At this point only the following North China Marines are known to have been at Roku Roshi: Frank Novak and Neil Rider. They arrived 19 May 45 from Osaka #5.
Don't let the appearances of the barracks building fool you. Read the description below.Neil Rider told me a March 1945 incendiary raid in Osaka killed Richard Rider and shut down all work in the ship yard. "About a month later (19 May) Frank Novak and I were sent to the Rokuroshi camp up in the mountains near Fukui with a small group to renovate and clean up an old vacant Japanese training camp. We were up in the mountains and out of harms way. About a month later (25 Jun) a large group of Allied prisoners, mostly officers, came to fill up the camp. We could hear the air raid sirens down in the valley below us. In August B-29s bombed Fukui and we had a ringside seat. The planes would finish their bombing runs and come right over our camp. Although it was midnight we were all out side cheering."
The rescue roster lists only about 20 enlisted men with just under 400 officers.
ROKU ROSHI, Page 1 of 2
AS TAKEN FROM REPORTS OF INTERNED AMERICAN PRISONERS
LIAISON & RESEARCH BRANCH AMERICAN PRISONER OF WAR INFORMATION BUREAU
ROKU ROSHI DIVISIONAL CAMP OF OSAKA (HONSHU) JAPAN
The Roku Roshi camp was located in a picturesque valley high up in what was said to be the Japanese Alps -elevation about 6,500' - and surrounded by numerous other peaks towering well above the camp. 11 was near the west coast of Honshu and 25 miles distant from the Japan Sea. The town of Ono was due west of Roku Roshi about five miles.
The camp compound was 225' x 450' and was surrounded by a 3 (sic) split rail fence so constructed that egress from Ihe compound could be effected between the rails or by going under the lower rail. Two prisoners attempted escape, but they were recaptured. Guard towers were placed at the four corners of the compound,
This location and the barracks formerly were used as training quarters for Japanese Cavalry troops.
2. PRISONER PERSONNEL:
The first prisoners to occupy this camp was a detail of 30 Americans, British and Dutch on 19 May 1945, The Americans in the group came from Guam originally and James F. Boscarino, Warrant Officer, U.S.M.C., was the Senior
On 25 June 1945 all of the American officers 365 formerly interned at Zentsuji were transferred to Roku Roshi.
Col. Marion D. Unruh. U.S.A. became the Sr. Officer. Col, E B Miller. U.S.A., was associated with Col. Unruh in administering all rules for the protection of the prisoners. Col. W.K. McNutty, U.S.M.C,. was associated with these officers. Capt W.T. Lineberry, U.S.N. Med. Corps, was senior prisoner medical officer and Lt, Cmdr. H.J, Van Peenen. U.S.N. Med. Corps, acted as prisoner camp medical officer. These medical officers, in the face of odds against them, were highly spoken of by other prisoners for their unremitting watchfulness over and care of the half-starved and sick prisoners.
The peak prisoner personnel at this location was Americans: Army 260; Navy 100: Marines 18; civilians 2. Total 380 which, plus 15 British and Dutch prisoners, raised the grand total of 395.
3. GUARD PERSONNEL:
The Japanese officers at this camp have been described as brutal and hard task-masters, given to lying, particularly about increasing the quantity of food after the stepping up of work production. The increased ration in all cases failed to materialize. Lt. Habe was camp commandant. Civilians named Nakada and Ishida were camp stewards. Mr. Fu^imoto was camp interpreter. One Army Lt. and several N.C.O.'s constituted the active camp administrative personnel. (Neil Rider said there was one Japanese foreman who would give cigarettes to POWs in the morning. The POWs gave him food and clothing when they left.)
4. GENERAL CONDITIONS:
(a) HOUSING FACILITIES: The outward appearance of the rectangular building constituting the barracks was pleasing and a good architectural design. The setting was restful and the surroundings were made beautiful by high mountains apparently on all sides. The slopes and crests of the mountains were adorned with growths of green timber. The appearance of the building from without, like Japanese culture, hid what was on the inside, for that was crude and anything but inviting. Here follows a description of the building and its appointments.
The dimensions were 60' x 150' single story. The side walls were broken with 11 windows, all with glass panes. Two doors faced the entrance side of the structure. The outside walls were of small wood members with the interstices filled with a solidified composition. The framing was heavy and solid with the interior side and end walls sheathed with wood.
The roof was tile and the floor was dirt. Double deck bunk platforms lined one side of building. Single deck bunk space lined the other wall. No mattresses or straw mats were provided. The only sleeping comfort issued was five thin blankets. Tables for mess and other purposes were placed in the center of the building between the bunk rows. The floor space had been divided into rooms. Bunk space allowed was 22", A prisoner stated that the men could not have survived one winter there under such conditions as prevailed during the three summer months of occupancy. The barracks had no running water.
