The capital city of Guam, located on the central west coast of the island.
Guam was given the name Omiya Jima by the Japanese occupation forces.
Indonesian island off the southwest coast of Ceram in southern Maluku [Moluccas]
Islands. As part of the Netherlands East Indies [Nederlands Indië], it was
called Amboyna. It was defended by 1,100 Australians, 400 Dutchmen and about
5,000 native troops. Upon capture by the Japanese forces, Imperial Naval
Forces murdered over 200 prisoners by beheading. The massacre occurred on or
about 24 February 1942. Other prisoners were retained for slave labor in the
building of two airfields at Lahang and Laha. On 25 October 1942, 263
Australians and 245 Dutch sailed on the Taikio Maru and, after 11 days at
sea, landed at Hashow on the island of Hainan on 5th November.
Areas of POW Commands within Japan proper were located in the
following cities: Hakodate, Sendai, Nagoya, Tokyo, Osaka, Hiroshima and
Fukuoka. In each location, a central or main camp was responsible for the
administration of up to 30 or more camps during the war. Camps were
frequently moved and renamed, particularly in the last 10 months due to the
damage of the air raids. For a detail of all the camps, refer to the Wes
Injerd Chart of Camps.
Japanese freighter, 6686 tons, was torpedoed by US submarine USS
Snook about 200 miles off the southeast China coast on 24 October 1944.
The Arisan Maru departed Manila on 11 October 1944 with 1800 POWs on
board and anchored for a few days near Palawan. After returning to Manila
for more provisions, it set sail again with 1777 prisoners. So far, 23
prisoners had already died. After the sinking, a group of 5 prisoners was
rescued by Chinese fishermen. It is known that two others were rescued by
the Japanese and one other man made it to shore and was rescued.
(West)-Orion (East) Line
The second major line of defense established after the Americans
pulled back from the Abucay-Mauban Defense line on 26 January 1942, to the
new defensive line, the Bagac-Orion Line, placed across the entire width of
the peninsula north of Mount Bataan. Forces were able to repulse a series of
early Japanese attacks and some attempted amphibious landings [Battle of the
Points - Quinauan and Agloma Points on the west side of lower Bataan] until
early March when the Japanese forces stopped for rest and replenishment. The
attacks resumed on 3 April 1942 and the defense line collapsed on 7 April
1942. General King, now commander of all forces on Bataan, surrendered his
army on 9 April 1942.
Japanese term for “counting off” in numerical sequence while taking
a roll call [tenko]
Term used to describe the forced march of an estimated 70,000
captured American and Filipino prisoners on the south end of the Bataan
Peninsula to a rail station at San Fernando, some sixty miles to the north.
After their surrender on 9 April 1942, an estimated 1200 American and 10,000
Filipino soldiers, already weak from malaria and severely reduced rations,
perished from abuse and deliberate murder. Prisoners were force marched with
little or no rest for up to six days from their point of capture. Denied
food or water, men collapsed from exhaustion and were shot, bayoneted or
beheaded where they dropped. Prisoners suffered under very high temperatures
and high humidity. At San Fernando, they were packed into hot metal boxcars
and delivered to Capas. The boxcars were packed so densely that if a man
died, he remained standing until arrival.
Peninsula on the north side of Manila Harbor entrance. American and
Filipino troops held out here for over four months against the forces of
Japanese General Masaharu Homma. The American, forces, led by General Edward
P. King, surrendered on 9 April 1942.
Dutch name for the current city of Jakarta. This was the capital of
First major defeat for the Japanese Navy when their invasion fleet
was ambushed by three carriers (Enterprise, Yorktown and Hornet) while
preparing to attack and invade Midway Island. Four Japanese aircraft
carriers, the Akagi, Kaga, Hiryu and Soryu, were sunk along with a battle
cruiser, the Mikuma. The American Navy lost one carrier, the USS Hornet.
American intelligence had broken the Japanese codes which enabled the
Slang Japanese for toilet or bathroom.
POW Camp located on the outskirts of Batavia was the home of the
Tenth Battalion Bicycle Force of the Netherlands East Indies Army. Most of
the prisoners were subsequently sent to work on the Burma-Thailand Death
Railway. Notable amongst the detainees were the survivors of the USS
Houston, the 131st Field Artillery [The Lost Battalion], remnants
of the RAF and major Dutch forces.
