A Japanese Soldier WW2 – Story from the Past

From the Papers of

WX27392  Joseph Richard EATON

Lieutenant 2nd 16th Battalion

Provided by Tom Norris

Joseph Richard Eaton
Possibly Captain Shiosawa with Lt Eaton

This relates to an undated document that was in the possession of Joseph Richard Eaton and appears to be a transcript of an interview with Reserve Army Captain Kazue Shiosawa (this spelling could be Shiozawa) of the Japanese Army at Makassar Camp on the Island of Sulawesi (Celebes)

From the dates in the document and the Service history of Lt Eaton, it appears probable that it was recorded some-time between August 1945 and February 1946 at Makassar Camp prior to the War Crimes Trials held in Singapore during mid-1946.  The person recording this interview is unknown, and the document may be a copy of the original interview notes.

Lt Eaton enlisted on 28 June 1942 with 28 Battalion Home Forces and in December 1944 transferred to the 2nd 16th Battalion. 

AWM records that “The 2/16th’s left Australia for its last operation of the war on 3 June 1945.  It landed at Balikpapan on 1 July and encountered its heaviest fighting of the campaign that day, but was involved in patrol operations until the end of the war on 15 August.  From mid-October to late January 1946 the 2/16th formed part of the occupation force in the Celebes.  It sailed for home for the last time on 2 February and was disbanded in Brisbane later that month.”

Referring to http://www.powresearch.jp/en/archive/camplist/outside_index.html#java on POW Research Network Japan, Captain Shiozowa (Shiozawa) was in Ambon from April 1943.

Dispatched No.3 Branch Camp Ambon Amahai From 1943-04 Lt. Colonel Anami (from 1943-04 – 1944-11) Established and 6,600 POWs who had been in Java were interned in the detached camps at Amahai, Flores, Haruku and Liang in 1943-04.
No.1 Detached Camp of Dispatched No.3 Branch Camp Amahai Ambon   Accountant Colonel Shiozawa*  

* The rank of “Accountant Colonel” probably should have been “Captain”.

The transcript of the interview has him in Ambon as from April 1943 reporting to Lt Colonel Anami.  This date is critical as it matches evidence given later  in the War Crimes Trials held in Singapore.


The document records, in the words of Captain Kazue Shiosawa, his experience in the POW Camps and events following the end of the War.  It paints a far different picture from that of the War Crimes Trail held in Singapore mid-1946.  Captain Shiosawa refers to his good relationship with British Major Gibson of the Royal Artillery, yet Gibson was a witness for the prosecution.

The real story will forever remain a mystery.  Was he a soldier following orders of  Lt Colonel Anami who was later executed as a War criminal, or was he complicit in the crimes and ill treatment of the prisoners of war.  Did he serve his 15 years, and what became of him.

The charges against those on trial included a number of charges.  The charges against Captain Shiosawa in particular related to three of those listed charges against all those on trial at the same time.  These were:

1st Charge

COMMITTING A WAR CRIME in that they at Sourabaya, Java, and at sea, in the month of April 1943, when concerned in the transport of a draft of British and Dutch Prisoners of War to Horoekoe, Liang (Ambon) and Amahai (Ceram) Islands, were, in violation of the laws and usage of war, together concerned in the ill-treatment of the said prisoners of War.

3rd Charge

COMMITTING A WAR CRIME in that they at Ambon Island, between 1st May 1943 and 31st October 1944, the accused, (trial notes lists others), as members of the Ambon prisoners of war camp-staff, being responsible for the well-being of the British and Dutch prisoners of war together concerned in the inhumane treatment of the said Prisoners of War resulting in the deaths of some and in physical sufferings to others

5th Charge

Against Anami, Shimada and Shiowasa only.  COMMITTING A WAR CRIME in that they at Ceram Islands, between 1st May 1943 and 31st October 1944, the accused Lt Colonel Anami as Commandant Prisoners of War Camp Group, the accused Captain Shimada, as Medical Officer Prisoners of War Camp Group, and Captain Shiosawa an officer in charge Amahai Camp, being responsible for the well being of British and Dutch Prisoners of War interned in the said camp, were, in violation of the laws and usages of war, together concerned in the inhumane treatment of the said prisoners of war resulting in the deaths of some and in physical sufferings to others.

As a result of these charges Captain Kazue Shioswa was found Not Guilty of the 1st Charge, but Guilty of the 3rd and 5th Charges and sentenced to 15 years imprisonment.



I am head of the “Peace Camp” (Makaasor) Reserve Army Captain Shiosawa.

I responded to the call in August 1942 and was ordered to serve at the Java Prisoners of War Camps.  By the order, I served at SOERABAJA Camps (then called the 3rd branch of SOERABAJA Camps) for the first 8 months and then served at the 1st Branch of DJAKARTA Main Camp.  Although I did not come into direct contact with the Prisoners of War at SOERABAJA I had an opportunity to get acquainted with quite a good many friends at DJARTKA as I was Superintendent there.

This Camp was located at TANDJOENG PRIOK (Tandjong Priok).  I had the most memorable life there for 4 months in this camp.  It was at the Camp of TANDJOENG PRIOK that I was acquainted with Major Gibson, Lieutenant Hammer and others who later came along with me to the vicinity of AMBON, which is located nearer the front, when I was ordered to advance.

