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The morning of August 16, 1945, 294 prisoners were at work loading coal aboard railroad cars, when at 08:15 a.m., the Japanese honchos (foremen) were observed bowing towards the sun and mumbling some kind of gibberish. Suddenly, they shouted in the Japanese language, "Work finished --- go back to prisoner camp!" Well, we figured something really must have happened, as the cars were only loaded about one fifth full and here it was only 08:15 when work started at 07:00 a.m. Possible, the war is over, most of the prisoners thought. And many said, "If this were only true!" Maybe some general (Japanese), was going to make a speech, or maybe the enemy had searched the camp and found something to make them good and angry.

Some of the Japanese work bosses said we would not come back to work any more and then we knew the war must surely be over.

Many of the men quickly went to places they had rice, beans, etc. hidden and retrieved them to take back into camp. Even if the war was over we still were under the rule of the Army militarist. The days spent in camp were long days of waiting, thinking and wondering what would happen next. Will American troops rescue us, or will the enemy take us to some ship and transfer us to a repatriation center?

Many wild rumors were going around the camp. One rumor was that the American Red Cross or Switzerland representatives would call at the camps and get our names and find out whether any of the men were sick. Red Cross officials came into camp the 29th of August, 1945.

We all thought that since the war is now over, we ought to get plenty of food, but we did not, until continual arguments and complaints were made to the camp commandant and little by little, a small amount of food was issued in addition to our regular ration. The enemy objection was that there was no rice or vegetables available, which was a lie, as warehouses were full. Even with defeat, the enemy was still trying to rule and make things difficult for American prisoners.

A radio dispatch was received by the camp commandant to the effect to notify prisoner camp leaders to erect a large Prisoner of War sign on top of the roofs of their barracks so B-25's and other planes would drop food by parachutes. This was joyous news after existing on inferior Japanese food for so long. August 28, 1945, made the 8th day since we had quit work and the days were really long.

We were being issued Japanese clothing, khaki Japanese Army shoes, etc. One month ago, pleas were sent in to the camp commandant to issue clothing and shoes to prisoners who were working at various jobs without shoes or with ragged clothing. The answer was always that the Japanese had no clothes to issue, and maybe they could in the near future. Now the war was over, and the enemy would probably issue enough clothes and blankets to last a lifetime.

On the 2nd of September, 1945, about 10:00 a.m., a radio was brought in, which was the first one in three years and some odd months. We were to listen to a speech to be made by General MacArthur, but as usual, the Japanese manufactured radio failed to function and we were left in the dark.

At 10:45 a.m. September 2, 1945, American Marines and soldiers proceeded to the camp gate and there, the Japanese guards surrendered their rifles to our men. This was a gala day after three years and four months as prisoners of war. If only we could lock up all the Japanese guards and officials until American soldiers arrived by plane.

Our camp leader called a meeting and all prisoners fell out into the court and there we were read the U.S. Navy regulations pertaining to the laws for the good of the U.S. Navy. No violence or any other forms of punishment must be taken on by any prisoners against the enemy. Colonel E. A. Johnson, U.S. Army, had parachuted into our camp and informed us that Red Cross supplies would be dropped into our camp sometime between September 1 and 5. We also would be transported to an air field about five miles from our camp and be flown out of Japan. We were getting happier every day with all this good news.

Today, at approximately 09:45 a.m., September 4, 1945, one large type U.S. Navy plane came over our camp and dropped ninety-five parachutes holding four cases each of U.S. Army menu-type rations. They were retrieved from the rice patches and some from the camp. We now would have enough food to hold us until the American forces rescued us.

Some information was given us by several U.S. Army officers who had made the trip to our camp from Headquarters in Nagoya. They came into our camp about 12:00 midnight and most of the prisoners got up to look at these officers, as they were the first American white men we had seen or talked to in over three years. They certainly made us feel good. All the cigarettes the officers had, they gave to the prisoners and told us not to worry as efforts were being made to get us out of camp as soon as possible. We were told that Colonel E.A. Johnson was negotiating with the proper authorities to have us flown from Nagoya to Tokyo or Manila.

We were all highly in favor of this plan as we were anxious to get back to the good old American shores and see our loved ones again. We also wanted to get acquainted with our various service organizations. We were also told that Colonel E. A. Johnson had shot down twenty-four Nip planes and we all thought he was a great fighter and pilot. The enemy in Nagoya Camp Headquarters was disappointed because they had lost the war and were jealous of all the Red Cross food we were getting.

