Memoir of a Civilian POW
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award.jpg [196K]
A photograph of James Allen with his World War II medals, taken for an article in "The Sun" newspaper, July 5, 1982.
camp_pict.jpg [43K]
Picture of Allen at the Niigata, Japan, POW Camp in 1945. Taken by a POW, in front of the barracks where they both lived. The war was over at this point, but he hadn't been liberated yet.
letter1.jpg [1MB]
A letter that Allen wrote to his grandparents on January 2, 1943, at the Shanghai POW Camp. The Japanese censored letters written by the POWs, that they thought might help American Intelligence. The Japanese made the POWs place spaces between the words, so that no hidden messages could be placed. When letters such as this were received by family, the American Government OSS would read them to see if any useful data could be found.
letter2.jpg [792K]
A letter written by Allen to his mother May 20, 1943, at the Shanghai POW Camp. The POWs sometimes received letters from their families. However, they never knew if their family received the letters that they had sent. The POWs would write the date when they wrote letters and when they received letters, so the US government and the prisoners' families could track their locations. Also some POWs never heard from their families, so to contact them they would have other people write their names on the letters and their health, in the hopes that the US government would help locate their families.
plan_pict.jpg [854K]
This is a concept drawing, done by Allen at the carpenter shop in Shanghai, of a rice washer, used to clean rice of dirt and rocks before the POWs ate it. It had a screen on the bottom for the rice to pass through, but keep the rocks/pebbles on top. All work to be done by the prisoners had to be approved by the Japanese. Once approved, the carpenters would build it in their shop.
oct_1941.jpg [40K]
Photograph of Allen taken on September 18, 1941, in Honolulu, Hawaii, while on his way to Wake Island.
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