Civilian prison in south-east central Manila used by the Japanese to
house Allied POWs during the war. The prison was also used as a “way point”
for POWS in transit through Manila for transport to Japan and Manchuria. The
camp was liberated in 4 February 1945 by elements of 1st Cav. Div. Under
Brig. Gen. William Chase.
[Second ship known as Brazil Maru. First ship sunk 29
July1942 near Truk by submarine USS Greenling] One of two Hell Ships
[Enoura Maru was the other] that carried many of the survivors of the
Oryoku Maru from Luzon via Taiwan to Moji, Japan. The Brazil Maru
departed Manila on 27 December 1944 with 250 POW and five died in transit.
At Takao, the survivors of the Enoura Maru were transferred to the Brazil
Maru which departed Takao on 14 January 1945 and arrived at Moji on 29
Thailand Death Railway- Railroad built by prisoner and conscripted
native laborers [Romushas] to cross the Malay peninsular, connecting the
port of Bangkok on the Gulf of Thailand (Siam) to the port of Moulmein on
the Gulf of Martaban. The railway was intended to cut thousands of miles in
shipping to supply the Japanese forces in the Rangoon-Burma theater by
cutting across the top of the Malay Peninsular. It is estimated that over
200,000 men died in the building of the railway. It is said that, “one man
died for every sleeper laid.”
Site of two partially constructed Philippine Army training camps
that was used as a POW Camp. The first site was abandoned within a month as
the facilities were unlivable and the men were transferred to Cabanatuan #3,
some eight miles east of Capas. Prisoners were transferred here directly
from Corregidor and, a few weeks later when relocated to #3, from Camp
Camp Murphy was the site of the Philippine Infantry School in Rizal,
approximately 20 kilometers each of Manila. The Japanese expanded the runway
at Zabalan Field with slave labor. Most of the men were transferred here
from the Lipa detail. In September of 1944, the remaining men were
transferred to Bilibid for transport to Japan.
Rail station used to transfer POWS to and from O’Donnell and
Cabanatuan POW Camps.
City, peninsular and Naval station on the south side of Manila Bay,
directly south of Corregidor Island.
Indonesian islands directly south of the Philippines, now known as
Sulawesi. Major POW and civilian internment camps were located at Makassar.
Most of the Allied POWS were survivors of the Java sea battles in March of
Area designated at a major prison camp for survivors of the battle
for Malaya and Signapore. Prison was also used as transit point for men sent
to the Death Railway and other labor camps in the NEI and Japan.
Site of first carriers versus carriers battle between American and Japanese forces,
fought in the waters southwest of the Solomon Islands and eastward from New
Guinea. The Japanese fleet was in transit for an attack and seizure of the
Port Moresby area. Although the Americans lost a carrier [USS Lexington
CV-2], the battle on 7,8,9 May 1942, was considered a victory since it
slowed the Japanese advance against Australia and severely damaged two
Japanese carriers that were thence unable to participate in the Midway
Fortress island guarding the entrance to Manila Bay. Under
continuous bombardment after the surrender of the Bataan peninsula [9 April
1942], the island was surrendered by General Wainright on 6 May 1942.
Although the city of Manila was seized by the Japanese on 25 December 1941,
the port was not usable until Corregidor was taken.
Abbreviation for “Davao Penal Colony”, a POW farm labor camp.
Small port city on southeast coast of Mindanao. The POW camp was
located some ten miles northwest of the port.
Sixteen Army bombers, under the command of Lt. Colonel Doolittle, took off from
the deck of the USS Hornet and bombed the cities of Tokyo, Nagoya, Kobe and
Osaka. All but one crew escaped Japanese imprisonment. Three of the flyers
were executed. The raid severely embarrassed the military and forced a
change of Japanese strategy. The decision was then made to seize Midway
rather than invade Australia.
One of two Hell Ships that carried the survivors of the Oryoku
Maru from Luzon via Taiwan to Moji, Japan. The Enoura Maru
departed on 27 December 1944 with some 1070 POW and 316 died in transit or
during the attack by fighter and bomber planes in Takao on 9 January 1945.
