A trip to the archives
So, the next step was the National Archives in College Park, Maryland. I called and talked at length with one of the military archivists, then went to visit.
The bad news — no unit records survived, apparently. Tracking them down may be even worse than normal, because the unit was separated from their parent regiment and assigned to the ABDACOM (American British Dutch Allied Command). I haven’t found anything on them yet. The archivists at the National Archives suggested that the Dutch Archives might well have some materials, so that will be a stop for the future.
In the meantime, two gentlemen at the archives helped me dig up two key items:
1) First, a listing of cables reporting prisoners of war — in my grandfather’s case, cable US/566-2482, dated 4/20/1942, saying “Tokyo Camp” — not very helpful initially. However, they put in a request to pull the box of cables — maybe it would be in there.
2) The second item — according to the index, my grandfather’s name was listed as having written an affadavit for a war crimes investigation following the end of the war. The box was pulled.
Here is the index of POW cables and the affadavit.
Among other details, I learned when and where he was inducted and shipped out (June 5, 1941 and November 21, 1941, respectively), then he was captured on March 8, 1942. He then spent six months at the “Bicycle Camp” in Batavia (I don’t know the origin of the name, it’s on the list of things to check out), before being shipped out on November 20, 1942, almost exactly one year after he left San Francisco.
He was shipped to Ohaisi or Ohasi (it’s spelled both ways in the affadavit), where he spent the remainder of the war. I’ve found it spelled Ohashi on the internet. Not sure which one, but working on it.
Some notes from his affadavit:
“The trip took about thirty days. All the Americans and Austrailians on board were loaded in the second deck down in the hold. There was barely enough room to lay down in this hold. The only food we received was approximately 125 grams of rice a day and about one-half cup of watery stew… the Japanese furnished no medical aid whatsoever. About 30 English and Dutch prisoners and one American from the USS Huston died as a result of dysentery and pneumonia.”