OMUTA, FUKUOKA PREFECTURE, JAPAN, 1945-09. ALLIED PRISONERS-OF-WAR (POWS) AT FUKUOKA CAMP 17 AT OMUTA, LINING UP TO COLLECT THEIR TICKETS HOME, AFTER BEING LIBERATED BY AN AMERICAN RECOVERY TEAM AT THE END OF WORLD WAR 2. THE CHIMNEY IN THE BACKGROUND FORMED PART OF THE CAMP’S COOKHOUSE AND BATH. IN THE REAR AT LEFT ARE THE REMAINS OF CAMP BUILDINGS DESTROYED IN AN AMERICAN BOMBING RAID IN 1945-07. FUKUOKA CAMP 17 HELD AMERICAN, AUSTRALIAN, DUTCH AND BRITISH POWS, MOST OF WHOM HAD BEEN PUT TO WORK IN A NEARBY COAL MINE AND THE REST IN A ZINC FOUNDRY. OMUTA WAS A PROVINCIAL MANUFACTURING TOWN ON THE ISLAND OF KYUSHU.
Born in Palestine, WX7446 Les (Krass) Krasnostein enlisted AIF August 1940, later joined 2/4th MGB/s Headquarters Coy as a Driver. He was wounded in action at Jurong Road on 10 February 1945, admitted to 2/13th AGH with a shrapnel wound to his right shoulder. He was discharged to his unit on 21 Feb 1945.
During 1943 Krass was selected to work on Burma-Thai Railway with ‘D’ Force Thailand V Battalion. V Battalion suffered terribly and lost far too many men, mostly due to starvation and illness. Please read further.
Krass was one of the lucky ones!
So lucky …………….. he was selected by the Japanese as being ‘fit to work in Japan’ and joined what would become ‘Aramis’ Party to sail to Japan.
From Moji Japan, Krass was sent to work at Omuta, Fukuaka No. 17 Camp where the POWs were subjected to further Japanese brutality, the danger of working in unsafe coal mine shafts as well as the American Mafia. In 1944 aged 39 years was given a long and vicious beating for a very small crime. Please read further
After Japan’s surrender, Krass sailed USS Lunga from Nagasaki to Manila. He flew from Manila to Morotai to Darwin by PBY Catalina aircraft A24 – 359.
He flew by B24 Liberator from Darwin to Perth.
Les and his family moved to Victoria where he changed his surname to Krass. He died
August 1995 in Victoria.