Hakodate #2 (Akahira) - Japan POW

Discussion in 'Prisoners of War' started by historysearcher, Jul 20, 2015.

  1. historysearcher

    historysearcher New Member

    I am researching details about a family member

    Victor Albert Drewett
    17/3/1903 - 1960

    I have been told that he was a POW in Japan via family members, and I have found no other details other than confirmation here:


    Drewett, Victor A.,QM Sgt,,British,,,,na,Hak-2B-Akahira

    This says he was located at:

    "Branch Camp #2 was at Akahira-machi, Sorachi-gun and contained 167 Brit and 114 Americans"

    If anyone knows where I may be able to find documents, or any further information about why he would of ended up there, it would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks in advance,
    CL1 likes this.
  2. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

  3. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Changi on 16/02/42
    King's Own Royal Regt. - att. 14th Indian Div.

    Singapore fell on the 15th of February.

    Doubtless some of the more knowledgeable chaps can help with a detail or two of his unit's specific activities.
  4. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Cofepow have been photographing these Liberation Questionnaire's for a while, good to see they have covered the file with Albert's papers.

    He is also recorded on their database here: http://www.cofepowdb.org.uk/cdb2/Controller.jsp?action=showfepow&id=12172

    No new information for you, but it is likely that he will have a POW index card as well, which should include his POW number/numbers and next of kin details. This can be found in file series WO345, prisoners are collated alphabetically in file boxes, Albert would be in box 15, therefore file WO345/15.

    As VP says, others will know more about his service in Singapore and POW pathway.
    ritsonvaljos likes this.
  5. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Once again, through good fortune and the alphabetical nature of the surname, I've picked out Albert's details from the file WO392/23, POW Roster of those held by the Japanese. See attached.

    It confirms his last camp as Hakodate, and his liberation date of 02/09/1945. So a little more information for you.

    Drewett VA..jpg
  6. Enigma1003

    Enigma1003 Member

    Hi HistorySearcher,

    Albert Victor Drewett. 3707184.

    Unfortunately his details for Singapore were recorded in Changi File number 6 during 1942/3, and this is one of the nine missing files.

    He was herded to the docks on 24/10/1942 where he boarded the Japanese Hellship “England Maru”, which sailed on the 26/10/1942.
    A near 3 week voyage in attrocious conditions locked down in the hold, saw them arrive at Keelung in northern Formosa (Taiwan).
    The 1,100 men were then split into 2 groups, with 523 being sent to the number 1 camp at Kinkaseki Copper Mine, and the remainder of the men being sent to number 6 camp at Taihoku (Taipei).
    No camp was ‘easy’ but Kinkaseki was considered the most brutal and within a few months deaths through disease, starvation and rock falls meant more men were needed to mine. Camp 6 was the main supply camp for men to be transferred into Kinkaseki as replacements, with ‘thin men’ parties also being shipped out. Safety equipment was expensive but considered unnecessary with the POW's lives being expendable.

    However, Albert Drewett survived the transfers and remained in Taihoku camp until 27/02/1945.

    At this time, virtually every shipment of copper being sent to mainland Japan was being sunk, so the decision was made to close the mine.
    On 27/02/1945 he boarded his second hellship, “Taiko Maru” with 700 men and sailed for Moji, Japan.
    From Moji he was transported to Hakodate where he worked down the coalmines.

    CL1, papiermache, 4jonboy and 2 others like this.
  7. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    I was hoping you would spot this thread Mike. Wonderful info as always.

  8. papiermache

    papiermache Well-Known Member

    Welcome to the forum, historysearcher,

    Cofepow does not show the second page of liberation questionnaires but about one in ten have more information so it is worthwhile making a trip to Kew to look for the original document. If you can't do that then ask Lee or Drew to get a photo of the IJA card and LQ for very reasonable charges. Searches for LQ's and IJA cards can be more difficult than they should be.

    Of the other people mentioned on the LQ very kindly linked by VP from Cofepow the correct name of the Major General was Key, not Keyes. Major General B W Key CB DSO MC left brief private papers with the Imperial War Museum dealing with the defence of Malaya.

    Captain Robert V. Gibbons gave evidence in a war crimes trial concerning POW camps in Formosa, as it was then known. See the file at the National Archives under reference WO235/1044 or just put that reference in to your favourite search engine and it will take you to a website called Hong Kong War Crimes. This gives you a summary of the proceedings. For access to a digital copy of the full transcript you have to have access to the Hong Kong University computer system, but you can look at the hard copy at Kew.

    War crimes trials involving POW camps in Japan proper were handled by the United States Judge Advocate General. Mansell.com sometimes reproduces affidavits filed in such cases. Transcripts of trials are held in the US National Archives at Maryland, but they are notoriously difficult files to locate, apparently.
    dbf likes this.
  9. historysearcher

    historysearcher New Member

    Hello everyone,
    Sorry for the slow response.

    Firstly I would like to say a huge thank you to van poop,bamboo, enigma and papiermache :salut:

    You have all given me some great info, Enigma, i loved your reply, thank you for taking the time.

    I now have some solid information to work with and study,

    I had no idea what Albert had gone through :mellow: I can't even begin to imagine.

    Thank you once again

  10. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    No problem, I hope all the information might help build a fairly strong picture of what Albert went through.
  11. Enigma1003

    Enigma1003 Member

    Hi HistorySearcher,

    I'm glad the information proved enlightening.
    Although Albert was not in Kinkaseki, a book that would give details of his hellship voyage and give general conditions they had to endure would be "One Day at a Time", and several copies are available at around £3 including the postage.

    [​IMG] I would suggest going for a copy descibed as "Book Condition: Very Good"

  12. Mike Jackson

    Mike Jackson New Member

    I was planning to go to Hakodate to visit the Akabira POW Camp Number 2 where my father Gunner Stanley Jackson was incarcerated. But I just found out the camp was in the far north at Akabira not Hakodate City. Im replanning my trip. I have a lot more info on my fathers capture, imprisonment and his likely eventual route home that i'm willing to share with you historysearcher and anyone else who is interested.
    Enigma1003 and von Poop like this.

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