Hundreds of Chinese and Koreans were forming lines outside the camp to receive any food we might give them. Even Japanese were clamoring for food. It was a wonderful feeling to have all the food you wanted after being starved for three years and four months. I can truthfully say those prisoners who had faith and the courage to wait were now reaping their reward. Those who were weak and couldn't stand the gaff went down, never to rise again.

September 5, about 6:00 p.m., all the prisoners were escorted by Kempeitai secret police to waiting railroad coaches for the journey to Yokohama, where we would be met by U.S. Naval forces. For the first time, prisoners were to ride railroad cars without having to have the blinds drawn down. The next day, all we could see was desolation caused by the American air raid over Japan. Every hamlet and city was damaged. Some burnt, others just twisted steel girders, which was all that remained of some industries. On the way, all prisoners had all the K-rations they wanted and we were feeling good.

Only one thing upset most prisoners. It was the orange and lemon powders to mix with the water as we drank it, it made our tongues sore because we were not accustomed to so much acid.

A total of twenty hours were spent aboard the railroad cars and they were very uncomfortable, being so hot in the daytime and so cold at night. The train went through a very long tunnel and all the prisoners were covered with black soot. In a small town going towards Yokohama some American planes were sighted flying at low altitude. All the prisoners started waving like mad. The American planes immediately dived down and flew over the train several times. Finally, a message was dropped by the leader plane. The message read, "Do you need food? Will drop some, answer by means of signs, yes or no." We all had strips of parachute material from Red Cross parachutes given to us for souvenirs and the letters "NO" were formed as an answer.

Then a swell air show was staged for us. The little planes would dive down to the train and zoon up with a loud noise. We were all very thrilled and excited. Finally, our train signaled time to proceed and we all climbed back aboard for the trip back to Yokohama and Freedom. On the 6th of September 1945, our railroad trip ended. We arrived at a small town about 22 miles from Yokohama, where we were met by U.S. Navy officers and enlisted men who welcomed us back to the protection of the United States flag.

We were given hot tea, served by the Japanese porters and then the word was passed for us to throw our lice-infested clothes in one pile and to take as little as possible of our possessions to the U.S. Navy hospital ship, U.S.S. Rescue. After disposing of our meager possessions, small trucks were waiting to take groups of six men down to the temporary docks where American power boats, landing types, were standing by.

An American officer was at the top of the large stone steps bawling out orders for boat coxswains to take the ex-prisoners aboard and convey them to the U.S.S. Rescue. As the breakers were heavy, the coxswain ran at reduced speed on the trip out. The hospital ship could be made out and before long, the power boat drew alongside.

Quickly, the ex-prisoners scrambled up the ladder to be met by various Navy men who directed them to place their possessions in one pile as they would have to check our gear for possible vermin. In the fantail, port side, all the ex-POW's were walking around waiting to go down below to receive a thorough shower, medical inspection and new American clothing.

What a wonderful feeling it was to once more be clean and have white man's clothing. All the ex-prisoners were issued new shoes and I was given a pair of Navy low shoes, size 9 1/2 EE. My size was 7 1/2 D but I didn't kick because they felt good even if they were too large. My dungarees fitted good around the waist except they were too long in the legs, which I rolled up.

Our first official Navy meal came about 12:00 and it consisted of fruit jello, meat loaf, fried potatoes, sliced tomatoes, cake, sliced bread, fresh milk, butter and coffee. We would have any amount we could eat and all the prisoners were thankful that once more food would be plentiful without having to exist on a starvation diet.

Word was passed that groups of repatriates would be transferred to various U.S. Navy ships which would take the ex-prisoners on their journey to Tokyo. Forty-eight of us ex-prisoners were taken to an American A.P.D. and after arriving aboard ship, bunks were assigned and at about 5:00 p.m., mess call was sounded and we stood by for our next Navy chow. A really wonderful meal was enjoyed by all hands.

Afterwards, magazines were provided and the latest state side papers available. Next the word was passed that movies would be shown at Starboard quarterdeck. We were experiencing, for the first time in three years and four months, the privilege to see and hear something only the good old U.S.A. could produce. After the movies, the repatriates turned in for the night.

