Fukuoka 3-B Report

Wake Island Marine Dennis Connor told me he, Foots Anderson, and Alvin Sawyer got caught stealing canned food (probably Red Cross food which the Japanese would not distribute).  This happened while they were at the White House, the first camp.  They had to wear a red band around their head for 3 to 4 days, then they were court martialed.  They were told all along they would be shot.  Sawyer evidently knew some Japanese and helped get them off with a lesser sentence.  They were held in a room with one blanket for the three of them, no bed but the floor (this was in the winter).  Afterward they were put to work unloading coal from a ship.  In his oral history held at the Westen Historical Manuscript Collection at the Unviersity of Missouri at Colombia he mentions himself, Charles Pierce, and Norman Berg being beaten towards the end of the war.Some time after the war Connor was working for the Missouri Conservation Dept and Sawyer walked in the door.  Their meeting was purely accidental.Connor thought there were about 140 prisoners in the group which was sent out of Woosung in Nov 1942, about evenly divided among Wake Marines, North China Marines, and civilians from Wake.  They sailed aboard the Miike Maru which was also carrying about 5000 Japanese troops.  They went up the coast of China to near Chinwangtao, then over to the Korean peninsula.  They stopped at Pusan and then went across to Moji, about a 2 day voyage.A typical day consisted of getting up at 5 am, counting off in Japanese, out the gate by 6, and back to camp about 7 pm.  They were told by Navy Doctor Herbert Markowitz (Guam) that at the end they were living on 800 calories a day.  The Norris Troney diary also mentions the low rations.  Connor recalls once getting a REd Cross food package to share among four POWs, another time one for 8 POWs, sometimes one box for 25 POWs.  So little Red Cross food came in that when it did the food was usually added to the daily rice ration instead of giving it to individuals. 
Sgt Bill Howard told them the news of the war being over.  There was no big outcry.  Their emotions were drained.  They couldn't laugh or cry.  Other accounts say the same.

For information on what North China Marines were held at Fukuoka 3-B go to the page titled Fukuoka 3-B POW Camp.

American Ex-Prisoners of War



FUKUOKA #3, Page 1 of 3


By John M. Gibbs, 31 July 1946



Fukuoka Camp #3 was first located in a suburban section of the city YAWATA, known as Yauhea, on the Island of
Kyushu. Yawata was one of Japan's major steel producing areas, and the camp there was first occupied by American
civilians in Sept. 1942, who were captured by the Japanese on Wake Island. Later in that year the American personnel at
this camp was supplemented by prisoners of other nationalities, mainly British and Australian captured at Singapore.

A large steam electric plant was located within 500 yards of the camp installation, and surrounding it were steel mills
and steel rolling mills, all producing Japanese war essentials, and relying, substantially, on prisoner labor to operate them.

To protect the prisoner personnel, as far as possible, from anticipated bombing raids, a new camp was erected in a
suburb of Tobata about 300 yards from the bay, just west of the city. Tobata is located at the north central tip of the island
about 6 miles from Yawata in a northeasterly direction, and its coordinates are 33°56'N. 130°49'E. The terrain at Tobata
was flat. The tallest mountain in that area bounded the camp area on the north. Travel time from camp to the Yawata
plants was about 30 minutes. The prisoners of war continued to work in the Yawata plants throughout the war and were
transported from and to the new camp in open flat cars even during the bitterly cold winter weather. As a result of the
exposure many of the prisoners contracted pneumonia and more than a few deaths among them resulted.

About 500 yards from the new camp at Tobata was an enormous power plant standing at an elevation of 300 feet.
The furnaces were equipped with 6 smokestacks about 100 feet high from base. Steam turbines furnished power to the
most of the plant. It evidently served as a landmark for American bombers because it was not bombed and remained
undamaged to the war's end.

There was no distinguishing mark to denote that the new installation was a prisoner of war camp. In order to identify it
as housing prisoners of war, the senior American officer requested the Japanese camp commandant to, at least, label the
hospital with a red cross which request was curtly denied.


The total prisoner personnel was approximately 1,200 of which 500 were Americans. This figure included 75 civilians
taken on Wake Island and 45 Marine and 30 Navy personnel. The remaining American personnel belonged to the Army.
Prisoners of nationalities other than American were, English 130; Australians 3; Indians 150; Javanese & Dutch 325 and
20 Chinese. The remaining 72 were Arabian, Malayan and Portuguese.

Col. Ovid W. Wilson, was the Senior American Officer. Lt. Col. Paul D. Philipps, the Adjutant for the American officer
group, and Lt. Col. William Dorris, the permanent camp commander of the enlisted men.

3. GUARD PERSONNEL: The Japanese camp officials were:

Maj. Yaichi Rikitake, Commander, crafty and cruel. Lt. Hata, camp doctor, non-cooperative, cruel.

Lt. Ogomi, camp doctor. Cadet officer, Murada, camp doctor.

Sgt. Major, Kita. Sgt. Kawasaki, pay roll and comnnissary.

Cpl. Nagakura, stores and clothing. Private, Fukuda, medical orderly, inconsiderate, cruel.

Mr. Manins, civilian guard, cruel. Mr. Osano, civilian interpreter, non-cooperative, indifferent.


(a) Housing Facilities: Inasmuch as the camp remained at Yawata for a relatively short period, a description of the
housing facilities is omitted. Therefore the following is a description of the camp buildings at Tobata: Ten barracks of very
light frame construction, capacity 150 men each, surrounded by a wood fence, comprised the housing facilities. Each
building had 2 decks running the length of both sides, making a row of upper and lower bays to a side, the lower tier about
6" off the floor, top tier about 6' off the floor reached by ladders, into which were fitted typical Japanese mats for sleeping.
There was a shelf located at the head of each bay where the prisoners could place their accessories. The floors were of
concrete, the roof of a Japanese type of tile. There was no artificial heat except that generated by small round stoves
standing on legs about 3 Vi feet high, over-all, charcoal burner type. Coal furnished for fuel was of inferior quality and was
inadequate in quantity. Fires were not maintained during the night. Even with fire in the stove during the day from 5:00 to
8:00 P.M. the barracks were continually cold. All buildings were electrically lighted, in addition there were special blackout
lights, as well as blackout curtains for air raids. Windows (2 per bay both upper and lower) were of multi-glass sliding type.

The hospital, classed as a good building for this type of camp, had steam pipes installed, but heat was turned on only
a part of the night during the winter. This building was continually overcrowded and undermanned. A second hospital had
been erected, however, the use of the facility was denied the prisoners, and it remained unoccupied until Oct. 1944. The
patients were bedded in bunks equipped with straw mats. The original hospital, according to American standards, would


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