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.
This year’s19th Annual Remembrance Week Event will take place from November 9 – 16, 2016.
As usual, we will have visits to the former POW camp sites complete with memorial services, local sightseeing tours, and of course the Remembrance Day service at the Taiwan POW Memorial on the site of the former Kinkaseki POW Camp in Jinguashi on November 13th.
We hope that former POWs and their families will make an effort to come as we have a special program prepared for these guests. If you are interested in attending, and for more information, please contact the Society by email or mail (please see the "contacts" page).
Hope to see you in November!
It was exactly 71 years ago this week on June 19th 1945 when fourteen young American airmen were led out into the courtyard of the infamous Taihoku Prison at 06:00 am, lined up and murdered by a Japanese firing squad.
These airmen had just been carrying out their duties as fighter and bomber crews waging war against a vicious and cruel enemy, when they were shot down over Taiwan. They were taken prisoner by the Japanese, confined in Taihoku Prison, beaten, tortured and finally in a mock trial and without any defense, were accused of indiscriminate bombing, found guilty, and sentenced to death.
The old Taihoku Prison
Ten US Navy and four Army Air Forces aviators - ranging in age from only 19 to 24, were cruelly murdered by the Japanese only 58 days before the end of the war - a truly needless act.
Those responsible were caught and brought to justice and sentenced at the subsequent War Crimes Trials, but that did not bring back the young men who died so needlessly. May we never forget their dedication to serving their country and their sacrifice for our freedom.
In 2005 the Society held a remembrance service at the old prison wall, and in 2009 placed a memorial plaque on the outside of the wall near Jinshan Road.
In 2015 the Society director with assistance from the staff at Chunghwa Telecom, found the location inside the former prison walls where the execution was perpetrated. There is a small garden along the wall where the executions took place.
The American Airmen's Memorial Plaque on the old Taipei Prison wall.
For those wishing to visit the site of the Airmens' Memorial, the address is -
Lane 44, Jinshan South Road Sec. 2, Taipei [ 金山南路2段44巷 - for taxi ]. The site is located on Jinshan South Road about a block south of Hsinyi Road on the west side of the street. The lane and the old prison wall are right next to the Chunghwa Telecom Building and just a couple of blocks walk from the Dongmen MRT Station Exit #3.
71 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 5 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 were also trying to work 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.
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 70 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
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 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 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. Freedom of the press and the media has also been restricted in many cases.
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 in 1933! Many Japanese people are calling Shinzo Abe a "Fascist" and "Public Enemy No. 1".
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. Things have happened so fast in Japan that it has been hard to keep up, and one wonders what the future holds for the people of Japan and as well, its Asian neighbours!
Despite critical meetings held in the Diet, and conferences with Japan's top constitutional experts and myriads of lawyers - all of whom rule his actions unconstitutional and un-democratic, and with complete disregard for the will of the Japanese people, Shinzo Abe and his Right Wing extremists are still trying to make changes illegally to Japan's constitution. One wonders where this will all end, but as of now it certainly looks like Japan and its people are headed for a future run by a "dangerous ultra-nationalist dictator unrestrained by the law".
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.
April 5, 2016 - Update to the "POW Camp Tours" page, with regards to booking tours
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.
December 28, 2015 - "19 Years of Researching, Remembering and Honouring the Taiwan POWs" added to the Articles & Stories Section.
November 28, 2015 - Fall-Winter2015 Newsletter uploaded to the site. Click here or go to the Society Section and click on the newsletter in the Newsletters box.
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.
April 16, 2015 - "Hirohito's Responsibility for the End of World War II" - added to the Articles & Stories Section.
November 30, 2014 - The "A LOOK AT THE WAR CRIMINALS' MEMORIALS" feature added to the Articles & Stories Section.
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.
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 -
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.
As well as actual war grave photos, 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!
Click here...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 more than 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 and information we can get.
USS Santee - CVE-29 USS Brister - DE-327