2000/03/06 - S.French
Notes from digging through my dad, Morgan French, WWII momentos. He
has a large box of WWII momentos, newpaper articles all through the
years, and other notes. Here are some of the momentos. I hope to
spend some more time gathering info on the others.
Light a cigarette, take 2 or 3 drags, put it in the
smother it out.
This made it have a few more puffs than if
you tamp it out. Save tobacco. Dad used this in Japanese POW camp.
The Japanese didn't care if he had it, they checked it, but since it
had old cigarette butts in it they let him keep it. Another POW put
his name on it using a nail. He was good at it and put names on for a
lot of the POWs. Dad doesn't remember his name. He carried it in his
back pocket. The Japanese would give them pack of "Kinche" (sp?)
cigarettes, about 10, once a month. They traded cigarettes, rice,
everything else. Some guys would trade their rice for cigarettes
and not eat for 2 or 3 days. "Doc Sparrow" would trade rice rations
for cigarettes. Doc would get in debt and his debtors would
confiscate his rice. Dad and Arnold Lawson stopped them from taking
his rice. He would have died if they'd kept taking his rice. It
was strictly against the rules to take someones rice. Everyone knew
it. The penalty for stealing someones rice was to cut the thief's
rice ration in half for one week. Dad would always give himself a
little less rice than the others. He did this because anyone on the
barracks had the right to trade their bowl of rice to the server for
his, any time he was serving. This was the same with the soup.
Stealing from another POW was the _worst_ thing you could do.
If they caught someone stealing the other men would take the thief
out back behind the latrine and the man that was stolen from could
give the thief 10 punches to his body as hard as he could.
Dad was referee to many of these.
- "Armed Forces of the United States". Dad's
last Army ID card. Expired 20 Mar 1962. Dad was a Master Sargeant
Card - "Geneva Conventions Identification Card".
Issued after WWII. Dad got it after he came back from Japan.
- POW Number 27
Identified Dad as Number 27. He
took it off of an old blanket. Scratched the number 27 onto the
plastic using a straight pin. He rubbed charcoal (or some black
powder or something) into the scratches to make it stay on there. He
sewed it all together using a needle you kept hidden. Dad can't
remember where he got the thread.
He had number 305 earlier. The Japanese gave that to him already
done. The POWs died down from 305 to 27. 305 was the first number he
got out 500. The POWs died and the numbers reassigned until Dad was
27. Dad wore his number on the front of his hat.
If he was caught without it the Japanese might hit him with a rifle
butt, or yell at him. The guards would do either depending on how
they felt. The POWs couldn't respond at all. If they hit them back
they would be killed.
- Whistle (another
Dad bought this before WWII and took it with him to
Japan. He kept it hid the whole time he was a POW. He never used
it in POW camp. It was the only thing he took and came back with.
Spoon and chopsticks
- Dad got these in Japan while he was on R&R
from Korea. They were souveniers.
- Dad was in Korea from 1951 to 1953. He was in an amphibious truck
company. He unloaded mostly ammunition, also PX and Commissary
supplies. He went over there as a tanker and ended up in the
amphibious truck company. He was stationed in Inchon. It was tore
all to pieces during the Korean war. Sargent Wendler worked with
Issued April 30, 1984. Dad got this after the
war in Harrodsburg. They issued one to all of the Harrodsburg men
and given to the wives of the deceased.
Reason: "Meritorious Achievement in Ground Combat in the South
West Pacific Theater of Operations".
- Dad's Class A
and Garrison Cap. Dad knows some of
Presedential Unit Citation with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters
WWII and Koren War Unit Citations
Here is the Master Sargent
and overseas stripes (Hershey bars). Each stripe represents 6 months
of combat conditions.