Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Prisoners of War (part two)

One of the authors at work as pictured by Bob Studer, Capt. USA Anniversaries, Christmas cards, birthdays weddings, anything could be done. Other pictures drawn by: LTCmdr. K.G, Schacht, USN; Burlington, WA.

Cherry Blossoms and a Fox hole
A few more photos and excerpts of Lt Hugh Robert Mellon' s story of his time spent in a POW camp during WW2.
Nabbed by the Nips. In the fall of 1941 I was serving on Guam as  Officer-in-charge of the Ship's Store Ashore.
At Guam, as with other strategic places in the Pacific, the quickening war tempo was present. Although life went on about the same, certain changes were evident. By early November all the Navy dependents had been evacuated. Silver coins seemed to be disappearing from circulation and this made it increasingly difficult to make change. A general air of expectancy could be definitely sensed.

Word was received early in the morning on 8th December, Guam time (7 December, Honolulu time) of the attack on Pearl Harbor. A few hours later a number of Jap planes appeared over surrounding waters and bombed and machine-gunned the minesweeper, Penguin, which was scuttled later. As the morning went on they returned to bomb the Marine barracks at Sumay, areas around Navy Communication center in Agana and Pan American Airways installation. There was no longer any doubt or uncertainty-the war was on!

Early in the morning of December 10th flares were seen heralding the approach of Jap invasion forces. Later that morning the Japs' landed, and after some fighting in the plaza, the Governor surrendered the island.

After the surrender of the Island the Nips commenced rounding up all the military personnel. Two Jap soldiers waved at me in a manner similar to that used in waving good-bye. My first impression was that they were giving me a chance to run for my life, but, on second thought, I decided to approach them. Lucky for me that I did so, as I afterwards found out that the hand wave meant " come here" and not "get going" as I had originally surmised.

I was loaded into an ambulance and taken to the hospital where all officer personnel were being assembled. After arrival there I found out that all had not been as fortunate as I. Lieutenant Paul Bright (SC) USN was killed in front of the Officers Club, evidently when disembarking from his car. The bodies of those killed in the fighting in the plaza were heaped over rubbish piles.

In a few days we were removed from the hospital and crowded into a church hall. Sanitary facilities were overcrowded and rations none too plentiful. Our own food, which had been seized by the Japs' was doled out to us quite sparingly. The loyal natives brought us cooked caribou steaks. Whenever Jap guards detected them doing this, the guards slapped than roundly. In spite of this, the natives persisted, and their steadfastness and courage were a definite inspiration.

We stayed in the church hall until the 19th of January, at which time we embarked for Japan.

To be continued:
Allied Forces taken prisoner on Guam

Japanese Soldiers in Body Armor