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Amazing Japanese POW handwritten diary


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I'm finally getting around to sharing this diary grouping that I picked up a few months ago. The diaries belonged to a Lt. in the 31st Infantry stationed in the Philipines at the outbreak of the WWII. This soldier was wounded in the ankle at the outbreak of the war and later had his leg amputated while a POW in 1943. The diaries are written in and on several different items including loose pieces of paper and the backs of flattened out cigarette packages that he would then fasten together.

 

His diaries contain over 250,000 words of content and cover from April of 1941 to just after liberation of his POW camp in February of 1945. Their are also several other loose pieces of material including a Mobilgas map of the Philipinnes that he wrote notes on, two 1942 letters from a Japanese soldier that befriended him in the hospital, notes from other POW's during their imprisonment, mail to and from his family while he was a POW, War Department letters to his family explaining how letters to him had to be filled out to pass US and Japanese censorship, a Japanese propaganda booklet, 2 pieces of artwork from his fellow POW Murray Sneddon (this soldier wrote a book after the war and was one of the very few that survived the Hell Ship Shinyo Maru sinking), notes he made just after his liberation for future War Crimes trials, his post-war "War Department" ID listing him as "Expert to Sec. War", a Philippine Immigration Service pass indicating that he is a "Government Official Connected w/ War Crimes Commission", and also badges and other assorted items.

 

Probably the most interesting piece to this collection is what I found on the internet when researching him. The first was a photo of him just after liberation which shows him opening up his "peg leg" (that a fellow inmate had made for him) and showing one of his liberators how he hid his diary withing the "peg leg". There is also a Youtube video from this same setting that shows him opening up his "peg leg".

 

Rob M.

 

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Fantastic Diary! I collect POW diarys, and have posted them on the forum , but this one is very unique. Thanks for posting it. I cant wait to see more of it. I am also interested in seeing the mail. I would also love to see images of any mail he may have sent from Dec 1941- April 1942.

 

Kurt

!!!! WANTED !!!!

WWII Prisoner of War items : Medals, Mail, Diaries, Photos, Documents, Scrapbooks + More

WWII Naval Aviation Groupings : Medals, Documents, Scrapbooks, Photos, Flight Logs, Flight Jackets + More

 


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Some notable entries from his diaries:

 

5/8/41 - arrive in Philippines
5/16/41 - very prophetic statement about the lack of readiness of the Army
12/7/41 - war (12/8 entry)
12/18/41 shot in right foot also sees first attack along with seeing many dead and wounded
4/13/42 plane flight & near escape to Australia but General Sharp doesn't allow him to go (boy was he pissed!)
7/11/42 - prisoners shot
7/22/42 - stealing food
8/29/42 - befriended by japanese soldier
10/16 to 10/24/42 - shipped to Davao. Mentions hearing about "lopping off of 4 knobs"
11/4/42 - tells of horrors he hears about from Cabanatuan
1/30/43 phillipino POW kills Japanese guard and escapes
2/7/43 amputation worries
3/30/43 Japanese guard shoots and kills sgt. Mcafee
4/4/43 escape of 10 men (this is the most famous escape from Japanese captivity which several books were written about)
9/7 & 9/8/43 loose notes about upcoming amputation
9/9/43 amputation (no entry)
10/21/43 - first entry re: amputation
10/25/43 - two men escape
12/2/43 - catch up on diary notes including 10/29 operation again
12/14/43 issued G-string, etc.
2/14/44 got new peg leg.
3/2/44 650 man detail to build airfield
3/11/44 work detail putting up passive resistance
3/19/44 POW has mental breakdown
3/27/44 - 7 escaped 1 killed
5/20/44 hospital description
5/21/44 POW grabs gun from guard
5/22/44 POW shot at
5/24/44 disciplinary acts for POW incident
5/26 & 5/29/44 - POW reported executed
6/5/44 dogs and cats are cooked up just prior to POW's being sent on Hell Ship
6/6/44 hell ship trip
6/15/44 POW (Col. Magee) escapes over side of Hell Ship (Magee went on to escape to jungle and lead guerilla warfare program against Japs)
6/16/44 POW (Lt. Wills) attempts escape over side believed shot
6/25/44 Lt. Weden dies on hell ship
6/26/44 arrive at Bilibid
6/30/44 had to hide diaries, etc. small drawing of Bilibid layout
7/30/44 British POW details
8/29/44 gets Japanese guard to smuggle in food for him
9/21/44 - first US air raid
9/24/44 - survivors of sunk hell ship come in
10/11/44 list of friends sent on hellship (all of them later perished on the Arisan Maru)
10/21/44 word that Macarthur landed 10/17
10/29/44 hints at existence of secret radio used for war updates
11/9/44 Guerrilla attack?
12/24/44 "I'm crying now" (small teardrop on diary page)
12/26/44 small layout map of Bilibid
1/21/45 list of dead and missing friends from sunk hell ships
1/27/45 gives letter of recommendation for Japanese prison guard
2/4/45 liberation
2/8/45 Gen McArthur et al visits
2/8/45 talks of having Army photographer in camp taking photos and movie film with him in it.
2/8/45 wrote letter home finally telling them he had leg amputated

 

Also things he makes notes about:

 

List of operations
List of weight loss/gain (154# before war, down to 108 at one point while pow)
List of illnesses
Drawing of Davao layout (loose sheet)
Rumor lists throughout diaries (hundreds of them & dated)
Menu lists
Continuous hunger
Continuous foot/leg pain
Red Cross packages
Limited mail. Months to arrive. Instructions on what you can write and how much
Bedbugs, lice, dirt, nothing sterile

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Late war entry regarding Japanese guard that wants him to write a "letter of recommendation" that he hopes to give to his US captors to help save his life.