I left many other respectable friends there such as Colonel Noble, Surgeon Lieutenant Colonel Mazie, Lieutenant Colonel Tobin and so on.

Still now I look back upon the past when I spent the days with these friends there, making the flower gardens cheerfully, going fishing and holding athletic meetings and cinema shows etc.  At last, I think, those who remember me, will recall how I did my best for the benefit of the war prisoners.  I shall like to have an opportunity to see those friends again and talk about the past with them, to whom I want to congratulate for their victory and celebrate the peace.  I sincerely look to them for guidance in the future.

In April 1943 I was ordered to serve to the AMBON Detachment under the command of Lt Colonel ANAMI of the 3rd Branch Camp and sent back to the front.  In pursuant to the order I went to serve in the construction work of the AMAHAI AERODROME in CERAM ISLAND.  Those who engaged in this work were chiefly Dutch  and among them were Captain LECLERK and Captain GERHERT the Dutch representative Officers, and Captain AEREN the British representative officer with whom I was well acquainted.  We had rather hard time there for about six months, but I made utmost efforts for them.

We altogether  went fishing every day and I believe those AMAHAI days probably are a sweet remembrance to them.  But it is my great regret that about twenty persons of them unfortunately died of illness.  We altogether made a flower in the graveyard and prayed for the bliss of the deceased.  Then some of us left there for BALK ISLAND, and the others for RIAN at AMBON ISLAND., where we were put under the direct command of Lt-Col ANAMI.  In these places we were obliged to have bitter experiences under the frequent bombings, but they worked in real high spirits.

In August 1944 Lt Col ANAMI and most of the prisoners of war went to JAVA.  Since then the war situation has become rather unfavourable to Japan.  We, Major Gibson, Lt Hammer and others were forced to remain there owing to the shortage of ship space.  Then we finally got a navy sailing ship and started for MAKAASAR on the 8th October 1944 as the last party.

On the half way we were raided by the allied air forces twice and some of us were wounded or killed.  As the ship was leaking we all made our best for temporary repairs.  From then we continued drifting and at last reached RAHA at MOENA ISLAND where we stayed for about eight months.  During this time I as well as medical officers went  to KENDARI and MAKASSAR as many as three times by a parahoe, and approached the authorities concerned for a rescue ship, medicine and food.  But in spite of our great efforts we were unable to receive satisfactory assistance from them owing to the adversary situation of the war.

In those days we were often air attacked.  The rations had become gradually low, as about all the natives  had escaped to the mountains and we were afraid to go fishing and farming.  But we both had endured the painful life combining all our efforts without making differences between each other.  My soldiers went to work ox hunting every day and the war prisoners cultivated the farms.  It was the only consolation to us to listen to the trumpet played by Englishman HENTHLEY.  I can still recall the brass tune of the British Navy March which he played.

According to our decision Sergeant State followed Major GIBSON, Captain EARLEH,  and others left for MAKASSAR in November 1944 by a Parahoe (sailing boat) while we were frequently air raided.  But the boat was sunk by an enemy air attack and those on board swam back to RAHA, all their efforts having been in vain.

I prayed for the repose of souls of the war prisoners and Japanese soldiers who were unfortunately killed by bombs at that time.

While we were on our way to MAKASSAR on board a parahoe leaving in August 1945 for our last destination, the war closed.  We were advised of that after we arrived.

I at once gave the good news to them, and offered whiskies, tinned food, and the other provisions which were taken from army and navy stores, gave them new suits and arranged for music and communications instruments.

I did everything in my power to better the treatment towards them in a hope to thank  and reward for their three years hardship.

Upon closure of the war I was ordered organise the MAKASSAR branch of the Java Prisoners of War Camp with 1106 men including those from MAKASSOR Temporary prisoners of War Camp abandoned locally by the Navy and I was ordered to serve as the Superintendent of the new camp.

Immediately I changed the name of the camp to be called “Peace Camp” as long as the war closed, I thought it was not suitable any longer to call Prisoners of War Camp

I am not well aware how the MAKAASAR Temporary Prisoners of War Camp was managed while under the Navy, because I took over it only after the close of the War.  Please refer to reports submitted by the Navy on affairs before I took over.

In answer to my request for the future friendship of Major Gibson and Lieutenant Hammer with whom I have been acquainted since TANDJOENG PRIOK (Tandjong Priok) days associated very closely ever since, they gladly consented giving me their signature and address, and left here in high spirits

I used to instruct to all my men to be always sincere in treatment of the War Prisoners, and I did all in my power for their benefit to the last minute, which I believe Major Gibson whom I respect, understands well.

I hope that those intimate friends of those days will enjoy this year the most Merry Christmas in their lives, reunited with their families after a long interval.  I am looking for an early opportunity to send a message written on a beautiful Japanese picture card to Major Gibson from my native place.

I am very thankful for the assistance given to me by Allied Nations in relation to the Peace Camp.

The following was recoded on the last page of the document.  There is no indication that this was transcribed by Major Gibson, or it is details of Major Gibson so contact could be made at some later date.

Major  L V Gibson

Royal Artillery


Holley Grange


Surry England


Westminster Bank

Leadenhall Street

London EC3  

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