Diary of Arthur Seaforth Blackburn, April 1942 - November 1944, Part 9 of 26

Conflict:
Second World War, 1939–45
Part of Quest:
Subject:
  • War Diaries
Status:
Awaiting approval
Accession number:
AWM2020.22.18
Difficulty:
4

Page 1 / 5

31:42 4143 5143 6:1:43 21-43 9:1-:43 nor go trile te were pnce Hes any is several tares. Hore is of Briba lovce Oustratian Don Ictio Dublicepti Taps an mannly living in ls 9or Gulettry Tully ctriseldm a inside a grea ta whe las gava in sexe medy & have defare treated as Fansit troop & reeiving no pas & lle to write losers all singfo itse wfull aad ate Visited A1F 4ain Lingafre Apron 10000 togp in Large afto ol Galliglan Bo en& had garn with li. Tha met oe es cor ) discuad wi difficulties of braunt trook from fava, caup ce & avin aags when they adpted my cggetion that we should write anter & ask for intervew to discuss thase to ga diffcuienn afternoon vioited 11F doe agn san mary friends (includling ege ragner, m bati st in last war, now serving as a pudal in a trougat anie), bet cocol seggett, myor stoweot visited A8H& lod long yarn to coe summons, spent day irriting friends ollin arount are du wlle evening wext to Fnance & A1F cusert party which was busellent Handed in Teildon list of names of primers on Java 89 ad frther long Visited 415 cemating in morring yarns with officer of A1 F sug sant bas lane calloy is believe to heave ben clat n sumat after ip In which she was bein evecu een boedsu t sen you Heard that party of er Iavas malecting remedys put anxicars are dut to be on nothwards of ya confrence with Jap coundr as remested by us hold & arm weltly mest &e cn maring& were peent confeence casted about 1l & all our cuts wee pomised attation, exend w of visiting different cleps who I bear ane in this an aels bein visited by thm the freeon of t camps liberty to nave about are deligutfull. Hawe bood proslem is acute as ration is no thuf lite asgaod as in gair. wted an merally Kenedys his new moved fut on 8 1138 t Americhus, 800 men from to wooth g0inder de Dunlon ca ion vening of76 same all his officers excat Greener Rifer Ctt sore kinds were lee behind. H 70 men from no4 cohp also cae w. Aeport ncitentsnigaes sepr b ago e oe Dut tgoke shat. Hheve had now upper, denture made weilst here. Have been po woollen undersants long &11 winter a seep on ready for move. Havy bigfe went & we are due to move at 9.29 a n Whiles at Charge I want very fully sit to mestiong oe health & died deficences ofthe ROfwa tere assrlayed tet diclases & sicands di to ist deficing were definitel on te cuerease e obtained from the s8 a actaled mere which ceerly cleewed that only the arreval & distrebation of led cro goods from a Red Cvor ship in act 1942 lad seved a disector to the poss and as these cares were now indausted a manewall sickneases etc was to be enfocted and last in act conmensed. A copy of this report is amonget my papers bas been suplied to oprious prte alian officers. Wauld at clange I oblained a Critied patterp
243 Oske drew which conatitule to pnly we clos passes. We were aeso onsed with a pairo suc 45 unforpnts (long), a woollen sweeter & a thate cloth tall aver we llye change at 0830 hw on 10 Jary 43per Cortye were Arinen to be sleart where me; a ed aloard a transfort which oao aparonely onl awgite our amiase aat our in pact arrival it was caisent that we were late & fas al up a doarters be transtore was the Axe maree a fing nea nots vesd of about 10,000 ton. This was only der te trip and she was very cllan & seemed outrenel well was of the p appainted & fast Creugater tyse. our accomdetly was the steme as perisull nett be listire we wee y te upope os Den dechote peventes us gotting mee At fine tt was undearably bit. A sleat but was well enpreed not an nega ye eyallowed with the recuet that for 12013 ove E were in total Oladences We were allowe tho for a lort priod each day for wercise of first but beane roush a weatter soon carged it then kept down below for three days Dy sonitiry masking Arrangements were as pimiteis adusnel but a food was a little better. we we became coler& tan desinited cold. We aad an uneversful royage o arrived at 1041 in ye on 19 Jany 42 Abbut 1100 prson ao gary a Aca rlase roa dto we were pliosts & lar see try occuped two bours) an dle de alsi warn were te member sassua coucet be lad ovr ontertain 0r p ne coldion at Ayrar sces to conrite of eyal wory none a ealson t lves aroun bold woennbein i to wen. Hhe r wlip way emared of e were bowe datore lad very lige sides and we were unable to see oue at all vyding of ll barbor &e in landed at a swall landn in the midst of vast steel works. We were w & kilondres to a large building on a bil wel a town litterbart of ray or agee LPlen was a large barrack like pace t conerte and loaged