INVESTIGATION BALLALE ISLAND

Period Nov 42 to Sep 43.

KOREAN - KANEHARA KANSHYO

 

Interrogated by NX. 70429

Maj. E.C. Millikin.

 

I was on BALLALE Island from 3 November 42 until 24 September 43 and was quartered in the jungle area on the S.E. portion of the Island. I was employed as a Labourer on the airstrip construction of roads etc. As I could speak Japanese well I used to act a interpreter of any orders given by Japanese to my particular gang. In November or December 1942 a party of white men came to the island. I heard from the Japs that there were five or six hundred. It was the end of November or early December that they came. I first saw them after they had landed. They came on a big vessel - NOT a naval vessel which approached the Island from the South. They were landed by barges from the ship to the jetty. One day after the prisoners had landed (the next day) Ozaki himself beheaded a white man. I heard this from the Japs, the reason was that the white men did not hear some orders, or if he heard them he did not obey. These white men were quartered on the WESTERN end of the island, which was out of bounds to the Koreans. I was working in a different part of the island and did not see-them at work, but I used to see them going to and from work. I never spoke to them - there was no opportunity. I heard froth the Japs that they were ENGLISHMEN from SINGAPORE. I do not know if they were army or navy troops. Koreans were not permitted to have any dealings with the PoWs that was done by the Japs. Witness is questioned about clothing of PoWs and shown forage cap, officers type cap and slouch hat, also picture of RA badge. He stated that all types of headgear shown were worn by the prisoners. Their clothing was mostly Khaki and somewhat similar to that worn by Australian troops at present. He was unable to recall having seen the RA. badge. I do o know from first hand knowledge, but I overheard Jap troops discussing the fact that a lot of PoWs were killed by Allied bombing, a lot were killed and many wounded. I heard that those killed were buried. I do NOT know where the grave is situated. I also heard from Jap that those who died of illness before the air raids were put in rice sacks and dumped at sea. After the air raid I saw about 100 PoWs who were gathering rock at the NORTH end of the island for the airstrip I could not get near them. According to Jap stories, an M.O. Capt. WATANABE after the air raid supplied a small quantity of medicine etc. to the PoWs. I do not know of any further medical care.

The set up in the PoWs camp was as follows:- There was a compound in which there were three large huts. There was a gate at either end. Near the gates were Jap guard posts. Beyond the guard posts were Jap air raid shelters. During a raid the Japs took shelter, but compelled the PoWs to remain in their huts.

I heard three bombs fell in the PoWs compound. After the raid I only saw about 100 PoWs. I do not know what happened to the wounded. About the end of May, I last saw the PoWs, I did not see any after that date. On 30th June 1943 an American warship bombarded the island, but no landing was made.

I heard from the Japs that the remaining PoWs, about 70 or 80 were all killed. A big hole was dug, I do not know by whom, shot and put into it. This was probably before the had shelling. The PoWss had been  becoming weaker during the time island.

OZAKI was the highest Jap Officer on the island at this time. I heard this story from various Jap 0/Rs, but do not remember their names. (A nominal roll of 18 Naval Construction Unit persons is read over, but whilst witness remembers many of them he explains that he overheard these stories whilst in the vicinity of a number of Japs) Witness further explains that the above was a story that went the rounds of the troops as a matter of interest. I have NOT heard any stories of ill-treatment of' PoWs apart from the beheading by OZAKI and the shooting of the 70 or 80 men. I did NOT see any white men after I had heard the story of the shooting. According to stories current at the time the shooting was done in accordance with OZAKI's orders. I do NOT know why the PoWs were shot.

I do NOT know the name of any Japanese who would be in a position to tell the facts

There was an army guard in charge of the PoWs.

I do NOT actually know if they were short of food, but I think, from conditions. on the island at the time, that it would be so.

 I do NOT know about sick men being forced to work, but understand that Capt WATANABE gave them small quantities of medicine.

I do NOT think that sick PoWs, were put to work because early in the piece I often saw working parties down to about half strength and was told that it was because the others were sick.

On occasions I was about 10 metres away and saw PoWs unloading stone from trucks on the strip. They were told to hurry up, some did NOT do so and were punched by the army guards. At that time the PoWs appeared to be healthy.

There were some Chinese on the island for a very short time - they were attached to the Army for a period of 2 or 3 months. I heard from the Japs that in cases of Chinese who did not work - they were either shot or beheaded. I did NOT have any contact with the Chinese - they here in the same part of the island as the PoWs which area was out of bounds. I do NOT know if they were civilians or army personnel, nor where they came from.

I did NOT at any time see an American parachutists, nor did I hear about one.

 

The above evidence was taken at No. 11 Compound, Kokopo and at Witnesses Compound, Rabaul.

 

E.C. Millikin, Major

Interrogating Officer.

 

 

 

Roll of Honour

 

ron.taylor@roll-of-honour.org.uk

 

[600 Gunners Party] [History] [Korean Interpreter on Ballale] [Japanese Questionnaire] [Ozaki Statement] [War Crimes Report] [Roll] [Bomana War Cemetery]