Prisoner of war
This is the story of grief, pain, hate and remorse.
Of people who purposeful hurt other people.
To dominate and humiliate them.
To misuse and kill them.
This is a story like it has happened previously already countless times.
Like it has happened since again countless times.
This is the story of my father.
Coming from a Dutch family who grew up on the island of Java in former Netherlands-Indies,my father was at that time somewhere in his thirties and he had a wife and a life on a plantation on Java.
It was 1942 and war broke out.
Japanese soldiers came and conquered the islands of former Netherlands-Indies.
This is his story like he told me that years ago one time.
I wrote it down like he has told me it.
There is nothing made up in this story.
Everything has happened just as it is told.
My father never talked about the period just before and during the Second World War out of himself.
Only when I asked him about it he was prepared to tell something about it.
This is his story
<< My father ( second from right) as a military man in service of the KNIL ( Royal Netherlands Indies Army)
My father is sitting in the front row, second from left.
Picture taken at the shooting-range
Map of the Pacific
Netherlands-Indies – Japanese invasions
Map of the island of Java
Java: March 1942
About 100 km from Bali was the city of Djember, where my father was encamped as a mobilized conscript in the KNIL (Royal Netherlands-Indies Army).
He operated the machine-gun.
After the attack by the Japanese on Pearl Harbour the troops were mobilized and exercises and physical trainings were held.
Example picture: KNIL soldiers on an exercise.
Japanese soldiers land on Borneo; December 1941
The invasion by the Japanese on the island of Java took place on the 1st of March 1942.
The Japanese landed near Soebang at the coast on the edge of the mountains.
My father was employed to stop them.
On and around the road from Lembang and Siriban the fights took place.
The situation was confused and there were not enough men.
My father and the others with him had to withdraw along the main road and went fighting to Djalan-Tjagak.
From there they went to the defence-line at the Tiatar-position.
The Tiatr is mountain pass.
Everything took place within couple days.
On 7th of March 1942 the Japanese broke through definitively.
They came with tanks and aeroplanes.
The Japanese Zero was a better machine
Example picture: KNIL soldiers move through the bush
The KNIL cannons were swept away within a few hours by the Japanese planes.
On the evening of the 7th of March 1942 no fights took place anymore.
There were many dead and wounded.
There came an order to stand ground till the last man.
But that night around 02:00 hours there came a counter-order.
They had to withdraw in small groups of 5 or 6 men.
That did happen.
There was no resistance of the Japanese during the night.
Towards the morning they arrived at the city of Lembang.
In the course of the morning there came again an order and this time to march against the Japanese.
The entire day of 8th of March 1942 there were changing fights.
The KNIL-army came up to the city of Bandung where they positioned themselves around the city.
There came again a counter-order which was that they were not allowed anymore to shoot at the Japanese.
There was an armistice.
Japanese troops enter city Japanese troops enter city
Map of the Japanese conquests in 1942
The Japanese had the superior forces.
The Japanese airplanes, the Zero's, were much better.
And the KNIL-army still fought with guns from the First World War.
Their carbines and heavy machine-guns, mortars and small 20 cm cannons were antiquated and inadequate.
The cannons were really destined to be used as small mountain-artillery to protect the bridges.
The Tiatr-mountain pass was cleared within 3 hours.
The Dutch Ltn-flyer Van Helsdrager was the last who flew above the Tiatr.
The native Javanese soldiers were demobilized at Bandung
Aerial photograph of the city of Bandung
In Bandung my father and his companions literally had to lay down and deliver up arms.
Within 2 or 3 days the Japanese were within the entire city.
My father was brought, together with the others of the KNIL, to a camp in the quarter Tjikoeda Pateu in Bandung.
According to my father that must have been around 10 or 11 March 1942.
In the camp were only KNIL military men.
He has stayed there about 2 months.
Nobody was allowed outside the camp.
There was nothing to do.
You were allowed to walk around freely.
Some men escaped to go home to their wife at night.
The Japanese made traps and established punishments.
Who was caught was blindfolded and tied to a pole and stabbed to death by Japanese soldiers with bayonets.
Everybody had to look.
The Japanese wanted to set an example for all camps.
The camp itself was an original KNIL-camp with barracks and around it barbed wire.
Around May or June 1942 my father was brought to the city of Tjimahi.
They had to walk about 10 km with baggage.
There he stayed approximately 6 to 8 months.
The place was situated on a plateau, a mountainous area near Bandung.