In the morning the A.P.D. would be getting under way for the voyage to a place about 200 miles from Tokyo. There, the forty-eight repatriates would be transferred to an Australian destroyer, the H.M.A.S. Warramunga, for the final leg of our voyage by sea, and once in Tokyo, D.C. 54 type planes would be waiting to take us to various parts of the Pacific and finally, to the United States.

Once aboard the Australian ship, the crew certainly gave us a welcome and really went out of their way to try and make things as comfortable as possible. Movies were shown, hundreds of magazines and books were given to the repatriates to read. The food was excellent and the mess men were always ready to serve extra portions of food if anybody wanted them. All the repatriates really enjoyed the short voyage of 200 miles to Tokyo.

As we approached the entrance to Tokyo Bay, many warships were passed, including American, British and Australian. How surprised the ex-prisoners were to see such magnificent battleships and the large aircraft carriers. Every ship was a surprise to us, not having seen any units of the new Navy ships.

To say we were surprised would be mild. Crews of the ships passed and gave us a rousing welcome. Once inside the harbor, hundreds of logs were observed drifting aimlessly about as if the enemy had turned loose these instruments of destruction which might cause many small craft to be stoved in and sunk. The breakwater buoys were painted with the name of the first U.S. ship into Tokyo harbor. Nearly an hour after we arrived, an American motor launch came alongside and all the ex-prisoners prepared to take leave from our short new friends who had treated us so admirably well. Amid many cheers from the Aussies, off we went to a small dock where transportation was waiting to take us to a small Japanese air field, twenty-two miles southeast from Tokyo, which was Kisarazi. About seventy to eighty Japanese fighter planes and other types were grounded and rendered useless by American Navy men.

All the repatriates were told a flight might be arranged in the evening and nobody was to wander off. Of course, if anybody wanted to walk around the hangers, that would be all right and many did so. Piles of Japanese rifles and parts for different planes were in sight. Some men decided to bring back a rifle or two but others did not want any part of the Japanese equipment. About 19:00 p.m. the word was passed that twenty-two repatriates would be able to board a DC 54 (four engine) plane for Guam. All repatriates had to sign a form to the effect that they were flying by their own decision and were not forced to. Everything was soon in order and the big doors were closed. In a few minutes we were airborne. It was now dark and the few lights on the field were blinking off and on.

After circling the field three times the repatriates were beginning to think something was wrong and it was. Something was wrong with the running lights and the pilot captain decided to return to the field and wait until morning. An excellent landing was made and everybody went to the little operations office and had a cup of coffee.

In the hanger, enough cots had been set up and all ex-prisoners were instructed to turn in until the next morning. After breakfast the word was passed that a flight had been ordered for 08:00 and twenty-two ex-POW's must be ready to leave. This would not be difficult as the men had very little baggage. Our plane carried thirty-two persons in all. We landed at Guam at 17:25 p.m. after flying 200 miles per hour at an altitude of 8,900 feet.

After we landed, U.S. Naval transportation took a group of ex-POW's to the Quonset huts designated as hospital quarters. After washing up, all the men were issued forms for answering various questions about our activities as prisoners of war and about Japanese war criminals. Next came a trip to the mess hall where some excellent food had been prepared for the men who ate to their heart's content. After mess, we made a visit to the American Red Cross where a Comfort Kit was issued free, containing cigarettes, cookies, candy, gum, soap and other articles. Free cablegrams were also available.

Upon return to the Quonset huts most men either turned in or went to the movies, which, were shown outdoors. From what could be seen of Guam the following day, it certainly had changed from a small Naval station into a powerful and strong base with miles of concrete highways, large installations and the largest air field in the Pacific. Japanese soldiers hiding out in the hills were still causing trouble. Sometimes they would ambush American Marines and searching parties were trying to ferret out these renegades.

The time came when once more we would be transported to the air field for our next journey to Kwajalein, Marshsall Islands. We arrived at 10:00 a.m. September 10, 1945 in the DC 54, which was piloted by Captain Harold R. Wellander. In the trip to Kwejalien, the pilot captain extended a courtesy to all the passengers. Each person could come up to the pilot's compartment and sit in the co-pilot's seat and watch the plane's activities while underway. Looking out the large plexi-glass window, a ship could be seen coming our way from an altitude of 9,000 feet and the ship looked pretty small but not too small to be accurately bombed.

