North China Marines held here were those not sent to Japan in November of 1942, August of 1943, and November of 1943. This was only a temporary camp while the POWs were being sent from Kiangwan to Japan in May of 1945. Fengtai is located about 7 miles southwest of Peking. The POWs were housed in a warehouse. The POWs arrived 14 May 45 and left 19 June 45.
PRISONER OF WAR CAMPS IN AREAS OTHER THAN THE FOUR PRINCIPAL ISLANDS OF JAPAN
LIAISON & RESEARCH BRANCH AMERICAN PRISONER OF WAR INFORMATION BUREAU
Fengtai Camp was located 2 miles from the Fengtai Railway Junction, and 8 miles
2. PRISONER PERSONNEL;
The Advanced group of 100 men arrived 9 May 1945 to open the camp. The second group,
3. GUARD PERSONNEL!
All Japanese officers and guards were transferred from Kiangwan.
4. GENERAL CONDITIONS:
Conditions as a whole were deplorable. The housing situation was over-crowded, the
(a) Housing facilities: The men were quartered in a large brick warehouse very
(b) Latrines: The latrine was a huge open pit about 20 feet away from the bar-
(c) Bathing: The only water outlet in the entire camp was a single fire hydrant.
(d) Mess Halls: The mess hall was in a separate building about 150 yards away
(e) Food: Food here was in a way inferior to Kiangwan. The meat ration was low-
(f) Medical Facilities; Medtcal facilities comprised all the supplies and equip-
A hospital was set up in the same section of the officers quarters. Protests were
(g) Supplies; The Red Cross managed to deliver one shipment of clothes and food,
The day before the prisoners were scheduled to leave Fengtai a Red Cross shipment
(h) Mail: Only local mail was received and no outgoing mail was allowed...
(j> Treatment; The treatment was the some as in Kiangwan and Woosung.
2nd Lt.------ 70.83 Yen 1st Lt.------ 85.00 Yen Captain------.122.50 Yen
Major--------170.00 Yen Lt. Colonel--230.00 Yen Colonel--312. 50 Yen
FENGTAI CHINA page 2
There was the same deduction of 60 yen for food, clothing, furniture and electricity.
(1) Recreation: Except for the library that was moved from Kiangwan, furnished
(m) Religious Activities: There were no orthodox church services. Some of the
(n) Morale: The morale was.excellent due to the fact that the men had stayed
The 996 prisoners were divided into 3 groups, namely A,B, and C. Group A consisted
End of Report.
Wake civilian James Allen was part of a group of 150 civilians sent at this time to Niigata. The other 150 men from group B was apparently sent elsewhere in the Tokyo area. The James Allen information can be seen at http://rims.k12.ca.us/pow/index.html
Description of travel to Fengtai and Japan from Col Ashurst's notes to War Department -
On 9 May 1945 996 POWs left by rail for Fengtai. They passed through Shanghai, Nanking, Soochowfoo, and Tientsin. They arrived at Fengtai the morning of 15 May 1945. Fengtai was their worst experience as they lived in large warehouses on dirt or brick floors. There was much sickness between time of arrival and departure on 19 June.
"On June 19, 1945 left Fengtai near Peiping via rail - Tientsin, Chinwangtao - Mukden, Manchuria - to Fusan, Korea by water to Japan arriving June 29, 1945 (Four days in a filthy camp at Fusan and aboard a crowded, dirty, foul-smelling, louse-and-flea-ridden holds of a prison ship, four decks down, interspersed with diseased Korean Coolies, for a heat-exhausting and stormy trip for two days and one night while crossing mine-submarine-infested waters of the Strait of Tsushima from Korea to Japan.) Then by rail Kobe, Nagoya, Osaki, Tokyo to the Island 'Hakodate' arriving there July 4, 1945.
We were taken on north then by rail to camps in an area called "Nishi-Ashibetsu, Hokkaido, Japan. The officers were then separated from the men and placed in "Hakodate War Prisoner's Branch Camp No. 4., Nishi-Ashibetsu, Hokkaido, Japan." The letter says they were released from here 14 Sep 45. There were many camps in the area "three of ours, some of men from the Philippines, some Dutch and more British and Australian. Our officers were in Camp No. 4 with 48 Australian officers." The Australians were in Camp 4 about two weeks before Ashurst's group arrived 7 Jul 1945."
