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I am a retired physician in Bend, Oregon, USA.
My grandmother in Klamath Falls, Oregon had a brother Floyd who I never met. My cousin Rich Nolen has recently recounted a story I never heard before. He said that Floyd Gentry (b1904 d 1945) and his family (wife Lydia and dau Shawn and son Vernon)were living on the Oregon coast during WWII.
Rich recalls a story that they hid a Japanese soldier up in their attic for some time. I have not heard of similar occurrences. One wonders if the soldier was brought by submarine and sent in to be a spy.
Have you heard of anything like this?
Stuart Garett, MD
Thanks for getting in touch. Intriguing story, though I fear probably just that, a story. Japanese submarines were certainly active along the US and Canadian West Coasts, including shelling shore structures, but so far no evidence has ever surfaced of Japanese troops landing. Naturally, spies were active in the prewar period, hiding among the large Asian-American community. The only known landings of Japanese troops took place in Australia, and only very briefly. There is always the outside possibility that the US Government covered up a landing in the US for reasons of morale, and perhaps the files remain confidential today, but I’ve never heard of anything like this at all. Best wishes, Mark
Hi! I left some commentary about the MacArthur book I am looking forward to reading, and have The Real Tenko and Children of the Camps. I have some historical questions I want to ask about how long captives were kept — were there any “hidden” undiscovered, obscure camps which continued far into the autumn of 1945 and into 1946? I ask this because Japanese soldiers were found on Pacific islands well into the 1970’s, so could some of the camp guards in remote jungles of Indonesia etc. have been either unaware the war had ended or refused to capitulate to it? Also, I have read in civilian accounts that there were Swedish and Swiss women kept in the camps as prisoners despite their countries being neutral, was this so?
Many thanks for your interesting questions. As far as I know from the war crimes records, no camps remained undiscovered following the Japanese surrender. In a few places, the Japanese guards murdered prisoners AFTER the surrender, but in the main the camps had been located by SOE and OSS and special teams parachuted in to take control before our main forces arrived and began the evacuation of the prisoners. As to ‘Japanese Holdouts’, quite a few regular fighting Japanese troops took to the hills and refused to surrender, but they were generally either ordered to do so to provide a stay behind resistance network (2nd Lieutenant Hire Onoda and his men are a good example), or were stragglers from units already destroyed in battle (plenty of examples from Guam, Philippines and New Guinea). Finally, neutrals from various nations, including Nazi Germany, were imprisoned by the Japanese, who were paranoid about any ‘whites’ loose in their territories. Some neutrals had aided the Allied war effort and the Japanese were conscious of the Red Cross and other organisations reporting on war crimes, and severely limited the IRC and other organisations from visiting camps. I hope that this helps? Best wishes, Mark
Hi Mark, thank you so much for this fascinating information! You do great research. It happens my late father-in-law Eddie Demilio was a young navy man (very young indeed; he was barely eighteen) stationed in Guam just as the Pacific War ended, and into 1946, and would tell us stories about the Japanese “hiding in the hills” and coming down to steal food at night. The American military guys rounded up and caught a few, I guess to be repatriated as the war was over and certainly Ed didn’t remember any harm coming to the holdouts. I can remember as a little girl reading in National Geographic and also seeing on the TV news report (this was 1972) stories about those last Japanese soldiers on Pacific islands surrendering — the last one was 1974? Hence, my interest in finding out if some “diehards” were hanging on to their power over helpless prisoners in remote jungle camps. How horrifying that they were killing prisoners after the war ended and they knew it. I’m awaiting from Amazon delivery of your book on MacArthur and the terrible delay he caused, due to that ego of his, for the POW’s/civilian internees to be released. It’s sure to be an eye-opener–as the years go on people are realizing that guy was no hero. I look forward to getting more of your books, which are certainly top-notch reading for a seasoned history buff like me — my husband and I share a huge book collection but my latent interest in the Pacific War has really crowded the shelves. This is a great website! Best regards from Laura
Many thanks for all of your kind comments and for sharing your memories with me. I’m glad that my work and research interests you and you are delving deeper into this very dark history. Regards, Mark
The Last Betrayal arrived and I stayed up late to finish it; just couldn’t put it down. Spot-on documented research. What brutal egos of the military leaders to get in the way of rescuing all those suffering prisoners. That Australian officer who neglected his own countrymen’s fate was shocking to read about, and MacArthur’s stunts exceeded my grimmest expectations of his colossal vanity. I don’t know how so many of those survivors managed to get on with their lives afterward, especially when American command so cruelly put itself first at the expense of their own fighting men and the Allies. Believe me, they kept all that out of our school history textbooks when I was a kid, and probably still do, to U.S. shame! Another fine book, Mark.
Many thanks for your kind comments about the book. I felt it was something that needed to be told. Best wishes, Mark
Thank you for your article “Hitler’s Berlin Bunker” 🙂
Greetings from Indonesia!
Thanks for your kind comment! Best, Mark
I find your writing very interesting. I would like to ask your opinion if Hirō Onoda was he the last Japanese soldier fighting ww2 in the Philippines? I’m in the Philippines and will visit Lubang island to hike the same jungle he did. I have read of two more possible similar situations: the Mindoro Captain Fumio Nakaharu they found his hut but never found him. Also, two more that joined up with Rebels in Mindano.
I can not find any supporting information or how they were resolved. Do you have any additional information or what’s you opinion?
Sorry emailing from a cell phone and the auto text is terrible
Hi Oliver. Interesting question. My personal opinion is that there were many other Japanese holdouts, probably hundreds, all over Asia and the Pacific who were never found and died in the jungle someplace. Captain Fumio Nakahira reported found in 1980 seemes to have been a fabrication. The last authenticated holdout found was Private Teruo Nakamura on Morotai, 18 December 1974. In 1989 locals reported one or two Japanese soldiers on Vella Lavella, Solomons. In 1992 accounts of elderly stragglers reported by locals on Kolombangara, Solomons – reported to be raiding vegetable patches and stealing clothes. Finally, in 2001, reports emerged of stragglers on Guadalcanal, but details sketchy. Best wishes, Mark
been to berlin twice but could not find the bunker… the article is brilliant
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