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Japanese guard helmet brought back by American Prisoner of War

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This is really a remarkable piece. Even more remarkable is the history of the man who brought it back.

 

Henry Selden Winslow was a true American hero, and a fortunate survivor. He was born in Iowa and joined the Army Air Corps in March 1941. He was in the Philippines in December 1941 when the Japanese invaded what was then a US territory. He was a sergeant in the Air Corps, 34th Pursuit Squadron, 24th Pursuit Group. He was ground crew for P-35 fighters. The airbase he was located on was in the middle of a sugar cane field on the island of Luzon. General MacArthur ordered his unit to proceed to the Bataan Peninsula. He was given a rifle, and went from airman to infantryman. On Christmas Day, he and his unit were forced to retreat with what men and airplanes they had left after repeated bombing. They set up machine gun nests on the cliffs overlooking the bay and fought the Japanese as they became encircled. With their World War I equipment, the men shot monkeys, fish and snakes for food. General Wainwright surrendered his forces on April 9, 1942 after MacArthur departed the islands. He was captured by the Japanese and forced on the infamous Bataan Death March. Contrary to the rules of war, the Japanese forced Winslow and his fellow POW's for days in sweltering jungle heat without food or water. Prisoners were shot or bayoneted if they even tried to drink stagnant water along the roadside.

 

After about five days on the road, Winslow and his buddy Earl Oatman decide to make a break for it into the mountains. When they came to a curve in the road, they ran through the sugar cane fields, dodging bullets fired at them by the guards. They ran until they fell down exhausted in the fields and laid there until the yelling and shooting finally stopped.

 

For 14 months, Oatman, WInslow and other Americans who had escaped and become guerrillas were fed, sheltered and clothed by two Filipino brothers who were sugar planters.

 

After months of safety, the worst imaginable happened, when a group of Communist FIlipinos turned them over to the Japanese and they again became POWS. He, Oatman and others were transported on one of the infamous 'Hell Ships' that slowly meandered to Japan from the Philippines. They endured an attack by an American submarine wolf pack that sank other ships but spared theirs. The conditions on the ship were indescribable.

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Very interesting story! my dad's Dallas high school friend, Lt. Charles Gaskell, was in the same unit, and was MIA, then POW. When Dad passed in 2001, I found the newspaper cuttings in his drawer from '42 telling that Charlie was MIA. I asked mom what ever happened to Charlie and she said they never found out. So I started researching and came up with about the same story you told above, except Charlie was killed when a U.S. sub torpedoed the hell ship Arisan Maru on 10/24/44. Over 1700 Americans died in that sinking. Gaskell was sent to Nichols Field, Manilla, in Nov, 1941, 10 days before WWII started, and saw duty in the Manila Bay and Bataan area. He served in the parent group V Interceptor Command, assigned unit 24th Pursuit Group, subordinate unit 34th Pursuit Squadron

 

And that helmet is killer! I have several Japanese helmets, but yours is a beauty!


Mike

HelmetWerks Military Helmet Restoration

https://www.facebook.com/HelmetWerks

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According to records, Winslow was transported to Japan on the Hell Ship Nissyo Maru and was interned at the POW camp Fukuoka #3 (Yawata).

 

This information can be found here:

 

 

http://www.west-point.org/family/japanese-pow/Guerrillas/Guerrillas-List.htm

 

 

Information on the POW camp is here: http://www.mansell.com/pow_resources/camplists/fukuoka/fuku_3_tobata/fuku_3_main.htm

 

 

The helmet is inscribed with the Surname Nakata, as well as the Japanese abbreviate 'Fu" which is short for Furyo or POW. 俘虜 "Furyo"

 

 

 

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More pictures of the helmet. According to the seller, who was a friend of Mr. Winslow's, the cover has never been off the helmet.

 

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Hank (left) with Earl Oatman, 2003.

 

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Oatman chronicled his experiences in great detail in his book. I have an autographed copy. Hank Winslow is mentioned throughout.

 

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Would a guard's helmet be different than an M90 Japanese helmet? That's a great item and some great history to go along with it.

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If memory serves, two men from my town were on the Arisan Maru...

 

This is an utterly tremendous piece of history.


Looking for the following:

452nd and 447th Bomb Group items

Anything 12th Armored- especially uniforms

155th Assault Helicopter Company, Camp Coryell, or Ban Me Thuot Vietnam items[/center]


WWII US Navy Uniforms from the Battle Off Samar: USS Johnston DD-557, USS Hoel DD-553, USS Samuel B. Roberts DE-413, USS Heermann DD-532, USS Dennis DE-405, USS John C. Butler DE-339, USS Raymond DE-341, USS Fanshaw Bay St. Lo, White Plains, Kalinin Bay, Kitkun Bay and Gambier Bay...


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Winslow described his time as a POW in Japan, stating that his hands were never untied unless they were locked up in prison or working in Japanese steel mills. When a rotten, dead whale washed up on the beach, their captors cut it up and cooled it for the prisoners. Winslow said it was the only protein they ever received as POW's. and the fatty, spoiled blubber tasted wonderful to their starved, emaciated bodies.

 

Hank Winslow's time in the Philippines and as a POW is very well described in Oatman's book, as well as the two books featured below. I am still reading these accounts, which provide fascinating insights into the Death March, the guerrilla actions he took part in, and his transport and life as a POW in Japan.

 

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Here is the article that I derived some of the narrative from above.

 

Unfortunately, I was unable to attain the sword featured in the article.

 

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His souvenirs were give to his neighbor, and I got the helmet from him indirectly through a dealer.

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