Survivors were transferred to the Brazil Maru.
Also known as “El Fraile” was a reinforced concrete
battleship-shaped structure that measured 350 feet by 144 feet.
Fortress island north of Cavite and south of Corregidor in Manila
Southern island in the Solomon Islands. American forces invaded on 7
August 1942 in order to prevent the establishment of a Japanese airfield
that threatened the supply routes to Australia. After months of heavy
fighting, the Japanese Army withdrew Japanese to be evacuated from Cape
Esperance on 8 February 1943. American forces, with over 1750 men killed in
action, declared victory the following day. The Japanese lost over 27,000
soldiers and airmen.
Southernmost island in the Mariana Island chain. Shaped like a
footprint, it was almost 22 miles long and 7 miles at the widest. Over 5500
Japanese forces attacked before dawn on 10 December 1941, quickly
overwhelming the less than 250 US Marines and some 300 Navy men. An
estimated 200 Japanese soldiers died in the assault that killed under 20
Americans and Guam natives. American forces returned to liberate Guam in
Name given to the Japanese ships used to carry prisoners between
places of capture and labor camps throughout the Japanese Empire. The
Japanese refused to mark the ships as carrying POWS hence many were sunk
with massive loss of lives.
Northern Island of Japan and center for the Hakodate POW Camps. Main
camps were in Muroran, Sapporo and Asahigawa areas. Separated from Honshu by
the Tsugaru Strait.
Known as the “Poet General”, General Homma was convicted by an
Allied Military Tribunal of war crimes, particularly the atrocities of the
Bataan Death March and subsequent atrocities at the POW camps in O'Donnell
and Cabanatuan. General Homma was executed on 3 April 1946 in Manila.
Hoten (Mukden) POW Camp was an existing machinery manufacturing
plant in what is now known as Shenyang, approximately 400 miles northeast
from Beijing. The first American prisoners arrived on the Tottori Maru in
November 1942. Major project were machine tools manufacturing (MKK) but
three additional camps employed the men in cloth production and at a
tannery. During the first year, the men were housed in unheated buildings
and hundreds perished as a result of neglect by employees of the MKK
Term used for the Marines serving as the constabulary on Guam. Of
the 25 men, twelve were deployed in outlying villages, living in a two-story
house along with a Navy medic. Together, they were the police and medical
service for the entire island. The Marines received extra pay and the
assignment was considered the choicest assignment in the Marines. Most of
these men participated in the short battle on 10 December 1941 when the
island was attacked by over 5000 Japanese assault Marines.
Central island in Indonesia. Invaded by Japan in first week of March
1942. Major POW camps established at Batavia, Semarang and Surabaja areas.
Most Americans were from the 131st Field Artillery (The Lost Battalion),
survivors of sunken ships from sea battles in the Java and Coral Seas,
Commonwealth refugees from Malaya and the NEI Armed Forces.
A 5065-ton freighter carrying prisoners from Java to Sumatra. The
ship left Tanjong Priok, the harbor of Batavia (Jakarta) on 16 Sep 1944 The
ship carried 5620 Dutch, English, Australian and American POWs along with
Javanese slave laborers [romushas]. At 1551 hours, of 18 September 1944, the
ship was struck by two of the four torpedoes form the British submarine, H.M.
S. Tradewind. The Japanese crew seized all the lifeboats. Only 680 POWs and
200 romushas survived. Estimated position was 2 degs. 49 min. S., 101 degs.
12 mins. E.
Port city west of Osaka on the Inland Sea of Japan. A number of
camps were located within the city and POWs were used for various labor
details including ship building.
Island in the Philippine Archipelago that was invaded by Allied
Forces under MacArthur on 9 January 1945. Efforts by the Japanese fleet to
counter the attack were defeated as the Japanese fleet entered Leyte Gulf
from the Surigao Strait.
