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.
Since 2012 the Taiwan POW Camps Memorial Society has been a part of the Asia War Graves Photo Group, along with the Thai-Burma Railway Center, Tony Banham of the Hong Kong War Diary and Tony Buckley from Malaysia - who has for the past seven years photographed tens of thousands of war graves and names on memorials in 17 countries across Asia.
Our principal mission in joining together was to provide free war grave photos to those in need of them, as we all strongly object to people and organizations who charge veterans and their families for photos of their loved one's grave just because they are unable to travel to the cemeteries to obtain photos themselves. It is for this very reason that we wanted to provide such photos free of charge – in honour and respect for those veterans.
Recently, we have decided that since Tony Buckley has all of the photos from all of the cemeteries and memorials across Asia, in order to avoid unnecessary duplication he would take over the project and set up a dedicated website to provide all Asian war grave photos and we would support him in this important mission. So effective January 1st 2017, the ASIA WAR GRAVES website was launched as – http://www.asiawargraves.com/. We encourage anyone who needs photos of veterans’ graves and memorials in Asia to contact Tony and he will be happy to supply what you need – FREE OF CHARGE!
The Taiwan POW Camps Memorial Society also has photos of every former Taiwan POW's grave. We have all the British, Australians and Dutch from the Sai Wan War Cemetery in Hong Kong, and all of the American war graves from the Manila American Cemetery, the Punchbowl Cemetery in Hawaii, and the various Veterans Affairs and private cemeteries in the USA.
We are pleased to provide these photos to veterans, family members, relatives, researchers and historians - FREE OF CHARGE - with the sole aim of keeping the memory of the veterans alive, so present and future generations will not forget them and the sacrifices they have made. Please contact us if we may be of service to you.
Please help us to spread the word about Asia War Graves around the FEPOW Community and we hope that many will avail themselves of these FREE services.
We are pleased and honoured to announce that one of the students from the Taipei American (International) School in Taipei has won a top prize in an international student contest with a photo of the 'Mates' sculpture taken at the Taiwan POW Memorial Park. The following comes from the school's website regarding the award:
"Junior, Nicole C.'s photo Kinkaseki POW Camp Memorial - Mates in Jinguashi, Taiwan was selected as one of ten winning photographs for the Gilder Lehrman Institute's Military Monuments Student Photography Contest for 2016.
Photo: Mates Sculpture at Kinkaseki - Courtesy Gilder Lehrman Institute
The contest invited K-12 students to submit photographs of military monuments or memorials. Nicole's photograph was selected from among 130 submissions and will be displayed in the annual Gilder Lehrman calendar.
The photograph itself depicts the memorial erected in Jinguashi, Taiwan on the site of the Kinkaseki POW Camp. The Kinkaseki POW camp housed over 1,100 Allied prisoners of war from November 14, 1942 to June 30, 1945. Prisoners at the camp toiled under deplorable conditions in a local copper mine.
The winners of the photography contest were announced on Veterans Day in America, a national holiday in the United States that honors Veterans. Nicole is one of Mr. Arnold's history students. Congratulations Nicole! "
Our congratulations as well as our thanks to Nicole for choosing as her subject this poignant statue of two former prisoners of war struggling to survive and supporting each other as created by the Society director. It is a great encouragement to the Society and our work that that the youth of today are recognizing the importance of learning about World War II history and remembering those who suffered and those who died for our freedom! As the calendar and the photo will have a worldwide audience, it is also helping us to further make the story of the Taiwan POW camps known to the world.
THE ENOURA MARU HELLSHIP TRAGEDY
72 years ago on January 9th 1945, the Japanese Hellship Enoura Maru which was en route to Japan with POWs from the Philippines, was bombed in Takao (Kaohsiung) Harbour. More than 350 POWs were killed. They were subsequently buried in a mass grave on Chijin Island nearby, and in 1946 the American War Graves Recovery Team removed the remains and sent them to Hawaii for permanent burial. They currently rest in peace in Section Q of the Punchbowl Cemetery in 20 common graves, marked only with the words "20 Unknowns January 9, 1945". However, we do know who each and every Enoura Maru POW was who is buried there.
In 2006 the Society - in co-operation with the City of Kaohsiung, erected and dedicated the Taiwan Hellships Memorial in the War and Peace Park in Chijin – just across the road from the location of the former mass grave. For the past 6 years the Society has desired - and worked very hard, to have a memorial stone placed on the Memorial Walk at the Punchbowl Cemetery in Honolulu in honour of the men who lie in those graves. There have been numerous articles about this project in the Society's newsletters over the last few years. However, the previous director of the cemetery and his deputy and the supervisor at the US Dept. of Veterans Affairs repeatedly ruled that they would not allow this simple stone that would tell a little of the story of that ship and the men who are buried in Section Q, because "having the word 'hellship' on the stone might offend the Japanese tourists who visit the cemetery for its scenic viewpoints". There was nothing else that was offensive with the inscription in their opinion – just the word 'hellship'.