The Otera report lists the following numbers leaving Fengtai. The dates are apparently when the POWs actually left Pusan, at which time they were officially transferred to Japan and no longer the responsibility of Colonel Otera.
one group of 406 US officer and enlisted, 39 British, 29 US Merchant Marine, 25 British Merchant Marine, 1 South African Merchant Marine. This group left Fengtai on 24 Jun 1945. The Ashurst papers list 407 US military, 29 US Merchant Marine, 39 British military, and 25 British Merchant Marine, for a total of 500 in this group. They went to Hokkaido.
one group of 70 Italian officer and enlisted, 2 Italian Merchant Marine, 223 American civilian, and 2 Norwegian Merchant Marine. This group left 27 Jun 1945. The Ashurst papers list 223 US civilian and merchant marine crew, 5 Norwegian Merchant Marine, 70 Italian military, and 2 Italian Merchant Marine for a total of 300 in this group. They ended up in camps on Honshu, some of them in Niigata.
a third group of 13 US officer and enlisted and 13 US civilian is listed as being transferred on 27 Jun1945 to the Tohoku Army District Command. This appears to be those POWs held in Peking and Shanghai when the rest were sent to Japan.
The Ashurst papers and the official Fengtai report mention another group (Group C) of 196 POWs that had 1 USMC officer, 7 Navy corpsmen, 100 white Merchant Marine and civilians, and 88 Oriental civilians. They ended up in Sendai # 11. This group somehow does not appear in the Otera report, yet all the other numbers equal those in the Ashurst report.
The Otera report specifically says the Shanghai War Prisoners Camp was the title by which the camp was known whether it was at Woosung, Kiangwan, or Fengtai. Otera lists the following as being held under him at the end of the war:
Lt Commander Winfield Scott Cunningham USN
Capt Kendall Frank Everest Jr USAAC, 2nd Lts John David Beers, Robert Leighty Gardner, George Barr, Robert Lowell Hite, and Chase Jay Nielson, all USAAC
Corporal Jacob Daniel Deshazer USA
Sgt Raymond Leonard Coulson, Corporals Connie Gene Battles and Charles Brimmer, PFC Charles Stewart all USMC (This is in error as Cunningham, Coulson, Battles, Brimmer, and Stewart had all been sent to Peking earlier. See Escapes and Deaths)
Pharmacist Mate 2nd Travis Artis Brewer USN
Wake Civilians Pat Howard Herndon, William Jack Hernandez, and Raymond Reese Rutledge. Hernandez had escaped from the train carrying the POWs from Shanghai to Fengtai, but had broken his leg in the process and was recaptured.
Otera lists the following men as being released from his jurisdiction on 5 Aug 1945 to the Civil Assembly Center in Shanghai:
Plt Sgt William Didd Beck USMC, Corp Robert Earl Lee USMC, Seaman 2nd Carl Moor Jr USN, PFC Leroy Glenwood Moritz USMC, PFC John Henry Jesse USMC, Civilian Edward Laurence Cook, Civilian Amos Jerome White, Merchant Seaman Eugene Bright Deturcz, Merchant Seaman Donald Mason Smith, British Merchant Seaman Herbert R Edmondson, Italians Marion Benedetti and Alberto Stebel, and one USMC SSgt with first name of Carl Stephen (last name unreadable)
Otera lists the following as being released from the hospital in Shanghai and being in the Military Internment Camp in Peking, apparently a camp not under his jurisdiction:
PFC William Krenistki USMC, PFC Harris Lee Mercer USMC, Corp Theodore Roosevelt Dedmon USMC, PFC Douglas A Bunn USMC, Civilians Raymond Hadly Wheeler, Reed Bradley Catmull, Daniel Clarence Hall, Howard Elliot Cook, Joseph W Walters, John Sherman Crom, and Royal Army Corporal Charles Kitchener Heather.
All spellings are taken from the Otera report.