This inaugural exhibition displays a unique set of photographs of POWs and their work parties in the Kobe area. These POWs are ex-Hong Kong, mainly (if not entirely) survivors of the Lisbon Maru. The photographs have been kindly supplied by Bruce Waldron, whose father Sergeant Albert Edward Waldron, 6201203, of the 1st Battalion the Middlesex Regiment was a POW here. To the best of my knowledge, no similar collection of genuine wartime photographs of POW life in Japan exists.
Luckily, on the reverse of each photo there is a Japanese caption. Although some were in part unreadable, with the kind assistance of a Japanese friend, translations of the captions appear under each photograph.
POW numbers are visible in some instances, and we hope that some of the POWs shown here might be recognisable to their families today.
Tony Banham, April 2011 (With additions, May 2012).
Kobe City Souto-ku Higashi Kawasaki-cho 1-46, Mitsubishi Logistics Co. Kobe branch, Daiichi Shinko (No.1 New port)
Nippon Express Co., Kobe port Branch. Stamp: Showa19, Jan8, Kobe Kenpei Squad Inspected Mr. Kamano
Waldron (born 1914) joined the Middlesex Regiment in 1933 at Inglis Barracks, Mill Hill,
London, having worked as a trainee printer at John Dickinsons at Apsley Mills,
Hertfordshire. The First Battalion was posted to Egypt in 1935, and then in
1936 to Singapore; a further move took them to Hong Kong in 1937. A Colour
Sergeant, he was captured on Christmas Day 1941 after the battle of Hong Kong. In
October 1942 he survived the sinking of the Lisbon Maru and was eventually
picked up and landed at Shanghai. From there he was taken in the Shensei Maru
to Moji, Japan, and then to Kobe where he was put to work as a docker. During
his captivity he became very sick with Diphtheria, but he returned to the UK in
1946 and continued to serve with the First Battalion the Middlesex Regiment. He
served in BAOR and returned to Hong Kong in 1949 as one of only five veterans
of the Battalion’s wartime service there to return at that time. He returned
briefly to the Depot in 1950 but then had a third spell in Hong Kong. Waldron
and one of the other veterans laid a Memorial Tablet in Hong Kong Cathedral in
1952. Initially granted a short-term commission he was promoted to Lieutenant
Quarter Master, and subsequently served in Austria and then Cyprus where he was
awarded the MBE (the family were the most EOKA bombed Middlesex family living
in Larnaca). He returned to the UK and ended his service as a Major Quarter
Master at Howe Barracks in Canterbury in 1967. In the mid seventies he became
the Secretary of the Middlesex Regimental Association – a post he held until
1993. He died in 1999.