I kept wondering how large of a target a ship flying at an altitude of 25,000 feet would be. That was about the altitude the enemy kept their bombers over Corregidor and other forts. Very good food was served aboard the plane. The food had been packed in metal containers and coffee was made aboard. The crew of the DC 54 N.A.T.S. provided every comfort possible at all times. About 20:15 p.m. our landing was made at the tiny atoll called Kwajalein, situated in the Marshall Islands. Immediately upon landing, we were transported to the Red Cross hut where every comfort was provided to us. The word was passed around that if anyone was hungry to go to the Navy mess.

About 22:00 p.m. our voyage to Pearl Harbor was scheduled and amid many farewells from the Kwajalein Navy men and the big DC 54 made the run down the lighted airfield.

Once air borne, the N.A.T.S. crew men had rigged bunks for anyone who wanted to turn in for the night. It would be quite a long run to Pearl Harbor. Several hours later I was nearly thrown out of my top bunk when the plane hit an air pocket. This was routine and nothing to be alarmed about. The following morning found us passing over many islands and ships.

John Rodgers Pearl Harbor airfield would be our destination and we should arrive there in the afternoon of September 11, 1945. After landing at the large U.S. Naval airfield, once more transportation was waiting for us. This time we would go to Aiee Heights for medical checkups and also the Naval relief would issue some clothes to all ex-POW's who owned only the clothes they had on their body. After being passed medically and pronounced fit, we resumed our journey to Oakland, Calif.

The food served at the U.S. Naval Hospital was superb and gain our comfort was the aim of all persons connected with the Aiee Hospital. The Navy clothing issue consisted of new dungarees, underwear, white hats, handkerchiefs, shoes, etc. A suit of khaki, overseas cap, belt and field jacket was issued by the U.S. Marine Corp. Instead of boarding a DC 54 we would now take a DC 47 (two engine) transport plane for the final part of our journey to the United States.

Leaving John Rodgers field, September 11, 1945, found us winging our way to the Alameda Naval Air Base to which we arrived on September 12, 1945. This ended our series of flights from Tokyo, Japan to Oakland, California. In the last part of the flight our plane made a landing at Oakland-Knoll hospital, a bus was waiting and we were taken to the U.S. Navy .

Oakland-Knoll hospital where small barracks were arranged immediately and most of the men went to the city of Oakland, California to celebrate their return to the United States Of America where no man need be a slave to another.

A plan was in effect that ex-POW's might be transferred to any Naval hospital near his home. Of course, necessary medical attention must be completed, as dental checkups, physical examination and enough clothes must be drawn to enable the men to be in some U.S. Navy uniform. Meantime, liberty was available, likewise free telephone calls to any place in the United States would be provided by the American Red Cross. Priority would be arranged by N.A.T.S. for any ex-POW who wanted to go East. The food ordered by the men was certainly a luxury. I ordered waffles with fresh whipped cream, fresh strawberries and ice cream. After trying one of these delectables I decided another one would be in order and I soon became full. Some of the men ordered full fried chickens, T-bone steaks, porter-house steaks and a host of other foods. Very little drinking was in evidence. Quite a few men had relatives to visit. Some had their wives in Oakland and were trying to re-adjust themselves to the lives of people who were civilized and not slaves to a militarist cause.

What a thrill it was to talk to my wife, Jeannette. My call from Oakland, California, and hers --- all the way from Auburn, New York. Her voice came over the phone clearly and undistracted. For the first time in nearly six years I was able to talk and vision my wife. By the time six days had elapsed I was scheduled to leave Alameda Air Base which was September 18, 1945. The first stopover would be Winslow, Arizona. After having my baggage weighed, (we were allowed 45 pounds), I boarded a DC 47 for the trip across the country. I viewed some wonderful scenery passing over California, ---brown desert country and high dunes. We arrived at our first stop, which was Winslow, Arizona, but we only stopped a few hours and were off again for Kansas City, Missouri. Here, the Red Cross was on the job and all food was free.

At Columbus, Ohio, our third stop-over, a very nice little airport was observed. There, Red Cross lading quickly invited us to all the food we wanted including ice cream, free. My brother lived in Cincinnati, Ohio and I would have liked to drop in and see him and his family, but I had to continue on to New York where my wife and little daughter were waiting for me.

