I begin this posting with my publication this week of a new book about my father's war experiences in the Philippines in World War II. On December 7th he was stationed in the Philippines when it was bombed eight hours after Pearl Harbor. Days later it was invaded by the 14th Imperial Japanese Army.
The book is titled "Deadline-Capt. Charlie's Bataan Diary". He fought on Luzon and Bataan until he was captured. He survived the death march and three prison camps, the last one north of Tokyo called Hitachi Pow Camp 8. He was sent there with 300 other men as forced laborers to work in a copper mine. If you didn't work you were beaten. In 18 months, five men died.
My dad kept a hidden account of the atrocities. The worst days in camp (and there were many ) was when a death occurred due to execution or dysentery or malnutrition- that was common in Camp O'Donnell, his first POW Camp. A Good day was when you've got about a spoonful of meat and that occurred about once a month.
Captain Charlie spent 18 months in Hitachi POW Camp, north of Tokyo. But he almost didn't make it out. On May 28, 1944, he intervened to save an American private name Guiraud. One afternoon Japanese guards senseless and repeated beat the private into unconsciousness with bamboo rods and rifle butts because of a small infraction in the mine. Charlie, stepped in and was accused of "interference." He paid a heavy price, getting beaten himself, but was relieved to know Private Guiraud, survived.
Upon the Japanese surrender at the end of the war, men of Hitachi prison camp were not rescued. Captain Charlie had to commandeer a Japanese train thru hostile territory until he found American lines back in Yokohama, in order to get help for his 300 men, and two other northern prison camps. As a journalist, he volunteered to write the charges against his guards that committed these atrocities. This evidence was used to prosecute his tormentors at the war crimes commission in 1946. Six were found guilty and sentenced to Sugoma prison recieving long-term sentences.
Much of the book is derived from my dad's first hand reports. He preserved his war notes, manuscripts, news stories and photo's, in a vault and this material was found after his death. Material was also derived from POW Associations and accounts from other men interned in the same camp. The result, is a rare and rich account of what daily life was like for soldier on Bataan and later, as a POW in Japan during World War II. Listed within the text are the charging affidavits and other evidence presented to the war crimes commission.
Charlie's story is an inspiration to all of us, then and now and especially for our soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. They also will also make it they will also survive.
It was no small task research this story after so many years and to put this material in a chronological order. The book took me 3 1/2 years to research and write. Many interviews were conducted, even to people in Japan. Special thanks go to the individuals that help me with this work. My first cousin Dr. Brian Carr, Lubbock Texas, correlated the vault material on a DVD so I could make sense out of it, to begin the story. My brother-in-law Mark Lambdin, a professional photographer, was able to enhance and restore vital photos from the early 1940s. Special thanks also goes to the editor of the POW magazine the"Quan," who printed my short article about my research; that generated useful responses.
The book titled "Deadline- Captain Charlie's Diary," by Charles Underwood Jr. PhD by Piscataqua Press, at Www. Piscataquapress.com and reasonably priced at $16.99, a portion of royalties being contributed to the national POW Association. It is also on Amazon.com , and shortly will be on e-books by 20 December.
If you have any comments or want more information please contact me.