15
   

Oral histories: What was it like during the war, mum?

 
 
ragnel
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Apr, 2010 10:31 pm
@ragnel,
Sorry, the first excerpt was to point out that -

The first arrivals were over two thousand ..... They arrived at Hay on 7 September 1940 by four trains from Sydney. ...... On 1 March 1946 the Japanese POWs departed from Hay in five trains, transferred to Tatura.

This would suggest there were more than 2000 Japanese at Hay (I guess they could have used smaller trains.)

I meant to edit the quote but mucked it up.

Dad used to tell us his scariest times during the war were when he had to go inside the compound at the camp. They went in pairs, but were only allowed to carry kettle sticks (again the shortened broom handles used to stir and extricate the clothes from the big copper wash kettles). The guns were only used by perimeter guards as deterrents from anyone trying to escape the compound.
ragnel
 
  1  
Reply Sat 1 May, 2010 10:19 pm
@ragnel,
This did not happen in war time, but in the late 1980's. They were making a film about the Cowra breakout and a number of Japanese actors were brought out to Oz. One day my work colleagues and I were lunching at a restaurant where you cooked your own steaks on a grill. While cooking mine, suddenly I was surrounded by a group of young Japanese men, most of whom had never grilled a steak before. One of them, speaking fairly good English, asked if I would show them what to do. I stayed with them, introducing them to long-handled tongs, which brought great relief as they thought the turning and lifting had to be done with your table fork. My translator told me they were the actors from the Cowra film. I told him about my Dad being at Hay.

This caused much discussion among the group, and I thought I had done the wrong thing by mentioning it. But, in fact, they were very impressed. It seems that before leaving Japan they had spoken to some of the ex-Cowra-POWs who had told them about being sent to Hay after Cowra was shut down. They wanted me to pass on to my father the great respect they had for the guards who they saw as being 'very tough but very fair'.
panzade
 
  1  
Reply Sun 2 May, 2010 05:13 pm
@ragnel,
Thanks for the interesting history. My dad was at Hay, but as an internee. Funny, he never mentioned Japanese POWs.
panzade
 
  1  
Reply Sun 2 May, 2010 07:14 pm
Some years ago I belonged to a duplicate bridge club. The director was a well bred man in his seventies who was always sloppily dressed and needing a shave.

I asked him one time why he was so disheveled looking(we were good friends) and he told me this story.

In the last weeks of the battle for Iwo Jima, my friend who was a Marine private, was walking with his best friend along a trail. His friend was an officer and was dressed more neatly than my friend. A Japanese sniper calculated who was the officer and killed him. From then on my buddy said he never worried much about his appearance.
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Sun 2 May, 2010 07:24 pm
@panzade,
panzade wrote:

Some years ago I belonged to a duplicate bridge club. The director was a well bred man in his seventies who was always sloppily dressed and needing a shave.

I asked him one time why he was so disheveled looking(we were good friends) and he told me this story.

In the last weeks of the battle for Iwo Jima, my friend who was a Marine private, was walking with his best friend along a trail. His friend was an officer and was dressed more neatly than my friend. A Japanese sniper calculated who was the officer and killed him. From then on my buddy said he never worried much about his appearance.
now there's a difference between Old wars and New ones. In the New wars officers don't dress like officers so they won't be targets and grunts developed the technique of oviously
saluting whomever they wanted targeted. a devious form of fragging.
ragnel
 
  1  
Reply Sun 2 May, 2010 07:34 pm
@panzade,
Apart from the myriad stories that have been printed (and filmed) of life in Britain during the war, there must be a wealth of material regarding war away from the front line. People should be encouraged to pass this on or it will soon be lost forever.

My ex nearly killed me one day. He was doing shift work and had worked until the early hours of the morning. His shift changed that day and I had to wake him around lunch time. I had just got the baby to sleep, so I quietly shook him to wake him. He sprang up and grabbed me around the throat with both hands. After a few seconds he let go of me, horrified. "Please don't ever do that again" he said "I thought I was back in 'Nam." I soon learned to call him from the doorway if he had to wake up after a short sleep!
0 Replies
 
panzade
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 May, 2010 05:42 am
@dyslexia,
Quote:
saluting whomever they wanted targeted. a devious form of fragging.

I had heard about that.
0 Replies
 
dadpad
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 May, 2010 06:41 am
@panzade,
There were a number of encampments or compounds at Hay Panz. One for internees wth families, one for single men and one for Pow's. Your father may never have had contact with the Japanese.
some photos and other info http://www.naa.gov.au/whats-on/online/feature-exhibits/internment-camps/WWII/hay.aspx
panzade
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 May, 2010 08:23 am
@dadpad,
He may have moved to Tatura too.
Here's a water color he did of the Hay camp
http://www.holocaust.com.au/mm/images/world_germanybotpic.gif
0 Replies
 
saab
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 May, 2010 08:10 am
If you are interested in more please, read following book. I enjoyed every page of it.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
0 Replies
 
 

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