It was an infantry camp.
Sleeping they did on the ground.
The food came from the eating-house and was prepared by the KNIL military men themselves.
The food they got from the Japanese.
Rice with vegetables.
If you had money you could buy things from the Japanese.
For example tobacco, sugar, coffee.
They made art objects that were sold among themselves for money.
Officers were brought to another camp from where they were later brought to Korea till the end of the war.
In the camp there were preponderant petty officers.
The military order was maintained.
They had to drill the Japanese way.
They also had to learn Japanese, learn the Japanese commands, count in Japanese, etc.
The Japanese ranks were a.o.: soldier: heishi; sergeant: gunso; lieutenant: chui .
<< Example picture of an internment-camp.
Towards the end of 1942 my father was brought with the others from Tjimahi to the city of Batavia.
The journey went by train.
There they were brought to the prison named Glodok.
There were about 2000 men.
There were also a few hundred English allies, from British-Indies, India, Australia.
The most were RAF-members.
They died like rats.
They had no knowledge of tropical diseases, of hygiene.
My father taught them to make herb medicines against malaria.
Of the bark of the “poelé-tree” you could make tea.
It tasted very bitter but helped against the malaria.
The barracks were stone buildings.
There were about 5 barracks with around it stone walls.
There were sentry-boxes with guards.
The food was bad.
He has stayed there a short period.
date in from left for number
Transports to and from Glodok prison according to the Camp-atlas.
Main entrance HBS at Surabaya , pre-war
Wing of the HBS building at Surabaya, pre-war
Drawing of Glodok prison at Batavia made by a POW in 1942
After a month or 2 he and the others were medically examined.
They got the order to pack up for departure.
It was the rain season.
In the streaming rain they were brought to the station.
In the blinded train the journey went to the city of Surabaya, about a 1000 kilometres away.
In Surabaya they were placed in a school-building .
An HBS-school ( Higher Civilian School) at the Cana-avenue.
There they got about 2 weeks of rest.
Then they were again medically examined.
Surabaya just before the Second World
War: rails in the street>>>
They were then brought to the harbour of Tanjung-Priok and brought aboard a freighter
The harbour of Tanjung-Priok just before the Second World War.
Harbour of Tanjung-Priok , pre-war
They were with about 2000 men or more.
The journey went to the direction of Singapore.
During the day they sat on top of the deck.
But when there was an air-raid warning they had to go below decks into the cargo-area and the hatches were closed.
They were lucky and were not bombed or torpedoed.
The journey lasted about 3 days.
After the arrival at Singapore-harbour they were transported in lorries to Changi-village.
At that time that was positioned outside the city of Singapore.
There laid a large war-camp.
With barracks made of bricks, 3-storeys high.
With barbed wire around it.
It was very large.
Except for the many KNIL military, there were also English and Australians soldiers.
The food was bad, only rice.
Diseases like beriberi, dysentery and the like were feared.
They ate leaves of the hedges to fight certain food shortages.
The eyes became bad and walking became difficult.
They stayed there about 2 or 3 months.
About March 1943 they were again medically examined and there was a selection.
If you were given a red ribbon you went to Japan.
If you were given a green ribbon you went to the Burma railway.
My father got a red ribbon.
Map of Singapore island with Changi >>>
Map of Changi area with POW
camps and prisons during WW II
Changi: barrack buildings used by Japanese for internment of POW’s
In March 1943 my father was brought on board of the Hawai-Maru, a 10000 tons Japanese freighter.
There were not many Japanese soldiers on board.
The freighter was escorted by a Japanese destroyer.
My father estimated the number of KNIL military men on board at about 2000 men.
The journey would take about 10 to 12 days.
The journey went through the South-Chinese Sea where there were a lot of storms.
They stayed below decks.
Every morning the dead were thrown into the sea.
They died for example of dysentery.
The dead were tied in bags and before they were thrown into the sea a short prayer was allowed to be held.
They stopped at Cape St.Jacques near the mouth of the Mekong Delta.
After that it went further northward to Formosa.
There they stayed for 1 day.
They had to remain on board.
After that the journey went through the East-Chinese Sea to Japan.
Map of Japan with the island of Kyushu
Map of the northern part of the island of Kyushu
Map of the Fukuoka district in the northern part of Kyushu . Moji is on
the top right and Fukuoka and Hakata bottom left. Orio is situated where is written Mizumaki #6
Aerial photograph of the northern part of Kyushu with miners camps.
Miyata Area .