es though it mige leave seen a lo mevey grane selool a an idustrial ool, We were poundon to Aiid 1or the weather was particular fold with a siting wind but there was no beatengern ie which was walis sbor &c building was fitted withe centroe neating apanntus afore we were dismied to our peoms we late re warned not to speale to any otherpriconc in the oullding. We were then sent & our romsa 15 per room. In each room was an troy bedsteed with a straw materas. Your blankets eace ifre povided Around the wall were two salves eash pabout 34 wide for our suggage. We cusqly exprtaied th about 300 awaid o 150 Indins wee prid on 4 se sloor as ow walents he the stal wirles the conditious of thes barelse were entremal uncomortale e water syste was aple turned an for are how early in the yorning. are hour in the evening as the sanitary arfangene were in the main cotrede and pn a ay water, there was a cnstant & se prifding isnt olatine which at tie was alod e cold was almost undearable out th f quite good - anyle nice wea wttle parley e
breakfer ronnied by a tist restale wl beng a lrge quantety t l at ance with te rom sour ne nired setter & a wish nete a rebeated at te may 2 i mp ofa unler lnd se vice s gter a regtee roly grently oralce fr iio nourealig & guite n plesst to eat, 20 bls the sameeas paras asot prisoners received. On th 21 ten capst to be ground feror to a big Acdirson and given a very acceptate ball. He b wte no in a big fiit rspire circular batk let into the floor yowe dised to water over onelt raasedo wasbed tlen wadter to cap off starding outside the Oatt on to seor tn we could clim ito the di which was as hoe was pssible to dear ich day con eow tapn t ts flet reof under guard for one Courspacie. (A beg wooden stren was oreted around th pof thi mnydting at all gopbon or sixe sted us from shore a steep rillude arose directly from the buildin We ead no contect with to other presoner (oue poue ery seee their conditins of living a nere prnte sou ay me rbd as i Dpnex authoritie a ae oprange a day f 10 p bey were excellout orange, mall nandar you robee out at about I eacl we egt to barracks- in weatler which was still sitterly aed in the morning of 35 dangas & were cowed out in barge to another inustot. Te againste two eoursg we were again unable to see angpting on the way, This transfat was much older & was iely to usual sort of quarterd one t the indeed ne were in t extreme ago so the our sleeping shelves o ccd sace coald not arrowe a noxt you all de cate prsons abreest as intente. Ao tl space was also smaller we was very miph mre cowded eer tan pen & most ofte Catun and to seep out on a draught hatcle dpr wisony a loaly draughth hatth love over thep. I. caugat a cold ila to reaching maje whpe has seen getting steadil worse & by now I dsent mnuch of my thing wuing. Almost every cof sale pssed with came includin a dng neuder of tig ioter landing Crept, it was sypiaet ever to nore do to the latrie attonodation (which was very tatequate areds of toa & consided of only thre places for many by insluting oitrel as e was prxci we were nt allowed up a deck wall se teis trip (eraye once for about t ler in the biter col winda for purposes of nature). He sam blackout iled Buoge that we has morelige conditons were ighe to see to maie w are o woup sailed fron 105 in a convay of 3ap othe si ebout 1400 lro on 86 day 43. We lad an unevetful ti reashed FioW o TARw in 54 Fam on 20 Jauy The barte at this port is very beautiful & very strongly psitioned natually haping a rose ae & conyectely dominated by lit 90 no soll avise entrance ta sall osayping ar shin bat the carle wee ver a to be entremes full of troopo & doesmere have bean a larg force de the disfernt trausferts We were infarmed that it would be upporsble, take our leavy oagg wal us wlen we lnded by a would Dules suth cme on to ug by a spate seme out not or & sast a wek after our arene at our Clestintin, we were gets up
that we bad a ex hilenatie narch to guole miay station, then a long train journey pon an so atnctre march to avother 26 anay aten ant ray couney we disenbarted on 31 te & a new guard trom our new camp took as oye from our old guard. We then navelel trough te streets of Talson en ront to te failion ste Te streets were dean, well paved & lied whot well built shop & houses. Tas Hap wene qarntle ang ntlly stocan thee been prticull display of very lussious looking freut, saveng water melous pomelowg rarges raw powsets Te an impection of se veyi whole town 9 date o thrroughty nodern. The street wihe excellent said out & paved & everyone well abceoaf baltly curiouse enoule nearly ove man wamen & child who were thronging th strete were clothed enterely in Eurogand. Te ati of e ppulace appared to be curiost out not oft all