This is the story of the Japanese prisoner of war camps on the island of Taiwan (Formosa) during the Second World War and of the men who were interned in them.
It seems that many people know about the hardship and suffering of the POW's working on the Death Railway in Thailand and Burma, but few know about the "hell-camps" of Taiwan. We hope to tell the story of the suffering and deprivation endured by the POW's so that all will know - and hopefully never forget!
Our site contains descriptions of the prison camps, a detailed list of all the former prisoners, an honour roll of those who died, and the story of the
Taiwan POW Camps Memorial Society.
On January 9th 1945, the hellship Enoura Maru was anchored in Takao (Kaohsiung) Harbour, Taiwan. It was part of a convoy of ships that had left the Philippines on December 27th carrying mostly American POWs bound for Japan. 1,040 men had been crammed into the second hold of the Enoura Maru, and a further 240 men were on a second ship, the Brazil Maru. On January 6th the men from the Brazil Maru were transferred to the Enoura Maru and about 470 men were moved up to the first hold of that ship.
Then on the 9th, just as the men were consuming their meagre breakfast ration of rice, American aircraft from the USS Hornet launched an attack on Takao Harbour and bombed and strafed many of the ships. Several bombs fell on the Enoura Maru and one exploded near the edge of the first hold killing and wounding more than 300 of the POWs. The ship did not sink and the remains of the dead POWs were removed and buried in a mass grave at Chijin. Later they were exhumed and re-buried in 20 communal graves at the Punchbowl Cemetery in Hawaii.
On January 9th 2005, the Society held a memorial service at Kaohsiung Harbour with one of the former Enoura Maru POWs present. In January 2006 the Taiwan Hellships Memorial was built and dedicated in the War and Peace Park at Chijin, Kaohsiung Harbour. It was erected to remember the men of the Enoura Maru and those who were transported on all of the hellships to and from Taiwan. In 2014 the memorial was relocated to its present site within the park.
Now, 10 years later - on the 70th anniversary of this terrible tragedy, we want to once again remember the brave men who died and those who suffered on the Enoura Maru and all of the Japanese hellships in World War II.
You can read more of the story of the Enoura Maru and the memorial services in the Articles and Stories section of the website.
At this time the Taiwan POW Camps Memorial Society and the American Defenders of Bataan & Corregidor Memorial Society are trying to get a memorial stone placed at the Punchbowl Cemetery in Hawaii in honour and memory of the men who died aboard the Enoura Maru, but the cemetery director and the US Veterans Administration have objected as they feel that having the word "Hellship" on the memorial stone will be an offense to the Japanese tourists who visit the cemetery for sightseeing. We hope this senseless and uncaring stance can soon be over-turned and the memorial stone can be placed in this 70th anniversary year in honour of the Enoura Maru men who should never be forgotten.
Japanese nationalists have labelled Angelina Jolie a racist and there have been calls for her to be banned from the country for directing the movie "UNBROKEN".
With the release on Christmas Day of Angelina Jolie's movie "UNBROKEN" - the story of the life of Olympic athlete and Japanese POW Louis Zamperini, a Right Wing Japanese organization has started a petition to ban the movie from being shown in Japan. It cites the movie as racist, immoral and demonic, and denies that the Japanese committed atrocities like those depicted in the film.
In reality this is just another gross denial of Japan's role in World War II and its covering up of the atrocities committed by its armed forces as they swept through Asia - murdering, raping, plundering, and the subsequent torturing of both prisoners of war and civilians and the extermination of millions of people across Asia in those dark days of World War II.
A counter petition has been started as an answer to the petition circulating in Japan, and we encourage people to sign the petition to stop the continued effort by Japan to deny and censor its war record and crimes.
To read more about this issue and to sign the petition CLICK HERE. Please take a minute to read and sign, and let us show the Japanese government that they cannot continue to whitewash and cover up the true historical facts of what took place in World War II, and that we stand behind Angelina and her film - and the truth.
Thank you for your support in helping to ensure that the people - and the especially the youth of Japan, have the opportunity to see this wonderful movie and learn the truth about what really happened in World War II.
The Imperial War Museum has made a bizarre and, frankly, disgraceful decision to close its library and make all the library staff redundant as one of their proposed cuts to meet a £4M deficit, and has thus drawn up proposals to:
• close its unique library and dispose of the majority of its collection
• cut important education services
• cut 60-80 library and related jobs
• close the widely emulated 'Explore History' facility in London.
There is a worldwide petition circulating to try to stop this senseless act of government and I urge you to take a minute to read about it and sign the petition.
Click on the following link to read more and to sign the petition.
It will only take a few minutes to add your signature and thus hopefully help save a treasure that can never be replaced once it has been lost. Thank you for your support.
Democracy took root in Japan nearly 70 years ago after the end of World War II. Who would have thought that someone could overturn it so easily? But Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has done just that !
For the past almost two years we have featured articles on the homepage regarding the sweeping changes taking place in Japan under the LDP government of Shinzo Abe and his Right Wing extremists since they came to power in December 2012.
We have shown from reports and studies, first hand news accounts and references, how the Abe government wants to return to the extreme Right Wing policies of former times, how they want to rescind the so-called apologies made by former prime ministers and renounce the previous stand on the Comfort Women, now saying that they were simply prostitutes and that they were necessary and that they were not co-erced or forced by the Japanese military to perform services for the troops. In this time they have forced new laws through their parliament limiting the rights and freedoms of Japanese people, and in a similar manner this spring have by-passed Japan's pacifist constitution in order to make it possible for Japan to wage war again. Even more alarmingly, they will continue to limit or abolish human rights and freedoms, so they can persecute those who differ with their opinion or who want to peacefully gather in protests.