Lingayen Gulf is on the northwest side of Luzon. Invaded by Japanese
forces on 22 December1941. The IJA advanced south toward Manila. With the
consent of President Quezon, General MacArthur declared Manila an open city
on December 25, 1941 and moved to Corregidor. It was also the site for the
second major invasion of the Philippines by Allied Forces (after Leyte) on 9
Lipa POW Camp in Batangas Province, was opened in late January, 1943 when
prisoners were transferred here from Cabanatuan POW Camp. The primary
purpose was the building of a runway for the Japanese. Working on reduced
rations and severe brutality by the guards. Most of the men were transferred
from here in March of 1944 to construct another runway at Camp Murphy. The
few remaining were transferred to Bilibid in September of 1944 for transport
Civilian POW camp approximately 68 Km south of Manila on the
southern shore of the inland lake, Laguna de Bay. First established 14 May
1944, it eventually held 2147 civilians internees. On 23 February 1945, in a
daring rescue far behind the Japanese lines, Army Ranger, Airborne troops
and guerillas attacked simultaneously and rescued all internees.
Mauban Defense line
On the north end of Bataan, was the first defensive line along the
east and west slopes of Mount Natib, ten miles south of Layac bridge. The
heights of Mount Natib were considered impassable and left undefended. The
western side (Mauban) was held by General Wainwright’s forces and the
eastern side (Abucay) by General Parker’s forces. On 9 January 1942,
Japanese forces, under Lt. General Masaharu Homma with his14th Army, began
their attack against this line. American and Philippine forces held until 22
January when the Japanese penetrated through the supposedly impassable Mount
Central island and location of capital, Manila, in the Philippine
Southern island in the Makin Atoll in the Gilbert Islands, now
Kirabati. First occupied by Japanese forces on 9 December 1941. Site of
commando raid on 17/18 August 1942 when 19 raiders were left behind by
mistake. When Japanese re-occupied the island, the 19 men were massacred.
American forces under Major General Ralph Smith, US Army, recaptured the
island on 20 November 1943 in under 20 hours and minimum casualties. His
radiogram, “Makin is taken- Smith” electrified the country but infuriated
the Marine Corps observer, General “Howling Mad” Smith. A day later, Tarawa
was invaded by USMC forces.
Peninsular extending southward from Thailand with Singapore on the
southern end. Bordered on the east bu the Gulf of Thailand and by the
Andaman Sea on the west. Attacked by Japanese Forces in December 1941. IJA
forces, under Command of General Yamashita, “The Tiger of Malaya”, swept
down from the north and finally captured Singapore on 15 February 1942.
A tunnel complex created for defense on the island of Corregidor.
Headquarters of MacArthur and the Philippine government was moved here after
Manila was declared an open city on 25 December 1941. The main tunnel was
about 830 feet long by 24 feet wide and 18 feet high. Twenty four lateral
tunnels, 15 feet wide and high extended over 150 long, from each side of the
Capital city of the Philippines. In 1945, Japanese forces went on a
rampage of destruction and murder rather than obey orders from General
Yamahita that the city be evacuated and declared an open city. Almost 80% of
the city was destroyed and over 100,000 civilians murdered.
First air carrier strike on 4 March 1942 against the Japanese
airstrip under construction on Marcus Island, less
than 750 miles from Tokyo. One American SBD dive bomber from the USS
Enterprise (CV-6) was lost and survivors were taken as POWs to Japan.
Earlier, the Enterprise had attacked the Marshall Islands on February 1,
1942 and Wake Island on February 24th.
Small beach port on the southern tip of the Bataan Peninsular,
directly across from Corregidor Island.
Island in the central north Pacific that was one of the overnight
stops for the fable Pan American Clippers that flew from San Francisco to
Hong Kong. The Japanese invasion of Midway in early May 1942 was turned back
when the IJN was ambushed by American carrier, causing the loss of four
Japanese carriers and one heavy cruiser. No further attempt was made to
seize the island.
Major industrial city on the north end of Ise Bay that is
approximately one third of the distance from Osaka to Tokyo. One of the
major POW Command areas with 11 POW camps in operation. It was one of the
targets for the Doolittle Raid in April of 1942.
US Army airbase south of Manila. As a POW camp, the detail was known
as the Pasay School-Nichols Field detail. The Japanese expanded the runways
using slave labor under the notorious Japanese Naval Lieutenant Sato, the
Camp commander called “The White Angel”. This brutal and sadistic officer
always appeared in a spotless white uniform.