unfricendlinge, & at one of our paets a lady Granne dut a oucket of very colds fral wete & gave it to us to drink. we were npreted to a lange + very madem-looking railyay station our gaards Treating us frequently on the way, me aedat the station at 1740 ars (at 2er we were served with a le mal t rece reavoured to make a very saaty di, & be tea. At so0 hro we moved across & another plattering were put it a well aspiples rolten carrlago attacted to a long train ofye nyCcamporoe loshing carriages. unportuntel our sune ant leating accuadation for 72y our party ofto 74 i number englisshe of the pep guard Hosever a small wrode i was t satin to to stac received for the auer cvere of us p it turns to st on this. The carrease was by gowd but the rats were padded a naatable e started almest at once& transedd seew Seen your was iupsuble for wost pras agther beadred it the adofe seas being an was about two feet high. When dawn came eaw that he were cravelling througe) Ailly country which was aparently very be cutitedThe rway sata l alted at frequent intervals during t wole wip were all modern & well built aaac prosproust ousy willage or town Coole soon after dawn we ever s wal buckets of bet sen tea at a staton a Hhe same time with two packets of food wrapped up in bandoo leaves, one for erebfast emle, soey contained upe cool on ric giny + sawe tasty naterial like mod 106 at about o hro we changed crains of a station He name of which I do not know & from n ced up wou mountain wantya vy. There seemed to be muph very beautiful mining activily gaing an. At wout 1130 pro we reached te tetjous of the raie as a wall efe hore whan we had assenbled an t peatfe we were informed that there head seep a cha as plans & that we were to be taken from there our destination ay instorans, bein permitted take with no and a menuum of prssnal it rowe hand eugrage - one blailet ane tltre reca burfie repacting on the station plactere we fedre lepen
carched to arbuilding on Es outshirs of the senall town camying the balauce your luggage wlitale was ceen put into a pile to can by & be delivered to uo rent day. me had pur adh in this building being ised with ample hat ea The inlbitants of the town were suplous t see in out nt at all nastile- in fact I fanded that I detected many cympataitie looks riles at about 1500 avs five ouses arraxd for us. They were all Americin nateescevspte wee camportably fitted up holding 15-16 ech wp then drove of along a rad cue out apcle pade a mountains & clipp sirting the past gat of Lawan, this road to a wonderful feat as is rens for at last 50-70 miles but but of see mountauiside almoxt continuously & in places with a ear drop nto the opan und sest below Every now ollaw it despended put a valley + crossed a never alwesay a suspension bridge accasionall we papsed toun a tinel cut togh the face ofthe cas we annived at our prisan nuch at about 1915 liss, ree were at ance lined up in a sig agated sare He tam commandant addreased us through tn interpretoy, inressing upon us that an exectinet would desend upon our belaviour+ that anxoye be bood was not perleape that to whllh we were accustomed we must put up with it) wild te as grave rasible. He den read ousta whe e said every one of us must sign. te was to the expect that we pronised on our Rong: diste obede to every neppn order & tat we would wele no atcempt to essape. The senior Driti a present a vy waetly endeavoured to anetlu eee this lates proviston was contrary to our long rorder frm our king c cou called out Cl Searle, be only Amergain officer present who signd the form was next clled ordered to sim nbut a signative to such a document was contrany personal honors that I could only son sam underocet die asked wre te fnelty eis did not sin same. I was cunedi 30 ste down by the cemp coudl & enterpet& ordered to sign without question or depiur. Ia said weat will be be reuelty is I do be sign any coude stiouted you will de we vendety is s called up & equed pouitle adfiin guart bouse. I was seized ay seal from all a Bertry armed wide nyle & Dayonet & Ayatted) of to the guard bouse. On the way my ge a whise I ead around my reck was ten of thrown on the ground. on arrival at the guardboue I was ngaly odered of cnpt my is saoes & colle. wait packets & take of came aow the suerd og so a nith house give an a in rapane. Hesenti wa wee helding we + noping off my clothes stopes sad officer steped tdse supti wat was caming I repred off my epostades & put them on the tase at ei ead set say when the officer stepped up to me struch ing violent blow on the jaw with his eferished fist He repited this several times freing up graduall back until I stubled aver said lases in the coertnstappd bac & the seri seed me again + continued stryping off py clottes