If one looks back at the history of the 20th Century, one can clearly see that these were also the policies adopted and propagated by Adolf Hitler and the Nazis when they came to power in Germany 81 years ago in 1933! After being in power only 1 1/2 years the Japanese people are already calling Shinzo Abe a "Fascist" and "Public Enemy No. 1".
All of the previous articles from the homepage have been saved together in our Articles and Stories Section of the website. For those who are interested, please CLICK HERE to read the series of articles which reveal the startling changes which have taken place, and which will continue to take place in the near future under this extreme regime. Things have happened so fast in Japan in the past 2 years that is has been hard to keep up and one wonders what the future holds for the people of Japan and as well, its Asian neighbours!
January 8, 2015 - Update - "18 Years of Researching, Remembering and Honouring the Taiwan POWs" in the Articles & Stories Section.
December 6, 2014 - Fall-Winter 2014 newsletter uploaded to the site. Click here or go to the Society Section and click on the newsletter in the Newsletters box.
November 30, 2014 - The "A LOOK AT THE WAR CRIMINALS' MEMORIALS" feature added to the Articles & Stories Section.
November 25, 2014 - Update to "Asian War Graves and Memorial Photos" article in the Articles & Stories Section - new cemeteries in Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia and more added.
Sept. 12, 2014 - The "September 1944 Hellships" feature added to the Articles & Stories Section.
Sept. 11, 2014 - Update to the Collection of articles and reports on Shinzo Abe and his Right Wing Gov't. and the downfall of Japan's democracy - in the Articles & Stories section.
August 28, 2014 - Photo of L/Bdr. Robert Bickford added to the story "OTHER COMMONWEALTH PRISONERS OF WAR " in the Articles & Stories section.
June 25, 2014 - Spring-Summer 2014 Society Newsletter uploaded to the site. Click here or go to the Society Section and click on the newsletter in the Newsletters box.
May 20, 2014 - Collection of articles and reports on Shinzo Abe and his Right Wing Gov't. and their return to former WWII attitudes and the downfall of Japan's democracy under this regime. Click here to read the articles which are constantly being updated.
March 3, 2014 - Addition of the "Remembrance Day at Kinkaseki" slide show - link on the homepage and story in the Articles & Stories Section.
February 13, 2014 - Updates to almost all of the articles and stories in the Articles & Stories Section with more information as well as addititional and enlarged photos. In particular the articles on the hellships, the further Japanese atrocities and the memorial to the American airmen at the old Taipei Prison, the Other Commonwealth POWs and the forgotten South Africans.
We would like to remind our viewers that this website is a work in progress, so be sure to check back often.
In 2009 six former Taiwan POWs returned to Taiwan to join in the annual Remembrance Day service at Kinkaseki. Society supporter and good friend Chen, Hsiao - Fang produced a slide show of the event and we invite you to watch it and remember these men to whom we owe a debt that can never be repaid. Click here to view the presentation.
Lest We Forget!
LISTEN TO THE POWS' STORY
Society director Michael Hurst is featured in two radio interviews with Radio Taiwan International. We invite you to:
To listen to these programs click the links below -
UPDATE NOV. 2014 - MORE CEMETERIES AND MEMORIALS ADDED !
Do you need a photo of a loved ones' grave or name on a memorial in the Far East?
Welcome to the ASIA WAR GRAVES PHOTO GROUP.
We are a group comprised of FEPOW organizations and researchers located in the Far East and we are dedicated to providing good quality photos of war graves and the names on the various memorials from the war cemeteries located all across Asia - FREE OF CHARGE - with the sole aim of keeping the memory of the veterans alive, so present and future generations will not forget the sacrifices they have made so far from home.
We specialize in photos of the names on all the memorials across Asia. We have all 25,000 names on the SINGAPORE / KRANJI MEMORIAL, all 27,000 names on the TAUKKYAN / RANGOON MEMORIAL, as well as all the other memorials such as SAI WAN, YOKOHAMA and LABUAN. We are happy to be able to supply names from all the memorials as well - FREE of CHARGE!
Read More ...to find out further information on the ASIA WAR GRAVES PHOTO GROUP, the war cemeteries and memorials covered, and the other services that are provided - FREE OF CHARGE!
We are pleased to announce that since the creation of the ASIA WAR GRAVES PHOTO GROUP in JULY 2012, we have distributed almost 15,000 FREE war grave and memorial photos!
Another great source for FREE worldwide War Grave & Memorial photos . . .
An excellent organization in the UK with a website offering thousands of FREE war grave and memorial photos worldwide is British War Graves - War Graves Photographs. Founded and operated for over 10 years by Mick McCann in the UK, the site provides photos for almost all the world’s war cemeteries and more FREE.
Click here for more information on free war grave and memorial photos and to visit their website.
The Society has been urgently seeking information regarding the POWs who were evacuated from Taiwan on September 6, 1945 on the aircraft carrier USS Santee CVE-29, and the Destroyer Escorts USS Brister DE-327 and USS Finch DE-328. We have searched various archives to try to find the ships' deck logs and service records, but up to now nothing has turned up.
However, thanks to some help from a researcher friend in the US, we have found the complete list of men carried on the USS Finch. So that just leaves the USS Brister and USS Santee that we still need complete lists for.
If there are any former crew members of these ships who know of the lists that were made and where they might now be, please kindly get in touch with us.
We would also like to hear from former POWs and their families if they have any knowledge that their relative or anyone they knew sailed on either of these two ships. We would be very grateful for any help we can get.
USS Santee - CVE-29 USS Brister - DE-327