According to Wes Injerd this is camp 9B ( see his website POW Camp#1-Forward & updates)
Kyushu: Camp 6, Orio, Omine
(established as Fukuoka no.15 on April 22, 1943: renamed as
Fukuoka no.9 on December 1, 1943; renamed as Fukuoka no.6 Branch Camp in August 1945)
( facts about Camp 6: At the end of the war 1062 POW’s were imprisoned consisting of 764 Dutch, 138 Americans, 41 Australian and 2 other nationality. 72 or 74 POW’s died during imprisonment. )
They arrived in Japan at the city Moji on the island of Kyushu.
That lies in the northern part of Kyushu.
In this building at Moji the prisoners of war were received when they came off the ships.
They were subdivided in groups of a few hundred men and the journey went in a blinded train to the place of Orio in the district Fukuoka.
The journey lasted a few hours.
Orio was situated about 30 kilometres west of Moji, about 40 kilometres north-east of the city of Fukuoka.
They arrived at the station of Orio.
The camp was located about 6 kilometres from Orio and was surrounded by mountains on the eastside .
The mine, where they had to work, was called the Takamatsu Coal Mining Company ( later to become Nippon Mining Company).
Orio was a small place with perhaps a couple of thousand inhabitants.
The most were farmers and miners.
The province capital was Hakata.
Example picture of a miners camp
Example picture of a miners camp
The end of March or May 1943 my father arrived at the Camp 6.
That was a miners camp.
He should be forced to work in the coalmines.
The entrance of Camp 6, picture taken after the liberation by the Americans.
They still wore their tropics uniforms.
They were housed in a camp of miners-houses.
It were long buildings, barracks like a sort of long narrow buildings.
Made of wood and smeared with loam.
There were about 16 to 20 barracks.
The barracks had 2 floors.
Per long barrack there were 8 apartments like a one-family-house.
Downstairs was the living-room and upstairs were the bedrooms.
They slept with 5-6 men per bedroom.
In an entire barrack were at least about 80 men housed.
They got 7 blankets per bedroom and laid on mattresses of straw.
Example picture of the barracks in a miners camp. This is camp 6.
These are Americans. Picture was taken after the liberation.
This is Camp 6. The Dutch KNIL officer Cornelis de Jong, commander of the POW’s, talks to a prisoner of war.
It was very cold at night.
After the grouping they went to bed in the evening around 22:00 hours.
There were many sick the next morning.
Those were moved to a separated sick-bay.
Sick bay in Camp 6;
picture taken after liberation>
After 1 week of the 100 men only 54 were left.
The rest died of exhaustion and dysentery.
According to Japanese custom the dead were cremated.
<<POW Camp Fukuoka No.6, Orio, Kyushu. Coalmine is at the right.
Picture taken after liberation by
US recovery team.
Example picture of crematory at Moji.
The sick got porridge to eat and now and then they had to carry stones.
At first there were a 100 men what later became about 2000 men.
For the large part there came Dutch KNIL military men like my father.
But later also Australians, Americans and a few English.
There were relatively more Australians than Americans and English.
Example picture of
a Japanese coalmine >>
Example picture of entrance of coalmine, Camp 6 at Orio >>
<< Example picture of miners-carts on r
ails, Takamatsu coalmine, Camp 6, Orio .
These were meant for transport of miners.
The work in the coalmines
About 1 week later they got miners clothing.
Made of coarse cotton in khaki colour.
A coat and trousers and toe-shoes, so-called ketabi's.
They were subdivided in groups of 10-12 men, a so-called buntai or shift, section.
They got an equipment consisting of a lamp with battery, a pickaxe and bamboo shovel or kakita and a carrier basket or ebu and a rake.
With the equipment they went to carts that ran on rails into the mine.
They were brought to 100 meter and to 200 meter depth.
The deepest spot of the mine was approximately 700 meter below sea-level.
They also made use of pneumatic drills on air-pressure of about one-and-a-half meter long. Those were operated by 2 men.
One for the steering and one for the drilling.
The intention was to drill holes, sometimes through slate, a 12 to 15 holes in which sticks of dynamite were placed.
With a long line those were brought to explosion from a distance.
Sometimes they had to drill through layers of slate for weeks to get to the next coal lode.
The shafts were propped up by wooden beams in which, with an axe, indentations were made for the placing of steel T-irons that had to take care of the connections.
The height of the shafts varied up to 2,5 meter and the breadth up to 3 or 4 meter.