We are working together with the American Defenders of Bataan & Corregidor Memorial Society in this effort, as many of their members had fathers. grandfathers, uncles etc. on that ship. We have tried many ways to persuade the US Dept. of Veterans Affairs who manage the cemetery - and whose mandate and task it is to look after and support all veterans while they are alive, and to honour and respect them when they have passed on, to allow the stone to be placed on the Memorial Walk, but so far with no success. It is a shame that the VA and the US Government feel that it is more important not to offend Japanese tourists than it is to honour the men who are buried in the cemetery, having given their lives in the service of their country and the cause of America's freedom!
We have the backing of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of America and also the AMVETS organization, and despite appeals to the VA and also a couple of US Senators and Congress people, the issue has not been resolved. We are hoping that perhaps this year with a new cemetery director, and by making contact with some new government reps, that we might be able to see this project finally completed in honour and memory of the men of the Enoura Maru.
"OUR DEBT TO THE HEROIC MEN AND VALIANT WOMEN IN THE SERVICE OF OUR COUNTRY CAN NEVER BE REPAID. THEY HAVE EARNED OUR UNDYING GRATITUDE. AMERICA WILL NEVER FORGET THEIR SACRIFICES." President Harry S. Truman - Somehow though, it seems that the US Dept. of Veterans Affairs has forgotten !
American wartime patriotic poster vowing to remember the sacrifice of those who died for their country, so their deaths would not be in vain.
It's too bad that 72 years on this pledge and promise by the US government and especially by the US Department of Veterans Affairs - whose specific responsibility and task it is to make sure that those Americans who died in war are honoured and remembered, has gone unfulfilled for those men who died on the Enoura Maru. Let's hope that this can be rectified this year!
A country's promise - unfulfilled, and one of the Enoura Maru graves at the Punchbowl Cemetery, Hawaii
All of the previous articles from the homepage have been saved together in the Articles and Stories Section under the title of JAPAN UNDER THE NEW ABE REGIME. For those who are interested - and everyone should be, please CLICK HERE to read the series of articles which reveal the startling changes which have already taken place, and which will continue to take place in the near future under this extreme regime.
February 20, 2017 - Further update to the POW Camp Tours page with regards to what is the best time to plan your visit to Taiwan.
February 1, 2017 - Update on the Asia War Graves Photo Group in the Articles and stories Section.
January 5, 2017 - "20 Years of Researching, Remembering and Honouring the Taiwan POWs" added to the Articles & Stories Section. Click here.
December 2, 2016 - Fall-Winter2016 Newsletter uploaded to the site. Click here or go to the Society Section and click on the newsletter in the Newsletters box.
July 21, 2016 - "Retaking Japan: The Abe Administration’s Campaign to Overturn the Postwar Constitution" - added to the story "JAPAN UNDER THE NEW ABE REGIME" in the Articles & Stories Section. Scroll down to the end and click on the link to get the story from the Asia Pacific Journal.
June 30, 2016 - Spring-Summer2016 Newsletter uploaded to the site. Click here or go to the Society Section and click on the newsletter in the Newsletters box.
May 15, 2016 - The complete list of Taiwan POW Camps updated and put in correct sequential numerical order on the 'CAMPS' page of the website.
February 26, 2016 - Added - "More Facts About the Numbers in Malaya and Singapore" in the Articles & Stories Section
February 25, 2016 - Revision to "The Truth About the Numbers in Malaya and Singapore" in the Articles & Stories Section
January 27, 2016 - "A New Memorial Bench for the POW Park" added to the Articles & Stories Section
January 23, 2016 - Added - "The Wall - A very Special Place", the story of the Taiwan POW Memorial Wall and poem "THE WALL" to the Articles & Stories Section. Click here.
November 20, 2015 - Update to "The Memorials for the Taiwan POWs" in the Articles & Stories Section.
October 20, 2015 - The complete article "70 Years Ago - Events in Taiwan POW History" is added to the Articles & Stories Section.
August 24, 2015 - Update to the story "A Family Connection" in the Articles & Stories Section.
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 -
Are you looking for a photo of a Taiwan POW's grave or name on a memorial?
The Taiwan POW Camps Memorial Society has photos of every former Taiwan POW's grave. We have all the British, Australians and Dutch from the Sai Wan War Cemetery in Hong Kong, and all of the American war graves from the Manila American Cemetery, the Punchbowl Cemetery in Hawaii and those in various Veterans Affairs and private cemeteries in the USA. We are pleased to be able to supply these war grave and memorial photos FREE OF CHARGE to anyone requesting them.
Formerly a part of the ASIA WAR GRAVES PHOTO GROUP, we are happy to announce the formation as of January 1, 2017 of ASIA WAR GRAVES, a new site run by our team member Tony Buckley - who for the past seven years has photographed tens of thousands of war graves and names on all the memorials in 17 countries across Asia. He will continue on with the work that was started by the AWGPG in 2012. Those looking for any Asian grave photos should now contact ASIA WAR GRAVES at: http://www.asiawargraves.com/ for further information on the war cemeteries and memorials covered, how to obtain a photo and the other services that are provided - FREE OF CHARGE!
Click here...for further information on the new ASIA WAR GRAVES, and also the services that are provided by our POW Society - FREE OF CHARGE!
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 and information we can get.
USS Santee - CVE-29 USS Brister - DE-327