Our flight time would be delayed a little as fog was pretty thick around Columbus and Washington D.C. Waiting a few hours to let the fog lift a little, our pilot took off from the Columbus, Ohio field for Washington D.C. Of course, all the ex-POW's aboard the DC 47 were getting used to air travel although most of the men were getting a little worn out. Food was served by a N.A.T.S. female attendant, who made everybody feel at home and was a credit to the N.A.T.S. organization. She had a lot of paper bills which everybody autographed and the finished article was called a "short snorter bill." Some very interesting sights would be observed as soon as our DC 47 approached the District of Columbia. The first object that came into view was the Potomac River and it look very beautiful from the air. Subdivisions of new apartment houses were seen very near the Capitol buildings and we flew comparatively low over them. The White House could be plainly seen and it was an interesting sight.

Our radio operator had the news for all the passengers that two B-29's were attempting to set a new long distance record from some place in Northern Japan to Washington D.C. Not very long after landing, the two B-29's were observed near one of the hangers and apparently their flight was a success. Quite a few passengers would leave the DC 47, as their destination had been reached.

About one hour more would elapse before another plane would be ready to take any ex-POW on to New York. Climbing aboard another DC 47 the last leg of all the ex-POW's flight from Tokyo to New York would be ended in a matter of hours. My orders had read to report to Sampson Naval Hospital, New York for indisposition. Landing at Floyd Bennett field in New York, I was able to secure a room by the courtesy of the Medical officer Naval Air Station, Floyd Bennett Field, New York. Next morning after breakfast a station wagon transported me to the New York, New Haven, Hartford R.R. and at 12:00, I would be able to catch a train. I was very close to returning to the arms of my dear wife and daughter of whom I had not seen for six years. Many thoughts were running through my head of how my wife would look and how she would recognize me after so long an absence. As to my little daughter, what a sight it was going to be! She was six years old and I had never seen her, except for pictures.

I am very tired from the long trip from Tokyo to New York and was also keyed up and under a strain. I was continually asking the conductors in the coach, "How much further?", and he kept saying, "Only a little way to go." I would also have to change at Syracuse, New York and take a bus to reach Auburn, New York, where my wife and daughter were residing. Leaving the train at Syracuse, I put in a telephone call informing my wife I would arrive in Auburn, New York at 8:55 p.m. Waiting at the small bus station, when at last I finally arrived, was my wife, Jeanette and my little daughter, Valerie, this climaxed an absence of six years through perils and adventure. Looking back to my six years absence, I guess the old adage, "EVERYTHING COMES TO THOSE WHO WAIT", IS TRUE.

See my Dad's messkit that he used while he was a POW
..........>Click Here

Follow Up About My Dad.

Dad - Hospital.jpgPicture of Dad in Hospital.Dad weighted only 90 pounds when he came back, but after a few months with a good diet, and loving care from my mom he was able to gain his weight back .Shortly after being home, my mother and father found out the great news that they were going to have another baby.

A few years later they would have another child, Pamela. Now his family was complete.Click for image of family, Oldest Valerie, Frank on Dad's lap and me, Pamela on Mom's lap.

Dad, retired from the Navy after 22 years. He also retired from the State of California and Hewlett Packard.

It is sad to say that after he finally retired, he got Alzheimer's Disease. My mother cared for him for 5 years, and the end of the 5 years (1985) he had a massive stroke and passed away.

More On Alizheimers disease

Mom will be 80 years young this June,24, 2000. Here is a picture of mom and I that was taken in .1999.

This picture of me next to my friendsbike was taken after 16 years of finally being able to go to my dad's final resting place. This has been a journey for me in my life to finally understand my dad. Thank you Dad, for being so strong that you could come back to freedom and also give me life. Dad, I now Understand, And Everything Is Ok! I Love You!

And Thank you, For Taking This Journey With Me. Please click on links below

History of Yagtze River Patrol

Post traumatic Stress Disorder WW2

Prisoner Of War Camps

Faces Of Prison Guards

Japanese commite Unspeakable horrors committed upon men and women as human guinea pigs.

Humane Experiments on POWS

Beatings of Prisoners and Starvation

Bataan Death March Map

The Fall Of Bataan

More on prison guards



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