In the middle of the shaft sleepers were laid on top of which rails were placed.
The rails served for the carts.
The pit-coal layers mostly ran slanting upwards or downwards.
It was a rotten job especially downwards because then you had to brace yourself.
Upwards went better.
Example picture of POW’s working in coalmine; this is in Kashima mine No 6; Honshu. Similar working conditions as in Fukuoka Camp 6, Orio, Kyushu >>>
Working conditions underground in a mine
Dangerous mine-shaft. This is at Camp Fukuoka No.17, Omuta.
The POW’s worked under sometimes very dangerous circumstances
Collapsed mine shaft in POW camp Fukuoka No.17 at Omuta, Kyushu, Japan to illustrate the dangerous work the POW’s had to do.>>>>>>
My father had the rank of sergeant in the KNIL and after a few months in the mines he was bombarded by the Japanese into buntai-tjo or head of the section (buntai).
The Japanese attached a lot of value to ranks and standings.
The miners were prisoners of war and per buntai there were 2 Japanese foremen.
These were mostly Japanese civilians from the village.
The foremen wore a green ring.
Regularly there came Japanese mining-engineers.
They were recognizable by the red rings in their lamps.
A single red ring and a double red ring.
The more rings the higher the rank.
Except for the Japanese foremen there were also the Korean miners.
Those were contract-workers.
They were real bastards.
The daily grouping went in 3 shifts of 8 hours per shift.
Continuously 3 times 8 hours.
The 1st shift went from 07:00 hours till 15:00 hours.
The 2nd shift went from 15:00 hours till 23:00 hours.
The 3rd shift went from 23:00 hours till 07:00 hours.
Once every 10 days you got a day off.
After the dayshift you could take a bath in the bathing-hall.
The warm water was carried in buckets and you got a piece of soap to wash yourself.
And next to the dining-hall.
Bakery in Camp 6 after the surrender of Japan. A former POW is now head baker.
Kettles used for rice-cooking.
This is at POW Camp Fukuoka No.17, Omuta, Kyushu
<<Shrine in the camp, prisoners of war had to bow to it.
The sabotage by the prisoners of war mostly consisted of making the drills blunt and putting slate underneath in the carts.
The food was bad. Rice with sogumuno, which are salted vegetables.
Some radish with it and in the evening a bun, a sort of French roll plus tea.
You ate from a food-bowl, a binto.
Example picture. Prisoners of war on the courtyard of Camp 6.
Camp 6: the life
The amusement in the summer existed mostly of forming small clubs of people with all sorts of interests.
Everybody learned something from each other and taught something to each other.
In the winter you mostly went to sleep immediately because of the cold.
A large part of the prisoners of war had no interests anymore and declined in vitality very much.
My father mostly kept company with an Australian, called "pop" which is an Australian corruption of the English word "dad".
He was about 45 years old and had 2 older daughters and in Australia he was a sheep-farmer.
My father had been, during his captivity, 2 times outside the camp into the woods.
One time to the sports-grounds.
And one time to go fishing.
That they did with their bamboo shovels from the coalmine naked in a puddle in a swamp.
The captivity in Japan was in fact the existence of a living dead.
There was little to eat, much beating and it was monotonous.
Those people who couldn't stand it literally died.
Those people who were and stayed strong of mind survived.
That's why it was important to keep yourself mentally busy.
They visited each other often.
Learned from each other.
Corporally everybody was in bad condition.
The diseases like beriberi and dysentery laid awaiting constantly.
You had to watch out for pneumonia.
They were walking skeletons.
The difference became clear when by the end of 1944 people from Burma arrived.
The Burma-railway was finished by then.
Those people were better fed and looked better.
Sexuality was not thought of.
Homosexuality he did not see.
Women had no attraction.
They were underfed people.
Maybe because of the underfeeding there was no need for sex.
Sometimes there were life-shows with transvestites.
The only obsession of the prisoners of war was food.
POW’s in barrack in Camp 6, Orio, Kyushu. Picture taken after the liberation by the Americans.
<<Special prison cell in Camp 6 where POW’s were brutally punished.
Picture taken after the liberation by the Americans
Type of latrine in a POW camp
The Japanese military
The Japanese soldiers were stationed outside the miners-camp.
The Japanese military guard existed of some 30 to 40 men who were on duty within the camp.
They patrolled around the barracks and sat above in the watchtowers around the camp.
There were about 6 to 8 watchtowers manned by Japanese soldiers with machine-guns.