not go outside the wire fence.  The camp is very
extensive & covers several acres.  There is a British section
Australian section, Indian section & Dutch section. And
Troops are mainly living in barracks & other military buildings.
Jap sentries seldom go inside the camp area.  Party
who left Java in Sept (Kennedy & Co) have been here ever since
treated as transit troops & receiving no pay or liberty to
write letters etc.  Singapore itself is woefully "dead" & deserted.
[*3.1.43.*] Visited AIF H.Q in Singapore. Approx. 10000 troops in charge
of Lt Col O'Gallighan (30th Bn) & had yarn with him.  Then
met Lt Col Holmes (Malay Command) & discussed with him
difficulties of transit troops from Java. Conference
with him & AVM Maltby C in C (Ter Porten) Col. Searle (USA)
when they adopted my suggestion that we should write
to Jap. Commander & ask for interview to discuss these
difficulties. In afternoon visited AIF area again &
saw many friends (including Sgt Wagner, my Platoon
Sgt in last war, now serving as a private in a transport
unit). Met Lt Col Leggett, Major Stevens etc.
[*4-1-43.*] Visited AGH & had long yarn to Col Simmons.  Spent
day visiting friends & strolling around area.  In
evening went to performance of "Cinderella" by
AIF concert party which was excellent. Handed in
list of names of prisoners on Java to 2nd echelon, 
[*5.1.43.*]  Visited AIF cemetery in morning & had further long
yarns with officers of AIF Singapore H.Q. in Singapore area.
learnt that Lanie Ogilvy is believed to have been shot
on Sumatra after ship on which she was being
evacuated had been bombed & sunk. Met Len Evans.
Heard that party of ex Java's including Kennedy's party &
Americans are due to go on northwards on 7th.
[*6.1.43.*] Conference with Jap. Commdr. as requested by us held
this morning. Gen Ter Poorten, AVM Maltby, myself & Col Searle
were present.  Conference lasted about 1½ hrs & all our
points were promised attention.  Spend most of my time
visiting different chaps who I hear are in this
camp or else being visited by them.  The freedom of the
camp & liberty to move about are delightful.  However
food problem is acute as ration is nothing like as good
as in Java.
[*7-1-43 - 9-1-43.*] Visited camp generally. Kennedy & his men moved out
on 7-1-43 & the Americans. 800 men from Bat. mostly
MGs under Col Dunlop came in on evening of 7th Col
Lyneham & all his officers except Greiner Piefer Brettingler,
Moore & Hands were left behind.  Houston & McKenzie &
70 men from No 4 camp also came in.  Report ugly
incident 2 nights before they left when one Dutchman
was bayoneted & one shot.  Have had new upper
denture made whilst here.  Have been issued with
1 pullover, 1 woollen underpants long & 1 winter
slip on ready for move.  Heavy luggage went
today & we are due to move at 9.30 a.m tomorrow.
Whilst at Changi I went very fully into the question of
general health & diet deficiences of the P.O.Ws
there.  I ascertained that diseases & sickness due to
diet deficiency were definitely on the increase.
We obtained from the SMO a detailed report which
clearly shewed that only the arrival & distribution
of Red Cross goods from a Red Cross ship in Oct
1942 had saved a disaster to the troops and as
these supplies were now exhausted, a renewal of
sicknesses etc was to be expected and had in
fact commenced.  A copy of this report is amongst
my papers & has been supplied to various British
& Australian officers.
Whilst at Changi I obtained a British pattern