A prisoner library made off from one end of the building. An office for Japanese personnel and a sick bay were added to the opposite end. Back of the barracks were separate buildings housing (1) a latrine. (2) a wash rack. (3) a galley. A stable and guardhouse also were In the prison compound.
(b) LATRINES: This camp had only one latrine - a separate building - 12 partitioned off-stalls or cubicles. Holes were cut through the wood floor, squatting type, and a cesspool underneath which overflowed nearly all the time. The prisoners were required to empty the cesspool by dipping out the offal. An open urinal was in the latrine building.
ROKU ROSHI, Page 2 of 2
(c) BATHING: The bath was a separate building 20' x 40' and it was equipped with two large concrete tubs from which the prisoners would dip water with wood buckets and bathe from them. The water in the prisoners pool was never heated.
(d) MESS HALL: All food was eaten in the barracks, hence there was no mess hall.
(e) FOOD: The average daily issue of food by the Japanese was about 400 grams per day per man of rice and other cereals mixed and boiled plus thin soup made from lily roots, water cress, and generally any green food that the prisoners could forage from the countryside. Quality of the cereal components was poor. The cooking was done by the American and Dutch prisoners with inadequate and poor utensils. Occasionally very small portions of fish and meat were served.
There was no mess gear. The ration was drawn from the kitchen by prisoner mess-men, taken to the barracks, dished into and eaten from tin cans The average caloric content was said to be between 1300 and 1500.
Lack of food and poor quality were the principal complaints of the prisoners.
(f) MEDICAL FACILITIES: One small sick bay making off from one end of the barracks was the substitute for the hospital. One Japanese corpsman construed the Japanese medical staff. Among the prisoners were three navy and one army doctors (all Americans) arid as staled under the caption "Prisoner Personnel" Capt, Lineberry arid Lt. Cmdr. Van
From the day of arrival of prisoners in this camp in June 1945. little or no medicaments and medical supplies were obtainable from the Japanese. One of the American medical officers said: "In July we received one of each of the two Red Cross standard medical chests (not the surgical dressing chest) and after a short time these medicines were completely turned over to us. From that time on we had sufficient medical stores until the end of the war."
(g) SUPPLIES: (1) Red Cross - YMCA - other relief. No food or next-of-kin parcels were received. (2) Japanese Issue: In addition to the five thin blankets issued by the Japanese, and before referred to in this report, the issue of clothing to the prisoners transferred from Zentsuji in June 1945. was withheld until after surrender. At that time each prisoner received a Japanese raincoat, slacks, blouse and shirt. Upon arrival of the 30-man detail arriving in May 1 945. these men were given one pair split-toe shoes, one pair of pants and one coat. The coats were said to have been removed from
(h) MAIL: (1) Incoming: A few prisoners received mail which had been forwarded from the Zentsuji camp. (2)
(i) WORK: All officers who were ambulatory were required to work on an agricultural project, such as preparing the ground, planting, etc., in addition to these tasks they were assigned menial work such as camp sanitation, emptying the
The enlisted men did the same work as the officers except their hours were longer and they were made to work regardless of weather conditions
(J) TREATMENT: The Japanese camp officials, probably sensing the approaching defeat, were more lenient than was the case at other Nip prisoner installations. Beatings were the exception rather than the rule. However two of the guards
The whole camp outfit was pronounced to be extremely unsatisfactory.
(k) PAY: (1) Officers: Same as Japanese officers of comparable grades, but there were reductions for food and savings. The maximum amount paid any officer was about 40 yen per month. (2) Enlisted Men: 10 to 25 sen per day.
(1) RECREATION: No athletic sports. A library furnished by the YMCA provided the recreation except for such group meetings as occurred in the compound where smoking was allowed. (I have never heard from any POW nor seen any reference to recreation or libraries in any POW camp in Japan other than in these reports put together a full year after the war ended.)
(m) RELIGIOUS ACTIVITIES: One room in the barracks was used for religious services on Sunday, There was no interference by the Japanese, Chief Chaplain of the camp. Commander Davis, U.S.N, conducted these observances,
(n) MORALE: High, The prisoners could hear the detonations from air raids and see at night the fires created in the Japanese towns and cities.
The entire camp was liberated on 8 Sept. 1945. The American prisoners were transported to Ono by truck, thence via train to Fukui and onward to Yokohoma in railroad chair cars The Japanese Red Cross women at Fukui served the prisoners with tea, hardtack and fruit, notwithstanding the 98% destruction of the city.
End of Report