06 August 2006

WW2 Story- Singapore


For full story please check the link:


Downed aircrews who became POWs received the worst possible treatment. As early as 1942, the Japanese command classified them as war criminals. Any pilot or crew member captured were likely to be tortured or killed as soon as their parachute folded on the ground. In Singapore, four flyers were paraded through the streets naked and then had their heads chopped off in public. At Hankow in China, airmen were tortured and burned alive. At Kendebo, after a speech by a major general, a decapitated fighter pilot was cut up, fried, and eaten by 150 Japanese officers. Eight captured B-29 crewmen were turned over to the medical professors at Kyushu Imperial University. The professors cut them up alive, stopping the blood flow in an artery near the heart to see how long death took.

Allied soldier captured in Germany

My great uncle, Raymond Aseltine, enlisted to fight in WWI at the tender age of 17, and was with the first wave of Marines to land in France. He was in Verdun, captured one night was his patrol was moving among the trenches..all but he and another man killed by the Germans.
His mother, my great grandmother, never knew he was a POW. She only got word that he was alive after the war, when he was shipped Stateside into a hospital and dictated a letter to her from his convalescent bed. My mother has a copy of that letter and what I remember of it:
He speaks of his capture, being stripped naked and forced into wearing rags and wooden shoes, then paraded through a German town where the civilians came out to jeer and spit on him. His captors telling the crowds that this was how Americans were equipped to fight the superior German armies. He relates being turned into slave labor and the treatment at the hands of his German captors, the Brit POW with shrapnel in his leg that Raymond dug out and tried to clean, the Russian POW clubbed to death with the rifle butts of German guards for eating a potato that had fallen onto the ground off a cart, his body left to lay in the street. He speaks of the 12-16 hrs a day of slaving in a mine, with only black bread partially made with sawdust and acorn coffee as rations. He speaks of losing almost 65 pounds over 5 months, of finally being warehoused in a "hospital" waiting to die because he was too sick and weak to work, of watching others in the room succumb and wondering when his time was coming. Of the Germans tossing open the doors and saying "The war is now over" then disappearing. Of his stumbling out of the "hospital" and German civilians now running up to him offering chocolate and "we really like you, you know", even one man offering his daughter to marry Raymond.

American Pow-Philippines

In June, the American POWs were moved to Cabanatuan Concentration Camp. There Dyess witnessed one of the worst atrocities of his months as a POW. Two lieutenant colonels and a Navy lieutenant were caught attempting to escape. The men were stripped naked, tied to posts at the camp gate, and left in the blazing sun for three days without food or water. Passing Filipinos were forced to beat the men with boards until the three were barely recognizable as human beings. On the third day, the officers were cut down and dragged into the camp, where one lieutenant colonel was beheaded and the other two men were shot.


24 April at St Julien I saw a small party of Germans about 50 yards away. I lay still and in about half an hour they left. I saw what appeared to be a man in British uniform. I was horrified to see that the man was literally crucified, being fastened to the post by eight bayonets. He was suspended about 18" from the ground, the bayonets being driven through his legs, shoulders, throat and testicles. At his feet lay an English rifle, broken and covered with blood."
The event supposedly happened to, according to a Red Cross Nurse and multiple testimonies from men of the same unit, a Harry Banks of Canadian 48th Highland Regiment. This story was widely used in the black propaganda of the time, together with a similar rumor that Germans had bayoneted Belgian babies. Such rumours made for highly graphic and disturbing pictures and were ideal for helping to demonize the enemy. s everywhere

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