 

battledress which constitutes the only warm clothing I
possess.  We were also issued with a pair of thick woollen
underpants (long), a woollen sweater & a khaki cloth
pull over.
[*10-1-43 - 31-2-43.*] We left Changi at 0830 hrs on 10 Jany 43 per lorry &
were driven to the wharf where we were loaded rushed
aboard a transport which was apparently only awaiting
our arrival to sail - in fact from the excitement at our
arrival it was evident that we were late & had held up
the departure.  The transport was the Aki Maru, a fine new
motor vessel of about 10,000 tons.  This was only her third
trip and she was very clean & seemed extremely well
appointed & fast.  She was of the passenger-carrying
freighter type.  Our accomodation was the same as previously
except that this time we were aft & the superstructure
of the sun-deck etc prevented us getting much ventilation.
At first it was unbearably hot.  A black-out was
strictly enforced - not even night lights being allowed
with the result that for 12 or 13 years hours every night we
were in total blackness.  We were allowed up on deck
for a short period each day for exercise at first but
the weather soon changed & it became rough & we were
then kept down below for three days.  The sanitary &
washing arrangements were as primitive as usual but
the food was a little better.  The weather gradually
became cooler & then definitely cold.  We had an
uneventful voyage & arrived at MOJI in Japan
on 19 Jany 43.  About 1100 hrs on 20 Jany after health
examination, glass rod etc we were put into a barge
& towed ashore.  The trip occupied two hours.  On the
Aki Maru were the members of a Japanese concert
party who had been entertaining the Japanese soldiers at
different places.  It consisted of several women & some
men & they all lived just as we did, sleeping on mats on
its shelves around a hold, the women not being in any
way screened off from the men.  The barge upon which
we were towed ashore had very high sides and we
were unable to see out at all or to see anything of the
harbor.  We were landed at a small landing stage
in the midst of vast steel works.  We were then marched
[*three*] six Kilometres to a large building on a hill overlooking
a town - either part of Moji or adjacent thereto.  The building
was a large barrack-like place of concrete and looked
as though it might have been a large military or naval
school or an industrial school.  We were housed on
the third floor.  The weather was particularly cold with
a biting wind but there was no heating arrangement
whatever which was working although the whole
building was fitted with central heating apparatus
(steam).  Before we were dismissed to our rooms we
were warned not to speak to any other prisoners
in the building.  We were then sent to our rooms - approx
15 per room.  In each room was an iron bedstead
with a straw mattress. Four blankets each were provided.
Around the wall were two shelves each about 3 ft
wide for our luggage.  We subsequently ascertained that
about 300 American & 150 Indians were housed on
the same floor as ourselves & were working in the
steel works.  The conditions of these barracks were
extremely uncomfortable.  The water system was only
turned on for one hour early in the morning &
one hour in the evening.  As the sanitary arrangements
were in the main corridor and were only flushed
by water, there was a constant & all pervading stink
of latrines which at times was almost overpowering.
The cold was almost unbearable but the food was
quite good - ample rice, mixed with barley, at

