Uncle Bill, Again

Uncle Bill

Uncle Bill spent all of WW II in Japanese prison camps. Having been eligible for discharge for quite a while before Pearl Harbor but not allowed to return home, he was not in a very good frame of mind when MacArthur left them all to their fate while he left them behind. His “I shall return” speech did nothing to endear him to Uncle Bill.
Uncle Bill claimed they provisioned the enemy by half starving our own troops for the weeks leading up to war by cutting rations while guarding the caves filled to overflowing with food. Any soldier caught stealing food was executed. Later, after they had fallen to the enemy, they had to carry all those supplies along on the “Death March” while still being killed for stealing any of it to eat.
He always said he would cheerfully execute MacArthur if he were ever given the chance. He claimed every soldier there could have been evacuated long before the start of hostilities.
Once he survived the “Death March” he was placed in assorted prison camps, each one closer to Japan, each one more brutal than the one before. He worked for a very short time in a plant making ammunition and bombs which the prisoners delighted in sabotaging in any small way they could.
His skull was fractured at least three times for sure by rifle butts during beatings. Fingers, toes and ribs were fractured regularly on all the prisoners as they could still work with such trivial injuries.
Finally he was in a prison camp near the city of Hiroshima. During the day, the prisoners shoveled gravel by hand into buckets. At meal times, they had to stand at attention in front of the commanding officer’s building and watch him eat his meal with his pair of carved ivory chopsticks. The man delighted in making the starved prisoners watch him eat.
At one point, Uncle Bill told him that when he (Uncle Bill) left the camp, those chopsticks would be going with him. He earned another beating for such a threat.
However, when the camp was liberated, Uncle Bill said he would be right with them. He returned a short time later with a pair of hand carved chopsticks in his pocket.