Escaping was reasonably easy.
Some Australians did try it.
But they were clubbed to death by the local Japanese population and brought back into the camp horizontally.
The camp commander Suematsu lived in a house within the camp.
Everyday they saw him.
It was a somewhat elder officer of about 50 years old.
A small blunt man, fairly corpulent and without moustache.
The communication with the camp-commander always went via the officers.
After the war, Suematsu, his commander Sugasawa and one guard were executed by hanging.
Among the prisoners of war there were some officers.
There were 2 or 3 medical doctors, one Dutch and one South-African.
There were 2 captains, a few lieutenants and a reserve officer cadet.
The officers did not work and were exempted from labour.
For two-and-a-half year they did nothing.
They were responsible for the state of affairs within the camp.
The ordinary soldiers approved of that.
The military order remained maintained despite of the grown comradery.
The area was a sloping hilly area.
There were many pine-trees.
The seasonal difference was very noticeable.
In the autumn and the spring there were very hard strong winds.
In October came the hailstorms and with Christmas everything was white of the snow.
The temperatures dropped to minus 10 degrees Celsius, but the chill factor was not very cold because there was not so much wind.
The sight of the bamboo in the winter was also very strange to see.
This went on till March.
Then came the spring-storms with violent showers of rain.
In April it became better and May was the best month.
Then everything was in blossom and especially the sight of the cherry blossoms against the mountain slopes was a nice sight.
The months June, July and August were the warmest months with temperatures up to plus 30 to plus 40 degrees Celsius.
The rice-growing took place in the summer.
The Japanese population
The Japanese were people with mediaeval concepts but with
Among the prisoners of war were 2 men who spoke Japanese but had not told that.
They followed the course of the war from the Japanese newspapers they got hold of.
The most Japanese themselves said to be against the war too.
The war was not good.
In former years they had everything they said.
To die for the emperor and the like was unusual for the common Japanese civilian.
More Japanese said this.
But you had to be careful to whom you said what.
After the war the Japanese were submissive and polite.
The right of the strongest mattered to them.
My father has gone through 2 winters there.
The winter of 1943 to 1944.
And the winter of 1944 to 1945.
He has worked in the coalmines from March 1943 till August 1945.
About 30 months, thus two-and-a-half years.
Within the camp nobody knew about the atom-bombs.
The island of Okinawa fell a couple of months before the atom-bomb.
Around the camp machine-guns and cannons were visibly aimed at the camp.
Long pits were dug alongside the mountainside.
Clearly meant as graves.
They had laid down a route to escape through the sewers.
They wanted to try that.
The last weeks there were very many air raids.
They lied close to an airfield.
Sometimes more than 50 or 60 airplanes flew over.
American B29, B24 bombers, P51 fighter-planes.
In the month of August 1945 there were bombardments everyday.
In the beginning they looked at it but later not anymore.
In the evening of 14th of August 1945 my father came out of the afternoon-shift out of the mine.
In the sky flew a B29 bomber caught in the Japanese searchlights.
But not a shot was fired.
The next day, the 15th of August 1945, my father was dressed to go to the mine.
At 13:00 hours in the afternoon they had to line up.
They stood there surely for about 15 minutes.
Then came the camp-commander Suematsu and said: "Go".
They went away, to the shadow.
They were already apathetic, they were exhausted, obeyed.
They didn't make any unnecessary movements and were at the end of their strengths.
They must have sat there surely for one-and-a-half hour.
Then my father walked to the barracks to find Richard Sleeuw, air-force lieutenant.
He found him and asked him what was going on.
Sleeuw said to my father: "Congratulations, you are the first to hear it, it is peace".
My father went back to the men and said: "It is peace".
Nobody believed him except for one boy.
He went completely mad.
Another case was an Australian who had simulated for an entire year long that he couldn't walk anymore.
After the message of my father he just stood up and walked around.
They just remained in the camp and had to wait till the Americans came.
They started negotiations with the Japanese camp-commander.
After the liberation in Camp 6. Negotiations by the Dutch KNIL-officer De Jong on behalf of the POW’s with the Japanese camp-commander Suematsu
An American officer with a Japanese camp-commander after the
Example picture. Camp 6 with on the roofs PW painted for the food-droppings.
Notice the railway which always ran next to the camps. Picture taken after the liberation.
Drums that were dropped from bombers near a hospital camp near Tokyo, Japan
Food droppings, this is near Fukuoka Camp 3. Bomber drops
drums with food and other things
The guard was taken over.