Southern terminus of the Burma-Thailand Death Railway
O’Donnell POW Camp was established a the site of a Philippine Army
Training camp that was under construction when the war started. After the
surrender of Bataan, the survivors arrived here starting on April 9th,
1942. Only one water spigot provided water for the entire camp. The camp was
divided into two main enclaves, one for the Americans and one for the
Philippine soldiers. Without medical care and medicines, some 1200 American
prisoners died within two months. An estimated 25,000 Philippine soldiers
perished in the same period.
US Naval station in Subic Bay. Before the war, this was the
headquarters of the Asiatic Fleet.
Omuta POW Camp was designated as Fukuoka Branch Camp #17, was one of the
largest POW Camps in Japan. Located on the bay, about 17 miles northwest of
Kumamoto and 40 miles south of the city of Fukuoka, the camp opened on 7
August 1943. Over 1700 Allied POWS were used to operate an obsolete coal
mine owned by the Mitsui Mine Company. The prisoners were extensively abused
by employees of the Mitsui Mine Company.
One of the “December Hell Ships” used to transport some 1620
POWs from Manila to Japan. The Oryoku Maru was attacked by fighters
and bombers near the port of Olongapo in Subic Bay on the northern coast of
the Bataan Peninsula. First attacked on 14 December 1944, the Japanese
personnel were evacuated to the shore. The following morning, more fighters
attacked the ship and over 300 POWs were killed in this attack. Surviving
prisoners were forced to swim to shore and survivors were crowded into the
tennis courts at Olongapo, site of a US Naval station. The wounded were
carried off and massacred. The remaining men were transferred to the
Lingayen Gulf shore town of San Fernando and loaded on the Enoura Maru,
[1069 men] [which was attacked by bombers at Takao, Taiwan on 9 January
1945], and the Brazil Maru [estimated 236 men]. Survivors of the
Enoura Maru were finally transferred to the Brazil Maru which
departed Takao on 14 January 1945. By the time the Brazil Maru arrived in
Moji on 29 January 1945, only some 450 of the original 1620 prisoners had
Major port city on the south central coast of Honshu Island. Osaka
was the location for a major POW Command Center under Colonel Murata, and
contained numerous POW labor camps serving the Japanese military
Palawan Island, west of Luzon, was the site of the Puerta Princesa
POW Camp. Upwards of 500 American POWS were used as slaves to construct an
expanded runway. By early December, 1944, the labor detail had been reduced
to 150 prisoners. After sighting a passing American battle fleet, the
Japanese camp commandant decided to execute the remaining 150 prisoners. On
December 14, 1944, using the ruse of an air raid, the men were herded into a
below ground trench used as a bomb shelter. Gasoline was poured over the top
and into the ends of the shelter then ignited. The men not immediately
burned to death attempted to flee but were cut down with machine gun fire or
hunted down and shot. Eleven men were able to escape and survived to give
testimony. The Japanese Commander of the prison detail was tried, convicted
River that bisects the city of Manila. The river drains from the
fresh water lake called Laguna de Bay.
Japanese term applied to conscripted native laborers, especially
applied to Indonesians and Malays
Rail center approximately 40 miles north from the southern end of
Bataan Peninsula and 35 miles northwest of Manila. The Bataan Death March
ended at this railway yard and the men were placed in boxcars for transit to
Capas and then marched to Camp O’Donnell.
Site of a major POW camp and one of the worst massacres of Allied
prisoners. During 1942 and 1943, 750 British and 1650 Australian POWS were
sent from Singapore to this cap in northern Borneo. When the Japanese
realized defeat was imminent, they forced the men to march in late January
1945 to Ranau, a jungle camp 250 km distant. If one dropped out, they were
shot or bayoneted on the spot. Marched in three separate groups, the
survivors were then forced to carry supplies for the Japanese army. Only the
six men who escaped, survived the ordeal.
Internment Camp (STIC)
Civilian Internment camp just east of downtown Manila. Formerly the
home of the Dominica University of Santo Tomas, the Japanese selected the
campus as the place to intern enemy civilians. Opened on 4 January 1945,
over 7000 civilians passed through or were permanently interned in this
camp. Over 4000 were present at the rescue on 3 February 1945.
