CSS Tabbed Menus Css3Menu.com

September 25, 2009

Chico Enterprise Record
November 5, 1945
Myers Father, Son Saga In Japanese Prison Camp Not Soothing Bedtime Story
By Gene Davis
The Myers father and son saga covering 44 months in Japanese prisons of war does not sound like a southing bedtime story. Yet Charles Myers, 49, and his son Leroy, 25, have related only some of the milder details of their imprisonment. Continued from last week. . During the attack on Wake, the Americans had cached their food under bushes all over the island. The Japanese collected the loot and fed it to their prisoners because they were afraid it might have been thrown out as poison bait for them. Canned prunes raviolis, spam, mincemeat, Japanese hardtack rotten fish and rice comprised the principal diet of the Wake Island prisoners. Only two of the 350 prisoners died. A third prisoner died under the Japanese executioner’s sword. The man was accused of breaking into the canteen at night and stealing candy and wine. Because he refused to name his accomplices he was executed before a group of the prisoners who were forced to watch as the American knelt blindfolded beside his own grave. On September 29, 1942 all but 98 of the American prisoners on Wake were transferred to a camp on the island of Kyushu in Japan. The Japanese say two of the men left on Wake made their escape in a small boat. They were later picked up near Truk and executed. No word has ever come from the other 96 men and the Japanese have made no report on their fate. Myers and his son descried conditions in the two Kyushu camps where they were held as “nearly unbearable.” “For the first six months we had no salt. Our systems became so run down we couldn’t assimilate the sparse food value in the vile stuff they passed out to us. At first we had three bowls of rice and a small piece of rotten fish each day. At night they fed us a thin vegetable gruel. After the first six months we only had fish about three times a week and the rice was mixed with soy beans that were only partially cooked. The Japanese fish is really something to avoid. Many of the men simply could not eat it even though they were starving. The Japanese do not clean their fish but boil them whole-including head, tail and entrails. By the time the prisoners received the fish it had rotted and was the most sickening mess anyone can imagine” “ At Camp 18 on Kyushu we worked 12 hours a day constructing a water dam. Prisoners would come in off their work detail and within three hours drop dead from exhaustion and starvation. Not. Until we were moved to Camp 1 on April 16, 1944, were we allowed medical attention from a doctor.” Myers and his son suffered beri beri and are still under medical care for physical defects resulting from malnutrition and beatings from Japanese prison guards. The Chicans described the Japanese as masters of sadism. “The Japanese’ favorite sport was beating their prisoners. If one prisoner committed what the Japanese considered a crime, the entire squad of prisoners received a beating. The beatings were administrated from the waist to the ankles and were as severe as the Nips could make them without breaking bones. If the prisoner collapsed during the flogging he was soundly kicked as he lay unconscious. The first year and a half we were without an interpreter so we learned Japanese orders in a hurry to avoid beatings.”
(to be continued)

Stu’s Notes: Seventy of the most patriotic people in Oroville stood on the steps of our beautiful Veteran’s Memorial Hall last Friday to honor our over 100,000, Missing in Action Military Men and Women and the Ten’s of thousands that were held as Prisoners of War since our Revolution. An outstanding performance was done by all involved in the program. The main focus of the evening being the Missing Man Table, a very solemn and meaningful ceremony. The following is from fortyandeight.org/pow_mia.htm; “ The table is set for six, for each of the following Army, Marine, Air force, Navy, Coast Guard and Civilian. The Table cloth is white, symbolizing the purity of their intentions to respond to their county’s call to arms. The single rose displayed in the vase reminds us of the families and friends of our missing brothers who keep faith while awaiting their return. The red ribbon tied prominently on the vase reminds us of the red ribbons worn on the lapels and brothers who are not among us tonight. A slice of lemon on the plate reminds us of their bitter fate. Salt sprinkled on the plate reminds us of the countless fallen tears of families as they wait. The glass is inverted – they cannot toast with us this night. The chair is empty – they are not here. The candle is reminiscent of the light of hope which lives in our hearts to light the way home; away from their captors to the open arms of a grateful nation. Let us pray.”