They took over the Japanese rifles.
After approximately one week there came messages about food-droppings.
They had to paint P.W. on top of the roofs.
Then the food-droppings came and the drums fell straight through the roofs of the barracks.
Then they made, as good as possible, an arrow outside the camp with parachutes .
The drums of the food-droppings contained a lot of food.
Rations, cigarettes, chocolate, but also clothing, blankets and medicines.
After about 3 weeks the food-droppings stopped.
Food droppings near Fukuoka no 3, Kyushu, Japan; September 13 1945
POW’s picking up goods from droppings. This is at Fukuoka Camp No. 3, Tobata, Kyushu.
Drums that were dropped from bombers near a hospital camp near Tokyo, Japan
The local Japanese population was molested by vindictive prisoners of war.
A camp-police was instituted.
They got to wear a red ribbon.
They had to inform at the local population and got the assignment to patrol.
The population was taken in protection.
After the Americans came there was determined who had been bad.
There were a lot of Japanese soldiers among those and also people from the local population like the ones who worked in the mines as foremen and supervisors.
It was decided that one day was taken out for revenge.
It was a sort of tribunal.
Defendants were openly accused but were allowed to defend themselves.
Punishments were thought of but in such a way that nobody's life was taken.
They let them dig holes, deep holes and made them carry the sand far away.
It was about exhausting them, totally exhausting them.
They made them carry yoke and barrels.
They made them empty latrines.
They had to empty them in pits on higher terrain and when they spilled it they fell into it.
It was a mess, a stench, a real mess.
Dutch KNIL POW’s in sick bay at Camp 6, Orio, Kyushu.
Picture taken after the liberation.
On a trip through Japan
A week or 2 after the Japanese camp-commander had told them : "Go", the autumn came.
It was surely the beginning of September 1945.
My father decided to go out for some investigation together with some friends.
They went out from the camp on a trip through Japan.
By trains, trams, motor-busses.
They went to Moji, to Hakata, to Tokyo.
They felt they owned Japan.
They sometimes paid with cigarettes, that was good merchandise then.
Even in the hotels they paid with cigarettes.
During his captivity my father had already been in Hakata before.
He had to come along as a bearer during forage.
He had then seen Hakata as a city with big modern buildings.
Buildings with storeys in European styles of buildings.
Made of wood and plastered white.
There were no cars then but only military vehicles.
He had seen trains and electric trams.
Electricity was everywhere, even in the mountain villages and in the mines.
After the liberation he came again in Hakata and the entire city was gone, completely bombarded flat.
Till the sea the city was entirely gone.
Only at the edge of the city there were houses.
And the steel-factories at Moji were only still pieces of distorted twisted steel.
Also Tokyo was very much bombarded.
Ruins in Moji after bombardments. Destruction in Tokyo (Tokyo 1945-3-10)
Medical examination after the
liberation in Camp 6, Orio, Kyushu
Example picture of the railway that lies close alongside a miners camp
Example picture of the railway that always ran alongside the miners camps.
POW’s filling in recovery forms; this is in Fukuoka camp No.3; Tobata, Kyushu
After the liberation. POW’s are processed for released. This is at Fukuoka Camp no. 3, Tobata, Kyushu, Japan.
Railway next to POW camp 6 , Orio, Kyushu. Picture taken after liberation.
Evacuation by train of POW patients from Camp 6, Orio, Kyushu.
Nagasaki after the atom-bomb was dropped.
Near Ground Zero.1945
Ground Zero in Nagasaki , 1945
A survivor between the heaps of ruins, 1945
More than a month after the liberation, nobody was allowed to go out of the camp anymore.
There was said that the men had to leave soon and that they would be evacuated to the south.
They would be brought to Nagasaki by train, what still was almost a day travelling.
The local railroad ran close next to the camp "Camp 6".
Evacuation of POW patients by train form Camp 6, Orio, Kyushu
In the morning around 10 or 11 o'clock they left by train.
About between 1000 to 1500 men together in the whole train.
It was September 1945 and the autumn storms started to arrive.
There was rain and a stormy wind when they left.
Two-and-a-half year of his life working and toiling in the coalmines for the Japanese enemy, my father left behind him on that day.
At the moment that everyone sat in the train the eating-hall of the camp collapsed.
The train winded itself along villages and cities and factories where everything was literally bombarded flat.
It were the visible traces of the war which my father then also saw.
Towards the end of the afternoon they rode into Nagasaki.
