The Heroic World War Two Volunteer – Charles Joseph Coward

Auschwitz III (Monowitz); Photo Credit

He fought against the Nazis and was sent to a concentration camp. There he spied on his captors and risked his life to save those he could. All that under…

Source: The Heroic World War Two Volunteer – Charles Joseph Coward

Bunker of the beast of Auschwitz found in a convent

Bundesarchiv CC-BY-SA 3.0

Fritz Bracht, nicknamed the Beast of Auschwitz, was born in Heiden on the 18th January 1899. After school he trained to become a gardener and when World War I broke out he joined the military, only to be captured by the British and held as a prisoner of war until 1919.

After the war he worked as a handy-man and joined the Nazi Party on 1st April 1927. He rapidly rose…

Source: Bunker of the beast of Auschwitz found in a convent

Christmas in January 1943

Pacific Paratrooper

Cabanatuan Prison Camp Cabanatuan Prison Camp

Commander Melvin H.McCoy of the U.S.Navy had survived the Bataan death march on the Philippines and was now in the notorious Davao Prison camp on Mindanao. Like most prisoners of the Japanese they were on starvation rations and men were dying on a daily basis.

On 29th January 1943 they got a lucky break. For whatever reason the Japanese had for once decided to hand over the Red Cross parcels that had been sent from the States. This was a very irregular event. Many prisoners of the Japanese never saw any of them.

Red Cross parcel Red Cross parcel

The importance of such support from home could never be underestimated:

“It’s Christmas, Commander McCoy!” he shouted. “It’s Christmas!”

I was well aware that Christmas had already passed, practically without notice, so I asked him to explain his excitement.

“Stuff from home,” he babbled. “Boxes from the States. Red Cross boxes.”

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Fepows

Pacific Paratrooper

F Force enroute to the Burma Railroad, by Otto Kreeft F Force enroute to the Burma Railroad, by Otto Kreeft

Fepows – Far Eastern POWs

Countless films and books concerned with the Second World War have, through the decades, concentrated on Europe and the Holocaust and the Far East prisoners of war have barely been mentioned.  The official 5 volumes of British history for this war include only 10 pages devoted to the subject, compared to the Australian history with 170 pages.

sketch by Jack Chalker, Fepow;British Army, Konyu, Thailand sketch by Jack Chalker, Fepow;British Army, Konyu, Thailand

Japan’s army conquered the Far East in 1941-42.  Prisoners were taken from Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaya, Thailand, Java, Sumatra, Ambon, New Britain, Celebes, Guam and the Philippines.  According to the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal, Japan took more than 50,000 British and Australian troops in Singapore alone; 42,000 Dutch (N.E.I.); 10,000 British in Java and 25,000 Americans in the Philippines and then transported to the mainland camps.

The Japanese government made…

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