The letter below was sent by Cpl James Somers to his wife living at that time (or maybe interned at that time) in Shangahi. The baby referred to is their son Michael, born in September 1941 in Peking. They lived in a house overlooking Peking. Michael Somers believes this letter was sent in September of 1942. The comment about hoping the war will be over soon backs that up-by September of 1943 the POWs would have known the US was in trouble and the war would not be over soon. A letter was also sent from Kiangwan in July of 43. In August 1943 he was sent to Japan with the group of about 500 from Woosung. He was apparently first sent to Kawasaki 5-D near Tokyo. The next letter came in 1944 and by that time Cpl Somers was in a POW camp near Nagasaki, a mining camp, he mentioned camp 13. From there they saw the bomb explode on 9 Aug 45. (If she sent any clothing he never received it.)
The first group of North China Marines left Shangjai for Japan the first week of November 1942. They were sent to Fukuoka 3-B on Kyushu island. The first card below had no date but is probably from late 42 or early 43. Other cards arrived in the US in April 44, Aug 44, Sep 44, and May 45. It is probable that these were the only postcards received by the family, but that does not mean they were the only ones written. The Japanese did not send or deliver all mail.
Below is the only post card which refers to having received mail. It arrived in the states 21 May 1945.
The Japanese would sometimes allow the POWs to record a message which was then broadcast on the radio. People in the US would hear these broadcasts and then write to the family of the POW reading his message. Doc's family received over 40 letters from people as far away as Iceland telling the family they had heard Doc's message. They were heard in the summer of 44 and then again in the summer of 45. Letter writers sometimes had Doc being captured on Wake Island and one even had him as a prisoner in Germany. The following two letters are especially heart rending. (There appears to be a problem with the letters below which I cannot fix. Part of a letter is missing and no matter where I search I cannot find it.)
The following letter gives details on how these recorded messages of the POWs were sent to the states.
Click below to go to Part Two of Letters and Documents
// Letters and Documents //