Kobe, Osaka #2-B - Japan ***
Kobe House POW Camp
Kobe House was within the Kobe City area, half a mile from the harbour. It consisted of two rat infested red brick warehouses (POW accommodation) bounded by three streets and connected behind by a narrow partly covered alleyway lined with was benches and faucets. Over 400 POW’s were already in residence. Between the brick buildings were several wooden buildings used as guard quarters, hospital 40’x40′ and camp administration. Work parties left the camp for the harbour or factories at 7am daily. Diet consisted of unpolished rice, beans and very occasionally meat and dried fish. Two red cross parcels were received, one in December 1943 and the other in December 1944.
The AIF party was divided into two parties and billeted in the 1st and 2nd floors of A Block. At the end of the first week, the AIF men were divided into parties of 30 men (Kumi) and sent out to work. Work consisted of labouring in factories, an iron foundry, do-downs and loading and unloading of ships and trains. The Japanese Army contracted the men out mainly to civilian companies.
The guards were brutal and quick to use fists, sticks and rifle butts, not only on POW’s but also on several occasions on their own people if they got too close to the POW’s.
Camp completely destroyed in incendiary raid; this was the Swire and Butterfield warehouse previously used by the American civilians captured at Guam.
Kobe POW Camp 2-B (NIPPON TSUUUN) KOBE-shi, FUKIAI-ku, WAKIHAMA-cho
History and Timeline:
23 Sep 1942: Established as KOBE BRANCH CAMP at KOBE-shi, KOBE-ku, ITO-cho 28
First men were Royal Scots & English ex Lisbon Maru– arrived few days after 23 Sep 1942
13 Oct 1942: First Americans arrive ex Rykuyo Maru
18 Feb 1943: Renamed 1-B
7 June 1943: Australians arrive ex Wales Maru
5 Jun 1945: Destroyed by air-raid;
POWS moved to MAYASHIDA-ku, MARUYAMA-cho 2-1
21 Jun 1945: Moved to WAKIHAMA-cho (West side of Kobe) [Photo-external link-slow loading]
Aug 1945: Renamed Kobe 2-B
September 1945: Rescue Effected
Kobe Hospital was a separate camp in the foothills on the north end of Kobe.
There were three factories where POWs worked from Kobe. They were Showa-Denki, Yoshihara and Toyo.
60 Men of Kobe House returning to Australia on HMS Formidable
At the end of war, there were 50 men from ‘J’ Force, including six from 2/4th (and 19 from ‘C’ Force) were still at Kobe in Wakinohama, and recovered from here:
On 21 June 1945 the ‘Kobe’ House Party left Kawasaki Camp on foot with several stretcher cases to WAKINOHAMA CAMP which was located about 1.5 miles past the old ‘Kobe’ House site towards Osaka. Their route took them past the site of ‘Kobe’ House, and Capt Boyce wrote ‘it looked a shambles, spread out over the street as heaps of burned bricks and the door of a large safe, previously opening into the hospital now lay open to the air about 20 feet above the ground.”
Ramsbotton, (Lane) John