 

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Tremendous story, I'm surprised there has not been a movie made years ago.

Rarely is there enough of a story within soldier diaries to make a movie, and I've collected many diaries, but this one really could. There's also alot of material pertaining to how he meets a girl before the war, falls crazy in love with her before shipping out and then wondering throughout the war whether she has found another. Fortunately, she waited for him and they were married after the war.

 

Rob M.

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This is possibly the most spectacular POW diary I have ever seen. I would have never imagined a Japanese soldier writing a letter to an American soldier after the war with "For perminantly friendship, your intimately friend". What a fantastic lot. Thank you for sharing.

Rev. Jake

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A blank card that the prisoners could fill out and mail home. The POW's could divulge very, very little information on these cards. In the diary he makes comment that if you did not fill these cards out with information that made the Japanese look good, you not only didn't get you card mailed out but you were disciplined.

 

Rob M.

 

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I have quite a few of those Philippine POW postcards, and this is the FIRST I have ever seen un-used. It is the latest variety of the card ( circa late 1943-1945) . The earlier versions of the card are on brown paper. There is also a " white " card that is very scarce. Out of the @ 150 of these cards I own, only 2 are white.

 

Kurt

!!!! WANTED !!!!

WWII Prisoner of War items : Medals, Mail, Diaries, Photos, Documents, Scrapbooks + More

WWII Naval Aviation Groupings : Medals, Documents, Scrapbooks, Photos, Flight Logs, Flight Jackets + More

 


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Wow! what an incredible story and grouping-would love to see it published. Thank you so much for sharing!

Looking for: Fourth/ Seventh Rhode Island Infantry items


Purple Heart : Robert L. Freitag KIA ETO 2/11/45


Any US/German items with the last name "Freitag"


also, war-related posters



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Tremendous story, I'm surprised there has not been a movie made years ago.

 

 

Rarely is there enough of a story within soldier diaries to make a movie, and I've collected many diaries, but this one really could. There's also alot of material pertaining to how he meets a girl before the war, falls crazy in love with her before shipping out and then wondering throughout the war whether she has found another. Fortunately, she waited for him and they were married after the war.

 

Rob M.

 

WOW! That does sound like something that could be adapted to a movie.

"It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts."

*Sherlock Holmes in "A Scandal in Bohemia"*

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Great entry below about Hell Ship he is on.

 

For any of you that aren't that familiary with what the Japanese POW's went through or what the Hell Ships were like, I encourage you to get one of the many books out there and read about it. I thought I had some understanding of it but, as it turns out, I didn't know the half of it until I started reading more about it (after I got this diary grouping). Unbelievable what they went through. The book I'd recommend first and foremost though would be "Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption" which just came out more recently and is being made into a movie. It doesn't detail the POW camps like some other books but boy is it good!

 

 

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This is possibly the most spectacular POW diary I have ever seen. I would have never imagined a Japanese soldier writing a letter to an American soldier after the war with "For perminantly friendship, your intimately friend". What a fantastic lot. Thank you for sharing.

 

 

Actually that is a war date letter. They met in the hospital, which is surprising that they were treated at the same Philippine hospital. It is early in the war and Hinkle had been captured in that hospital while being treated for his wound and just hadn't been moved out yet. There is also another letter he sent to him that I didn't post that is longer. Could you imagine what trouble that Japanese soldier would have gotten into for sending those to him in the POW camp?

 

Rob M.

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Front and back of POW mail that he received from home.

 

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***********************

 

Thats a nice piece. Its addressed to him at Camp # 2 ( Davao ), but Davao was closed when it arrived in the PI, so it was routed to Bilibid. The " BIL " in pencil was applied by an American POW in Manila that the Japanese used to sort mail.

 

CAB = Cabanatuan

BIL= Bilibid

DAV = Davao

KWANT = Manchuria

HOT= Hoten

 

My Uncle was liberated from Bilibid in Feb 1945.

 

Kurt

!!!! WANTED !!!!

WWII Prisoner of War items : Medals, Mail, Diaries, Photos, Documents, Scrapbooks + More

WWII Naval Aviation Groupings : Medals, Documents, Scrapbooks, Photos, Flight Logs, Flight Jackets + More

 


donation2007.gifdonation2008.gifdonation2009.gifdonation2010.gifdonation2011.gif

donation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gif
donation2017.gifdonation2018.gifdonation2019.gifdonation2020.gif

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