J. D. Osborne
J.D. Osborne, USS
J. D. OSBORNE
ENSIGN, 487242, U. S. NAVY
PERPETUATION OF TESTIMONY
OF J. D. OSBORNE
ENSIGN, 487242, U. S. NAVY
At the time of my capture,
I was a signalman first class, U. S. Navy, attached to the USS NAPA. I went
overseas on January 6, 1941 and returned to the States on September 30, 1945.
We surrendered at Fort Hughes on May 6, 1942. We were sent to Corregidor on
May 9, 1942, and on May 24, 1942 we were transferred to Bilibid Prison. We left
Bilibid Prison on May 27, 1942 and were sent to Cabanatuan, Camp #3. We left
Camp #3 on October 5, 1942 and were on route to Manchuria or Manchuko until
November 11, 1942. We arrived there at Hoten Prison of War Camp at Mukden, Manchuria,
where we were kept as prisoners of war until August 17, 1945, when the Russians
liberated us. We actually left Mukden on September 6, 1945.
Since we did not stay at any length of time at any camp until Camp#3 Cabanatuan,
I did not observe anything outstanding or unusual at Fort Hughes or Corregidor
or Bilibid Prison. We received the routine treatment at 92nd Garage on Corregidor,
which treatment consisted of lack of food, water, bedding, and shelter.
At Cabanatuan Camp#3, I witnessed the public execution of 4 army men who had
been caught after their attempted escape. We had been told not to escape, but
everyone who thought possible would try to do it. These four army men were apprehended
the day following the escape and tied naked to a post in the sunshine. They
were given no food or water and left tied there overnight. The following afternoon
they turned the camp out to watch the public execution. They were shot and then
buried. We were housed in barracks of bamboo slats. There was no bedding. Our
food consisted only of rice.
Gaunt Allied prisoners of war pack up to leave after the arrival of U.S.
Navy rescuers, at the Aomori prison camp, near Yokohama, Japan, 29-30 August
1945. Credit: US Navy
On October 5, 1942, we started
our ocean trip to Mukden, Manchuria. The ship was over-crowded. Our meals were
rice and dried fish, three times a day. There was much dysentery aboard ship.
We stood in line to use the toilet facilities aboard the ship.
At Tyuan, Formosa, American
submarines sunk two ships of the Japanese, which carried only a few of the prisoners
of war. Most of the prisoners were on the ship which I travelled on.
We stayed at Takau (phonetic),
Tyuan for a few days until the Americans left the area. We then continued the
journey to Manchuria. Upon arriving at Fusan, Korea, we disembarked and were
put aboard a train bound for Mukden. Here we were given a working uniform. Until
then, we had only rags of our American uniform. I don't know how many men died
from Manila to Fusan; approximately 17 or 18 men, I would judge. When we arrived
at Mukden, I was very cold; the temperature was 40 degrees below zero. Most
of the deaths that occured from the first winter were on account of extreme
cold so soon after leaving the tropics. Most men suffered from malnutrition.
Our ration consisted of maize and a few vegetables, 3 times a day.
Two sailors and one Marine
sergeant escaped. They were gone about 10 days before they were caught and returned
to camp and shot. The Marine's name was Chastine, and the sailor was called
Freddie Marigold, from Waco, Texas.
After we had been there
for some time, conditions were improved much more. The living conditions were
better than ever before in the Jap prison camp. I worked at compounds of the
Mukden Tool and Die Factory digging fox holes and digging air raid shelters.
There were three work camps from out of Mukden. At these camps, treatment was
said to be rough. Sergeant Noda, from Berkeley, California, was the number 1
interpreter in our prison camp. He was cruel, overbearing and mean. He had been
educated in Berkeley but in 1939 or 1938, Noda went back to his homeland. He
was sent from Japan to Manchuria to study economic conditions there. Noda caused
many men to be beaten and roughly treated. We were run on a black mark system.
If we failed to bow properly, or caught stealing food, or found smoking more
than 6 feet from an ashean, we received a black mark. At the end of the week,
the men with the most black marks were sent to the work camps, in addition to
the beatings they received for these infractions.
The Chinese helped us with
food. Sometimes they would bring us boiled eggs, or, occasionally , a potato.
It was through the Chinese who worked in the camp that I learned Chinese and
so became the Chinese interpreter for a time.
While at this camp, I remember,
on one occasion, some men escaped. While the Japs were looking for them, everyone
in the barracks had to sit at attention on their bunks, hands on knees, We were
allowed to go to the head one at a time during this punishment, which lasted
between 10 and 15 days. Our food ration was cut by one third. At the end of
the ordeal, we were lectured and restored our rations.
Jones, a machinist's mate,
U.S. Navy, stole Japanese sneakers. He was thrown into the guard house. When
he was released, he had almost frozen to death. His rations were not cut, although
the men in his barracks had cut rations during the time he was confined. Since
it was very cold at this time and there was practically no heat in the brig,
Jones contracted pneumonia. Jones died of pneumonia as a result of the punishment
There were men at this
camp, whom I do not know, who suffered intensely from beatings and other punishments.
These men eventually became unbalanced and were shipped to Japan. The Japs said
that these men suffered with malaria of the brain. One of these men was a soldier
named Red Wells, private first class, from the 59th coast artillery.
After being liberated by
the Russians, we stayed in camp until paratroopers from China came. Americans
then started dropping food to the prison camp from their planes and also clothing.
J D Osborne
State of California
County of San Diego
I, J D Osborne, of lawful
age, being duly sworn on oath, state that I have read the foregoing statement
consisting of two pages, and that it is true to the best of my knowledge and
J D Osborne.
Subscribed and sworn before
me at San Diego, California, U.S.A., this 10th day of August 1946.
James E. Goodhue,
Lieutenant Junior Grade,
U. S. Naval Reserve,
By Authority of an Act of Congress approved
April 9, 1945.