It was nice weather there. The city was situated in a valley.
Everybody was surprised.
Atom- bomb “Fat-man”
Atom-bomb on Nagasaki, 1945
Mushroom cloud over Nagasaki
Nagasaki before the atombomb >>
<<Nagasaki after the atombomb
<<A Japanese soldier in the empty city. This picture is from Hiroshima.
City has completely disappeared.
A Japanese woman with burns. This picture is from Hiroshima.
In Nagasaki my father saw similar burnt people.
Atom-bomb on Nagasaki, ground level photo taken just before the shockwave
It was as if a giant hand had pushed up on the city and had flattened it.
There were no traces of fire and no bomb craters visible.
The Americans said, it was the effect of the atom-bomb.
Only later they saw victims.
Nagasaki was built in a large valley, a sort of bowl and till up in the mountains there was built.
Approximately in the centre of the valley the bomb fell.
They went from the north of the city towards the harbour valley and to the harbour complex.
They were allowed there to look around in the neighbourhood but were not allowed very far off because of the effects of radiation and burning in.
They were told, that there was danger of radiation effects but nobody knew what kind of effects.
They then have seen the burns of people who had survived.
They saw for the first time white women, American nurses.
They gaped at them.
They were divided in small groups and had to strip.
Their clothes had to go and they were allowed only to take souvenirs.
They had to take a shower and were des-infected with among others DDT.
From the showers they were given other clothes.
They got food, among others white-bread and had to wait.
Fukuoka 6-register name-list: Lindeman, Pieter B.; list of Oosterhuis no. 01-139; official POW book number 105911; rank sergeant; Red Cross-list with liberated Dutch POW’s no. 77; location place Orio ( Kyushu, Japan)
American aircraft carriers.
The Biloxi is among these ships.
Among these aircraft carriers is also the Biloxi.
Map of the Pacific in 1944 with all the landings >>>>>>>
Map of Okinawa with the landings >>>>
Warships off the coast of Okinawa
The aircraft carrier Biloxi
In small groups they were brought to the warships that laid awaiting in the harbour.
My father really wanted to go to a battleship but together with his group he was brought to the American aircraft carrier the Biloxi, of the US Navy.
There they were received by an American officer.
It was a sympathetic man.
There were allotted their sleeping-place and had to remember the number and got the key of their locker.
They had to sleep in turn and go on watch.
My father has given that American all his Japanese souvenirs.
He told him that to him it were only bad memories.
The journey back
Towards the evening it was and they were on the US Biloxi.
It was a big aircraft carrier with at least 4 or 5 decks.
Towards the morning the Biloxi departed from Nagasaki in the direction of Okinawa.
The journey lasted about 3 days
<<< Map of the invasion of Leyte
American invasion of Leyte >>>>>>>>>
American landing ships before the coast of Leyte
Warships off the coast of Leyte
<<<<Transport of ex-POW’s by airplane. These are Australian ex-POW’s.
Transport of ex-POW’s by airplane. These are Australian ex-POW’s.
At Okinawa they were disembarked.
The island first had 3 towns but of those no stone was left anymore.
The Americans had circled around and shot at the island for a month.
They were sheltered in a camp of tents, a sort of temporary stay camp.
They slept in big green tents with about 20 men per tent.
There stood hundreds of those tents in that camp.
No Americans slept there, they slept somewhere else.
They had to remain inside the camp and were not allowed to go out into the mountains because there were still Japanese there.
Now and then airplanes flew over to bombard the Japanese in the mountains.
They got 3 meals a day to eat.
Midday's there was a hot meal and in the evening they ate bread.
There were open-air movie-theatres and a theatre and my father saw Danny Kaye and other artists.
After about 2 days they were told that they would be flown to Manila on the Philippines with a B24.
They would then be woken up at 4 o'clock in the morning and brought to one of the airfields.
My father has stayed there for about a week.
Everyday a team of them would leave.
Like that thousands of men were brought over from Nagasaki to Okinawa and from there again further to Manila by shuttle service.
They called it "hitchhiking".
The Americans had constructed roads and airfields on Okinawa very fast.
6 lane roads that were not asphalted but impregnated with crude oil and hardened with help of bulldozers.
The Americans had brought there a lot of heavy equipment.
There were several airfields with maybe a thousand B29, B24 bombers and a thousand fighter-planes.
In the evening you saw nothing else but the lights of the ships and it looked just like a world-city.
