Showa Denki Carbon Factory, Osaka #8 Naruo Dispatch Camp
POW’s worked for Showa Denkyoku (Showa Electrode Company, now SEC Carbon), in a graphite factory.
Party to SHOWA DENKI then TOYAMA from Kobe
(INFORMATION from ‘J’ Force, A Dandie)
At Kobe House on 13 October 1944 a work Party was arranged – the Japanese the Camp 60 men would be required to go to Showa Denki to live-in instead of supplying a daily party from Kobe House.
Only part of the 60 men left on Thursday 15 February 1945 – they were told the previous evening to be ready to move out at 0630 hours. The 19 man draft (including four 2/4th men) was headed up by Lieut. Goddard:
ANDERSON M.W. (Mervyn) Pte.
BROWN A.D. (Doug) Cpl.
BROWN A.M. (Arthur) Cpl.
DRAPER A.M. (Arthur) Cpl.
DUNN W.T. (Bill) Pte.
EDWARDS J.J. (Stan) Pte.
GILES F.W. (Frank) Pte.
GILES T.J. (Tommy) Pte.
GODDARD K.W. (Keith) Lieut.
GREY J.E. (John) Pte.
HARRIS N.J. (Norm) Sgt.
JONES A.J. (Alf) Sgt.
LUCAS R.G. (Bob) Pte.
LUTZ E.H. (Ted) L/Cpl.
LYMN R.R. (Bob) Gnr.
McCLYMONT W.J. (Jim) Cpl.
McCOLL A. (Alan) Pte.
McFARLANE C.K. (Keith) Pte.
WINEPRESS F.O.C. (Tibby) Pte.
YEATES C.J. (Charlie) Pte.
Giles reported there were other POWs at Showa – Americans, British and Australians –totaling 100 men. He reported the Americans were in terrible shape having spent 6 weeks at sea sailing from Manila.
The Party worked at Showa Denki for about three months. The work was very hard and food very poor resulting in men rapidly losing quite a bit of weight
The POW Camp sat in open ground in the midst of rice paddy fields about a mile from a steel mill and approx. a couple of miles from Toyama City.
The pitch pit
This must have been one of the worst jobs. Bill Dunn and Norm Harris worked a two-hour shift here, covering their faces and exposed skin with white cream to prevent burning. They had the rest of the day free.
POWs working in this job earlier on (those who travelled daily from Kobe House) suffered terrible ‘pitch’ burns to exposed skin and severe burning to their eyes. The Japanese with whom they worked had their faces covered with masks of cloth but did not supply same to the Australians, nor did they relay any instructions about protection. The POWs discovered when marching back to the railway station their facial skin was turning black and peeling off – the result of the burning heat of the rays from the pitch.
Tommy Giles was recorded in ‘J Force’ by A. Dandie as saying Goddard did an excellent job
“I didn’t know him that well at Kobe house, but his job at Showa Denki was second to none. He was always putting himself on the line, trying to get a little better something for us all, and really copping it too. Lieut. Tommy Goddard really did a top job.”
Capt Boyce from Kobe House wrote (AWM54-554/15/1 –
“later heard that they (men at Showa Denka) were harshly treated and had a bad time with progressive starvation and gross weight loss.”
The men were subjected to strafing by American Navy planes on several occasions as the factory was located near a Japanese airfield. Fortunately there were no casualties. The men did witness a lone B-29 flying low over Showa without dropping bombs. It was presumed to be doing reconnaissance and taking photographs.
The men were glad to be leaving the generally bad conditions of Showa. They were entrained to Toyama Camp on the west coast of Honshu Island.
A few days after leaving the men heard there had been an air raid and Showa Denki destroyed and probably the airfield.
Below Draper, below right Alf Jones
Left: Harris, Below: Lymn
TOYAMA POW CAMP, HONSHU
The majority of men worked at Toyama unloading iron ore from barges for the steel mill. Other cargoes included cement, salt and beans. POWs carried the iron ore out of the barges loaded in big baskets on their backs. The baskets were attached to a board a few feet long and looped over each shoulder. They were required to carry about 10 ton per day. The week before the war finished the men’s working hours increased to 24 hours on and 12 hours off!
There was much bashing by the guards and the hanchos (locals employed).