by U. S. submarines. About 40 miles southwest of Nagasaki, the Tamahoko Maru was hit by a torpedo and sank on 24 June 1944. The other Japanese ships in the convoy did not stop to pick up the surviving POWs in the water who were clinging onto rafts and wreckage.  After about 7 hours in the water, a Japanese whaling ship saw the POWs and took them aboard and transported them to Nagasaki.  Of the 772 American, Dutch, Australian and British POWs aboard the Tamahoko Maru, only 212 survived. Of the 6 on board the Tamahoko Maru: Thomas Lawson, Robert McMahon and Edward Wismann died when the ship was sunk. Joe Neal Holder, Frederick Perez and Jack Eudy Turner survived and were taken to Fukuoka 14b Camp in Nagasaki. One year later, on 30 June 1945, they were moved to the Fukuoka 5b Camp in Omine, Kawasaki where they were liberated in September 1945.

[1] A list of the names of all of these 61 soldiers is at the end of this Narrative

[2] Source: University of North Texas Oral History Program: OH-698.  

[3] See the Narrative entitled: “E Battery Officers, 2nd Battalion 131st Field Artillery, Texas National Guard, The Lost Battalion, WW II revised 18 Sep 2022” to learn about these four E Battery Officer’s experiences as POWs.

[4] On 15 Aug 1945, the camp number was changed from Camp 9 to Camp 6

[5] University of North Texas Oral History Program OH 1242. 

[6] University of North Texas Oral History Program OH 628. 

[7] Source US National Archives in Washington DC

[8] University of North Texas Oral History Program OH 167.    

[9] an LST in WW II is what would be called a small aircraft carrier

[10] Buckner Bay was what the U.S. Navy called, in 1945, the Nakagusuku Bay, Okinawa

a NOV 45 photo of members of E Batt arriving in SFCA aboard the SS MARINE SHARK

Researched and written by Marianne LeButt  

July, August, September 2022

[1] Edited by JJ Karwacki for content and grammar

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