Winter is coming again. Its going to be very bad, I am afraid. I was assigned to a burial detail, before the ground freezes hard again.
We took a guy out to bury him and when we laid him beside the grave, he opened his eyes and asked, "What are you doing to me?" We took him back to camp but the next day he was dead so this time we buried him.
It was almost impossible to tell if some of the men were alive or not. They are so emaciated and dirty with flies all over them that unless they got up or rolled over we honestly thought them dead.
Diseases, such as beriberi, dysentery, and innumerable fevers are the biggest killers.
Dysentery is such a terrible thing to have and all suffer from it. Some men wear a tin can on their butt, rather than try to run to a benjo (latrine) twenty times a day.
More than a thousand American soldiers and sailors with mechanical training were put to work in a large factory. I was put to work on a lathe turning out airplane parts.
Here they began a haphazard and dangerous plan of sabotage.
April 9, 1942
Day 604 – Winter, 1943
Together, some of the Americans, British and Dutch POWs are set to work digging pits and pouring cement for the foundations of 89 new and expensive lathes. When the pits were dug, they hook a very large lathe to an electric hoist and drop it into a hole and covered it with cement. They also toss in vital parts from many of the other 88 lathes so they would not work.
I show some of the others how to make the lathe’s foundation unleveled so the lathe will be misaligned and turn out defective parts.
The guards do not understand what is wrong with the new machinery, but the Japanese engineers assigned to the project are suspicious.
Several prisoners were taken outside and interrogated as to why the lathes cannot be assembled or made to work properly. They were beaten, but do not tell the guards anything. The guards finally relent, claiming "Stupid Americans" can’t build anything.