 

breakfast, accompanied by a thick vegetable soup usually
containing a large quantity of soya beans.  At lunch we were
served with the mornings soup & rice mixed together to a
thick mixture & reheated.  At night we again had ample
rice & either thick soup of a similar kind to the morning
or else fish & vegetable soup. Generally speaking it was very
nourishing & quite appe pleasant to eat.  It was I believe
the same (as far as the morning & evening meal went) as the other
prisoners received.  On the 21st we were taken downstairs
to the ground floor to a big bathroom and given a very
acceptable hot bath.  The hot water was in a big
circular bath let into the floor & one dipped into this, poured
the water over onself & soaped & washed & then washed
the soap off, standing outside the bath on the floor.  Then
we could climb into the bath which was as hot as it
was possible to bear.  Each day (except one) we were taken up
to the flat roof under guard for one hour's exercise.  A
big wooden screen was erected around the roof & this
prevented us from seeing anything at all except on one side
where a steep hillside arose directly from the building..
We had no contact with the other prisoners but from what
we saw their conditions of living were very severe. (separate report)
Whilst at Maji Moji we were permitted to buy through
the Japanese authorities a case of oranges a day for 10 yen.
They were excellent oranges, small mandarin type & worked
out at about 8 each.
We left the barracks - in weather which was still
bitterly cold - in the morning of 25 Jany 43 & were towed
out in barges to another transport.  The trip again took
two hours & we were again unable to see anything on the
way.  This transport was much older & was very crowded
indeed.  We were in the usual sort of quarters but in the
extreme aft so that our sleeping shelves got steadily
narrower & most of the sll sleeping space could not
accomodate two persons abreast as intended.  As the total
space was also smaller, we were very much more
crowded even than previously & most of the batmen
had to sleep out on a draughty hatch cover with only
a leaky draughty hatch cover over them.  I had
caught a cold prior to reaching Moji which had been
getting steadily worse & by now I spent much of my
time coughing.  Almost every inch of the deck space was
packed with cargo including a large number of big
motor landing craft & it was difficult even to move about
to the latrine accomodation (which was very inadequate
& consisted of only three places for many hundreds of troops
including ourselves. As there was no room for exercise
we were not allowed up on deck at all during all
this trip (except once for about ½ hr in a bitterly cold
wind & for purposes of nature).  The same blackout
conditions prevailed except that we had night lights
which gave just enough light to see to move. We
sailed from MOJI in a convoy of 3 or 4 other ships
about 1400 hrs on 26 Jan 43.  We had an uneventful
trip & reached TAKOW or TAIKOW in SW Formosa
on 30 Jany.  The harbor at this port is very beautiful
& very strongly positioned naturally having a
narrow entrance & completely dominated by hill
high ground both at the entrance & at the
back.  The harbor was very full of shipping.  Each ship
seemed to be extremely full of troops & there must have
been a large force assembled on the different transports.
We were informed that it would be impossible to
take our heavy baggage with us when we landed but
same would subsequently come on to us by a smaller
steamer but not for at least a week after our
arrival at our destination.  We were also informed

 

that we had a six kilometre march to another railway
station, then a long train journey, then another six
kilometre march to another steamer & then another
railway journey.  We disembarked on 31 Jany & a
new guard from our new camp took us over
from our old guard.  We then marched through
the streets of Takow en route to the railway station.
The streets were clean, well paved & lined with
well built shops & houses.  The shops were apparently
plentifully stocked, there being particularly plentiful
displays of very luscious looking fruit, banana
water melons  pomelows, oranges paw-paws etc. The
whole town gave an impression of being very up-to
date & thoroughly modern.  The streets were excellently
laid out & paved & everyone well dressed &
healthy.  Curiously enough nearly every man
woman & child who were thronging the streets
were clothed entirely in European dress.  The attitude
of the populace appeared to be curiosity, but not
at all unfriendliness & at one of our halts a lady
brought out a bucket of very cold fresh water
& gave it to us to drink.  We were marched to a
large & very modern-looking railway station
our guards resting us frequently on the way.  We
arrived at the station at 1740 hrs.  At 1900 hrs
we were served with a hot meal of rice
flavoured to make a very tasty dish, & hot
tea.  At 2000 hrs we moved across to another
platform & were put into a well appointed & clean
carriage attached to a long train of very comfortable
looking carriages.  Unfortunately our carriage only had
seating accomodation for 72 & our party was 74 in
number exclusive of the Jap guard. However a
small wooden form was brought in to the space
reserved for the guard & several of us took it in
turns to sit on this.  The carriage was very crowded
but the seats were padded & reasonably comfortable.
We started almost at once & travelled all night.
Sleep, of course, was impossible for most of us as there
was no headrest etc, the back of the seats being only
about two feet high.  When dawn came we
saw that we were travelling through hilly
country which was apparently very highly
cultivated.  The railway stations at which we
halted at frequent intervals during the whole
trip were all modern & well built & each
village or town looked prosperous & busy.
Soon after dawn we were issued with two
buckets of hot, green tea at a station & at
the same time with two packets of food
wrapped up in bamboo leaves, one for breakfast
& one for lunch.  They contained well cooked
rice, ginger & some tasty material like meal paste.
At about 0800 hrs we changed trains at a station
the name of which I do not know & from then
on climbed up through mountain country amidst
very beautiful scenery.  There seemed to be much
mining activity going on.  At about 1130 hrs we
reached the terminus of the rail at a small sea
port.  When we had assembled on the platform
we were informed that there had been a change
of plans & that we were to be taken from there to
our destination by motor-bus, being permitted
to take with us only a minimum of personal
hand luggage - one blanket, one towel & our
toilet- requisites.  This necessitated a very hurried
repacking on the station platform. We were then