Port city on north central coast of Japan. Headquarters for the
Sendai POW Command. Twelve POW camps were in operation at the end of the
One of the small Japanese “Hell Ships” (2600 tons) used to transport
Allied Prisoners to Japan. Prisoners came from port near Lasang (Freighter
“86") and were transferred to the Shinyo Maru at Zamboanga. Departed
Zamboanga on 7 December 1944 and sunk same day by the submarine USS Paddle
near Sindangan Point, Mindanao. POWS attempting to escape the sinking ship
were machine gunned by the Japanese crew. Only 82 men survived by swimming
to the shore where they were rescued by natives.
Fortress city on Singapore Island across the from the southern end
of the Malay Peninsula. Forces under British General Percival surrendered to
Japanese forces on 9 February, 1942. Myth is perpetuated that the guns could
not fire to the north but they could easily be traversed in all directions.
The problem was that the shells were armor piercing and simply dug into the
ground rather than explode on contact. Over 100,000 Commonwealth troops were
taken captive in the Malay campaign.
Term used by Japanese supervisors (honchos) to force men to work at
a faster pace. Most notorious “Speedo” period was the period of August and
September of 1943 when the Japanese command decided to move the completion
date of the Burma-Thailand Death Railway from December 1943 to October 1943.
The Japanese forced the prisoners to work around the clock for days on end
in the construction. With a Japanese policy of "no work, no food", even the
sick crawled to work in order to get a ration of food. The death rate
Army military hospital located in Manila, mainly used to serve the
military headquarters command and major medical services. Staff was moved to
Bataan when Manila was declared an open city.
Strait between the islands of Java and Sumatra. The American heavy
cruiser, USS Houston(CA 30) and the Australian HMAS Perth were attempting to
escape from Surabayavia the Sunda Strait when they ran into a Japanese
invasion force near the north entrance at Banten Bay. Both ships were lost
and survivors taken as POWs.
Major naval port on the eastern end of Java.
POW Camp north about 90 Km north of Manila used by the Japanese to
hold high ranking officers captured in the Philippines until transfer to
Taiwan (Formosa). General King and General Wainright were the ranking
officers. Camp was approximately 20 km north of the Cabanatuan camp area.
Japanese term for the taking of a roll call. Prisoners were required
to stand at rigid attention until the count was completed and order given
for dismissal. Frequent beating were the standard at most tenkos. A tenko
was taken in the morning and evening and whenever a movement of prisoners
Northern end of the Burma-Thailand death railway. Mainly used for
transit and for desperately sick men. The base hospital was headquarters for
Brig. General Varley's and for Lt Col Nagatoma, in charge No 3 Group. Camp
was also Headquarters for the 5th Railway Regiment. An Allied bombing raid
in June 1943 killed 12 POWs.
Capital city of Japan and home of the Emperor Hirohito.
Central Pacific Island midway between Guam and Midway. Wake was one
of the overnight stops for the Pan American Clippers that flew from San
Francisco to Hong Kong. First attacked on 8 December by Japanese aircraft
from the airstrip at Roi in the Marshalls. The first Japanese invasion force
was repelled on December 11, 1941 but the second invasion on 23 December was
successful, and within 4 hours the Americans surrendered. Over 1500 men were
taken captive, most of them civilian contract workers. Over 5000 Japanese
soldiers and sailors were killed during the actions. The Japanese renamed
the island as follows: Wake Islet became Otori-shima, Wilkes Islet became
Ashi-shima, Peale Islet became Hani-shima and Peacock Point became Kubi-saki.
The prisoners were moved to Japan and Shanghai on the Nitta Maru. The
wounded were removed in May of 1942 on the Asama Maru. On 7 October 1943,
the remaining 98 civilians held captive were machine gunned to death. The
island commander was tried for war crimes and executed.
Term applied to the notorious Japanese Naval Lieutenant Camp
commander at the Nichols Field POW Camp. Called “The White Angel”, this
brutal and sadistic officer always appeared in a spotless white uniform at
The brilliant Japanese Admiral and icon in command of the Imperial
Japanese Navy at the start of the Pacific War. He had no authority over the
assignment of command officers and was plagued by officers of inferior
abilities. He was shot down over Bouganville on 18 April 1943
by a flight of P-38's from the 339th Fighter Squadron after the
Americans broke the code for his schedule.