October 31, 2014
More from Charles Leroy Myers (Chico High School Graduate and Prisoner
of War, Wake Island 1941)
“After Capture, continued”
I started trading my rice and soup meals
for an extra loaf of bread. I caught rain water to drink. I ate
only barley bread and water. After a week to ten days, my dysentery
stopped. I could not pass anything for several days afterwards.
I then started gaining weight and strength. Don’t tell me that you
are being punished when in jail: you are put on bread and water.
There were so many sad things that happened almost every day in
Camp 18 in Sesabo and to a lesser amount in Camp 1 at Fukuoka. I
have tried to remember a few situations that happened to my father
and I. Most of the reports by other men will only be situations
as experienced by others or all in our camp. My father surely saved
my life by holding me back when my ideas could cause us to be punished.
I gave a new guard the finger thinking that he didn’t know what
it meant. He took me to my father and gave my father hell. He said
that a father should teach his son better. The guard then proceeded
to beat my father for several minutes with a club. The guard then
turned his attention to me. He beat the hell out of me with the
same warmed up club. Then the guard left us. My father said, “Son,
you need to be more careful and don’t let your feeling get control
of you, you could get us both killed.” My answer was, “Dad, do you
remember when I was ten years old and stole the girl’s jump rope
from school? Then I lied and said the rope fell off a truck.” My
older brother came home and said someone had taken the girl’s jump
rope tied to a tree. My father gathered a large handful of wild
grape vine branches. He said, “Son, I would not beat you if you
had not lied to me.” He then put welts on my backside all the way
down to my heels. He then made me take the rope back to the principal.
In those days, you never wanted to go see the principal. My dad
said, “Yes, I remember it well, why did you ask?” I replied, “Now
we’re even.” He started to laugh, then we both were laughing. You
know a little humor can take a lot of pain away, even if only for
a few minutes. Camp I, the grass shacks: We started loading dirt
for fill at the airport. After a few days they needed equipment
operators. My father and I were given the job of running the large
roller compactor to press the fill dirt tightly together. Because
we had no official interpreter at Camp 18 for eighteen months, we
were forced to learn some Japanese. At Camp 18, we had civilian
guards as work foremen with clubs and regular Navy guards with rifles
over us. When they transferred us to Camp #1, we knew enough Japanese
to have an advantage over the other prisoners…US and Javanese. The
camp had an English Officer in the camp as trouble shooter for all
prisoners. At the airport we had access to the Japanese truck drivers
hauling supplies. I sold my food rations to get yen. With money,
I was able to get better food and other goods from several of the
Japanese truck drivers. Most of my loot was stashed under the raised
flooring and blankets. The camp had enough men to work 12 hours
on several jobs. Our guards in camp were older men, either injured
or no longer on regular duty. The loved to take turns coming in
one end of the barracks. Everyone would stand and bow as a salute.
After we sat back down, another guard would come in from the other
end. They kept doing this until someone would not get up. They would
then beat up those who refused to stand and bow.
(to be continued) .
“Oroville Gentle Dentistry, 2014 5th Avenue, Oroville CA is proud
to offer a Free Exam and Cleaning for Veterans. Sponsoring Oroville
Veteran’s Memorial Park. Come enjoy America’s Favorites; Hot Dogs,
Apple Pie & Chevrolet Wear your colors, share stories and enjoy
great company. Veteran’s Day November 11th, 2014 8AM-5PM 533-8204
Call today to reserve your appointment. Next week I hope to have
names of the Restaurants that are offering free meals to the Veterans.
Just have your Veteran ID’s ready. Free dentistry for Veterans on
Veteran’s Day. Oroville Dentist, Dr. Sims Lowry will be providing
free dental services on Veterans’ Day, November 11,2014 as a service
to those who have served our country in the military. A Veteran
himself Dr. Lowry is pleased to provide free services which can
be completed on the same day, such as fillings, extractions etc.
Veterans wishing to take advantage of these services should call
Dr. Lowry’s office at 534-5940 and be prepared to show either their
Military ID or DD214. Services provided on a first come first serve
bases. Be sure to see the Parade before or after you go to enjoy
the hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet. Veteran’s Day November 11
at 11AM from Feather River Blvd down Montgomery Street. Review stand
will be at the City Chamber of Commerce Office. Hope to see you
there. My pen was tired tonight. Happy Halloween!