There was a fleet of maybe more than a thousand ships among which aircraft carriers.
My father did not see Japanese in Okinawa.
American soldiers at Okinawa >
One morning he left together with others.
They were awoken at 4 o'clock in the morning and except for their clothes and some personal possessions they were not allowed to take anything with them.
They were brought in trucks to a large airfield at the edge of the sea.
They went in small groups of about 20 men into the airplanes.
They were not allowed to come close to the bomb-hatch and not at the front or the rear of the plane.
They got a parachute and it was explained to them how the parachute worked.
This in case they were to be shot at and they had to jump out of the airplane.
The sun rose at 6 o'clock in the morning at Okinawa and the weather was nice.
It was the latter part of the summer.
The departure was at 8 o'clock in the morning.
My father remembered the 2 dome-shaped windows and the stairs to the rear gunner.
The journey went by airplane to Leyte, the island from where general MacArthur had left before the war with the message: "I shall return".
The flight took about 6 hours.
In the afternoon they arrived at Leyte.
They landed on a military airfield.
It was very warm there.
From Leyte they would be flown to Manila in yet smaller groups with smaller aircrafts.
The names were noted there and my father was left behind there with 4 others.
They went to sleep underneath a tree .
About 4 or 5 o'clock in the afternoon they got up.
They went to the Americans to ask if they still were going to Manila.
Then they were told: "No planes, wait till tomorrow".
In trucks they were driven to a flyers camp some kilometres further on.
It was diner time when they arrived.
That night they slept in tents in the flyers camp.
Early the next morning they were flown with a small airplane, a DC-3, from the military airfield at Leyte to Manila.
About 20 km outside of Manila there were at that time 2 military airfields.
My father was brought to Clarksfield.
62nd Replacement Depot at Manila. 1945. Ex-POW’s were re-assigned here to the KNIL.
62nd Replacement Depot at Manila. 1945. Ex-POW’s fill in registration forms.
62nd Replacement Depot at Manila.1945. Reading the messages
62 Replacement Depot at Manila. 1945. Soldiers get instructions.
62nd Replacement Depot at Manila. 1945. KNIL-soldiers await transportation back to the Netherlands-Indies
British aircraft carrier HMS Implacable
Aircraft carrier HMS Implacable
Go to the next page to read
The camp-commander there made speeches.
It boiled down to this that the men had to be good towards the Filipino population.
They stayed there till the end of November.
Acclimatizing was no problem.
They were no longer underfed.
Still now the diseases appeared.
My father met his cousin in Manila who turned out to sleep in the same camp.
One day my father went to the Red Cross post because he did not feel well.
He turned out to have 40 degrees Celsius fever and was completely examined by the doctor.
He was packed in ice-compresses and brought to the hospital at Manila by ambulance.
It was evening in Manila when he arrived there.
He got an injection from a nurse and had to go and sleep.
He stayed in that hospital for about 10 days.
He remembered the American nurses and the Filipino girls who did the heavy work.
After about 10 days in that hospital he went back to the camp by truck with a certificate of discharge from the hospital.
Back in the camp it turned out that they never had heard from the medical service that he was in the hospital.
Back to the Netherlands-Indies
At Manila my father was re-assigned to the KNIL.
By the end of November 1945 my father was again shipped to the Netherlands-Indies.
He was brought on board of an English aircraft carrier with the others.
It was the HMS Implacable.
The only thing he remembered of that, was that it was called the biggest aircraft carrier in the world and it was called the "Invincible" by the English.
But in comparison to the other American ships he thought it was a dirty ship.
Within 3 days they sailed from Manila to the city of Balikpapan on the island of Borneo in the Netherlands-Indies..
The aircraft carrier was so big that it couldn't land in the bay.
The men were brought ashore in small boats .
That took the whole day.
My father remembered that on one side there were barren hills and at the shore where the city had been there was an emptiness.
The city was completely gone.
The men had to wait for the KNIL commander colonel Drost.
Later that day they were driven in trucks further to the interior.
There was no promised camp of tents.
The whole group spread out to find a sleeping-place somewhere.
My father found , somewhere on a hill, a plank-bridge with a roof above it and went to sleep there with some other men.
There were about a few thousand men in total who fell under the guidance of colonel Drost .
The Engineers were already present and within a couple of days tents were erected.
There was an American army camp on the other side of the city.
From those allies the Engineers got the materials.
The KNIL had to take care of the food themselves.
The local population lived in kampong-houses.
The people did flee away.