 

marched to a building on the outskirts of the small
town, carrying the balance of our luggage which
was then put into a pile to come on by lorry
& be delivered to us next day.  We had our lunch
in this building being issued with ample hot
tea.  The inhabitants of the town were curious to see
us but not at all hostile - in fact I fancied
that I detected many sympathetic looks & smiles.
At about 1500 hrs five buses arrived for us.
They were all American makes - Chevs etc - & were
comfortably fitted up, holding 15 - 16 each.  We
then drove off along a road cut out of the side
of the mountains & cliffs skirting the east coast
of Taiwan.  This road is a wonderful organizing engineering
feat as it runs for at least 60 - 70 miles cut
out of the mountainside almost continuously & in
places with a sheer drop into the ocean hundreds
of feet below.  Every now & then it descended into
a valley & crossed a river - always by a
suspension bridge. Occasionally we passed through
a tunnel cut through the face of the cliff.  We
arrived at our prison camp at about 1915 hrs. We
were at once lined up in a big lighted square
& the Camp Commandant addressed us through an
interpreter, impressing upon us that our treatment
would depend upon our behaviour & that although
the food was not perhaps that to which we were
accustomed, we must put up with it, with the
best grace possible.  He then read out a form
which he said every one of us must sign.  It was
to the effect that we promised "on our honor" instant
obedience to every Nippon order & that we would make
no attempt to escape.  The Senior British Officer
present, AVM Maltby endeavoured to explain that
this latter provision was contrary to our honor
& our orders from our King. The Camp Comdt then
called out Col Searle, the only American Officer
present, who signed the form.  I was next called out
& ordered to sign.  I endeavoured to explain that my
signature to such a document was contrary to my
personal honor & that I could only sign same
under protest & duress.  I asked what the penalty would
be if I did not sign same.  I was immediately
shouted down by the Camp Comdt & Interpreter &
ordered to sign without question or demur.  I again
said "What will be the penalty if I do not sign?" The
Camp Comdt shouted "you will see what the
penalty is" & called up a squad from the adjacent
guard house.  I was seized by each arm by a 
sentry armed with rifle & bayonet & bustled off
to the guard house.  On the way my blanket roll
which I had around my neck was torn off &
thrown on the ground.  On arrival at the
guardhouse I was roughly ordered to empty my
pockets & take off my shoes & clothes.  Whilst
doing so a Nippon guard officer came across to the guard
house & gave an order in Japanese.  The sentries who
were holding me & ripping off my clothes, stepped back
& the officer stepped towards me.  Suspecting what
was coming I ripped off my spectacles & put them
on the table at my side.  I had just got them off
when the officer stepped up to me & struck me a
violent blow on the jaw with his clenched fist.
He repeated this several times forcing me gradually
back until I stumbled over some boxes in the
corner.  He then stepped back & the sentries seized
me again & continued stripping off my clothes 

 

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Marisa BortolottoMarisa Bortolotto
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