prisoners

Feb

8

1944

Japanese brutality as they overrun hospital


8 February 1944: Japanese brutality as they overrun hospital

Lieutenant Basu was shot at twice. He was left stunned. At first he was not sure whether he was alive or dead. He felt at his ear, but there was no blood on his fingers. He could still see and his thoughts became clear once more. He realised how vulnerable he was lying there still alive.

Feb

2

1944

British and American PoWs paraded through Rome


2 February 1944:British and American PoWs paraded through Rome

The accused ordered the parade which took place on 2nd February, 1944. 200 American prisoners of war were marched from the Coliseum, through the main streets of Rome under armed German escort. The streets were lined by forces under the control of the accused. The accused and his staff officers attended the parade.

Feb

1

1944

U.S. Rangers suffer devastating losses at Cisterna


1st February 1944: U.S. Rangers suffer devastating losses at Cisterna

I was unaware of the Major’s location forward of mine in the Pontano Ditch, the shell exploded quite near and with the explosion, I sprang running to the left right through an enemy bivouac (no tents, just men lying under blankets), astonished at Germans rising all around, running away with hands in the air, crying “Kamarad!”, as I ran through them, shooting from the hip.

Jan

19

1944

Captured by a German raiding party


19 January 1944: Captured by a German raiding party

The section leaders who had not been wounded were crawling back from the tent towards their trenches; my sergeant and I had a small slit trench outside the tent which was where we were to go in an emergency. My wounded sergeant had slithered to this and was lying at the bottom so that there was no room for me to get under cover except by kneeling on top of him.

Jan

9

1944

An English PoW at work in Auschwitz


9 January 1944: An English PoW at work in Auschwitz

Behind it all stood the SS and the executives of IG Farben itself. The Kapos, the prisoners put in charge of their fellows, became the focus of my anger. They were evil men and many wore the green triangle of the career criminal. Their survival depended on keeping the rest of the prisoners in line. If they lost their privileged job they were friendless and then they didn’t live long.

Jan

4

1944

Stalag Luft III – work resumes on ‘Harry’


4 January 1944: Stalag Luft III – work resumes on ‘Harry’

It was now up to Fanshawe to make the plans for transporting the sand from Harry to the theatre, a distance of about 200 yards. There was also still a useful length of tunnel in Dick which could be filled up, but it was decided to use that as a standby only. Communication between the blocks was allowed up to 10 pm, when we were all locked into our respective blocks.

Dec

25

1943

A war barely interrupted by Christmas


25th December 1943: A war barely interrupted by Christmas

Next, we were moved into a long low building which contained individual cells. I now saw the truth behind the news about each officer having his own room! No explanation was given as to why or for how long one was being given such personal attention, but by now, since capture, we were becoming used to the devious methods of the “detaining power”. It dawned on me that I was in solitary confinement and that this was a novel way to celebrate Christmas.

Dec

10

1943

Desperate bravery of Australian PoWs on Death Railway


10th December 1943: Desperate bravery of Australian PoWs on Death Railway

I have nothing but admiration for these game chaps. One Dutchman I was talking to said neither he or any of his countrymen would even dream of placing their heads on a block, even though such sorties might result in the obtaining of much needed food for the very ill. ‘You Australians beat me’, he said. ‘Only wants one of the guards to change his pattern of patrol, and your friends will die’.

Oct

29

1943

Japanese execute troublesome Hong Kong internees


29th October 1943: Japanese execute troublesome Hong Kong internees

he was arrested and subjected to prolonged and severe torture by the Japanese who were determined to obtain information from him and to make him implicate the others who were working with him. Under this treatment he steadfastly refused to utter one word that could help the Japanese investigations or bring punishment to others. His fortitude under the most severe torture was such that it was commented upon by the Japanese prison guards.

Oct

24

1943

Japanese execute Australian commando Leonard Siffleet


24th October 1943: Japanese execute Australian commando Leonard Siffleet

The Major has drawn his favourite sword. It is the famous masamune sword which he had shown us at the observation station. It glitters in the light and sends a cold shiver down my spine. He taps the prisoner’s neck lightly with the back of the blade, then raises it above his head with both arms and brings it clown with a powerful sweep. I had been standing with muscles tensed, but in that moment I closed my eyes.