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Merchant Marine POW post cards

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#1 SemperParatus

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Posted 06 November 2018 - 09:07 AM

Chief Engineer Galen McCray was serving aboard the S/S CONNECTICUT when that vessel was attacked and sunk by the German raider MICHEL. He was a POW of the Germans aboard the MICHEL then later handed over to the Japanese. I have two post cards that Chief McCray sent home to his wife during his time as a POW under the Japanese. These cards appear to  be the type that the POWs were permitted to send back home to let their next of kin know of their circumstances. The first card is from Fukuoka, Japan from Galen McCray. Nationality: American, Rank: Merchant Seaman, Camp: 3rd Fukuoka Camp. The card is addressed to Mrs. Galen McCray, Erath. Louisiana, USA c/o Mrs W.M. Carroll. The back of the card reads Imperial Japanese Army. The message reads:

My dear Irene: I am interred in Fukuoka Camp. My health is good. I am working for pay. Please see that Wanda's and your health is taken care of.  My love to you darling. Signed: Galen. The card is dated December 27, 1943.


The second card which is of the same type as the first The message is: My darling wife and daughter. My health is good. Hope that all is well with both of you. If checks stop coming see Mr. Hand. Don't worry about me. Hope to be with you soon. Love and kisses. signed Galen.


Both cards have various Japanese stamp markings but I do not have a translation for what they mean.


It is interesting to note that the cards were sent to Mrs. McCary c/o Mrs. W.M. Carroll. William M. Carroll was the Chief Mate of the S/S CONNECTICUT.




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Posted 06 November 2018 - 10:40 AM

I would love to see some scans. I collect POW mail personally and have written articles on the subject for Philatelic related journals. 


I have some POW mail from a Merchant Mariner captured when his ship was sunk by the Michel too. 


Fukuoka was one of the larger camp groups in Japan. There were multiple camps in the region.



Edited by KASTAUFFER, 06 November 2018 - 10:40 AM.

#3 SemperParatus

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Posted 06 November 2018 - 01:05 PM

I am not set up for submitting photographs to the site however I could send you some Xerox copies via snail mail. There is a fair amount of material with this grouping, envelopes from McCray's wife to him at the camp, letters from the steamship company, detail's of McCray's service and some correspondence from him to myself. I am planning to sell this material down the road as I am slowly letting go of my Merchant Marine collection. Let me have your snail mail address and I will be happy to send you some copies. I do not have any great knowledge of the POW experience but a number of men in my collection were POWs of both the Germans and the Japanese. Their ships included, SAWOKLA, AMERICAN LEADER, STANVAC CALCUTTA. VINCENT. Several of these men worked on the "real" bridge over the river Kwai. Thankfully they lived to come home after the war where so many others did not. My e-mail is [email protected].

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