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It comes to mind that an area of the POW experience that does not get much attention is that of the U.S. Merchant Marine. Many of the merchant mariners who ended up under the Japanese were first captured on the high seas by various German Raiders and thus were POWs under the Germans and the Japanese. Several friends of mine worked on the "Death Railway" including the real Bridge over the River Kwai, long before the movie of course. A fair number of seafarers ended up in German POW camps, Marlag and Milag Nord after being captured on the way to Murmansk. One crewman from the Gallant Ship STANVAC CALCUTTA was held in Germany while his shipmates ended up in the Far East. The stories of what these men and women endured has largely been forgotten but their courage and devotion to duty was second to none. I have in my collection a watch band made of aircraft aluminum which was given to me by an old friend now passed on Dennis A. Roland. Dennis had been a deck officer aboard the MS SAWOKLA of the American Export Line when his ship was attacked and sunk by the German Raider MICHEL. In due course he was handed over to the Japanese to toil and suffer on railway work. The watch band was made by a fellow POW and Dennis managed to bring it home with him when the war ended.

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