Friday, August 26, 2011

Unwavering Gaze

This photo is of the interrogation of a Kempetai (Japanese equivalent of Gestapo) Non-Com.

The photo is taken just after the war. Interrogating is an officer in the Royal Australian Air Force. The fellow on the right is an American Soldier, there to translate.

The Japanese soldier had been posted to the Kempetai in Sandakan.

Those reading this who know their history will have just had an adrenalin shot into their veins, as they understand what this interrogation is.

The Japanese prisoner has a "Who, me?" look on his face. I've seen that look a thousand times. It is used by every lowlife unsophisticate who is caught.

Sandakan Prisoner-of-War camp contained Allied (mostly Australian) & Indonesian personnel. Six Thousand prisoners in total. It was the starting point of what is known as the Sandakan Death March. All the prisoners in Sandakan camp were marched to another camp. It matters not where the other camp was, as none made there alive.

Of the circa Six Thousand in Sandakan p.o.w. camp, only Six Australian soldiers survived the war. By escaping during the death march.

Which brings us to the Fourth fellow in the photo. The one holding the Owen gun. The one whose task it is to guard the prisoner. A task he is conducting with a grim determined resolve.
One look tells you he is an Australian soldier. His dress, his armament, the angle of his slouch hat, and the way he carries himself.

And the set of his mouth. The iron expression on his face.
He knows very well who his prisoner is.

11 comments:

Dave from Tacoma said...

One other point about that picture. That man on the right is so obviously an American. The stance, the look, whatever, just says American. Of course, that American style didn't always go over well in places like London or Melbourne or Wellington.

Sackerson said...

What raised this post? An anniversary?

Mine Host said...

Yep, it started off as a post about the way people stand.

Even before you register the uniforms, the way those two fellows carry themselves marks them as an Aussie & an American.

No anniversary, this one has been waiting in the queue for quite some time, & I thought it was time for a photo post.

kae said...

Productivity icrease due to Pacolanche!

Anonymous said...

Having spent some time in that world. that is a staged photo.

Presumably a guy I knew (now gone) who had a job as official witness in disposal at Moratai, Manaus and Rabaul would have had to formally identify him.

RebeccaH said...

He knows very well who his prisoner is.

And looks to me like he's exercising iron control not to shoot him on the spot. The difference between Axis and Allied.

Anonymous said...

Be nice to know when the kempetai bastard was hanged.

Notice the look of iron contempt on the faces of the two Australians and the US Nisei.

Don't know about it being staged, tho that is possible, of course.

Mk50
Brisbane
(AKA MarkL of Canberra)

Sackerson said...

Photo reproduced with names, inc. the Japanese being interrogated, here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandakan_Death_Marches

prairiecat55kc said...

American Nisei...but American, all the same...

Fascinating, thank you!

Anonymous said...

Hard to tell the US Army Nisei's rank. I think he's a corporal (2 chevrons) but his left sleeve is folded up. He may be a sergeant (3 Chevrons) but the image does not allow that to be confirmed.

Mk50
Brisbane

Mine Host said...

Thanks for the link Sackerson. I knew the photo had to come from somewhere.

Mk50: The wikipedia page for Sandakan Death March says the Nisei is a Sgt.

(I should have read that page before captioning the photo)