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its completion by december of 1943. but allied bombings on ports in burma had exposed japanese ships and cargo to attack. there was one solution. the railway would have to be finished sooner. >> the japanese ushered in a time period called speedo in october 1943. and that's when the death toll on the railway accelerated. >> speedo which meant out came the whip in a big way. >> everything had to be done double speed. move three meters of rock in one day. from now on it's six meters. >> the pace became horrific. guards using whips and bamboo rods on the men, beating them sometimes so they dropped on the tracks and couldn't go on. >> to keep up the pace, more slave labor would be needed. >> 900 dutch were added to speed up things. >> the son of a schoolteacher,
19-year-old dick van zone was born in holland but raised in indonesia. taken prisoner in march of '42, he arrived in february of '43. during the speedo period, the men slaved sometimes up to 20 hours a day in sweltering heat with very little food. >> the food was -- >> rice. >> maybe made some kind of a porridge. >> rice. >> in the evening we got some stew and a little bit of meat, a little bit of vegetables. but not very -- not very much. >> many diseases, very, very dysentary, eventually malaria was suffered because the diet was deficient. >> that was the only form of dress i had in 3 1/2 years. >> almost all of your body was exposed, which is the speedo. >> that is why so many people died. they had chronic malaria as well as dysentary. >> we worked nine days and then the tenth day we had off.
if you give them off a day, once in a while, they will work harder and they'll listen to him. >> with a low death rate and high morale despite the poor conditions, tamerkhan was one of the better camps on the railway. that was due to one man, lieutenant colonel phillip toucy. >> everybody liked him. and he was not afraid of the japanese. he put up a big stand against the japanese for us and insisted on this, that or the other. >> it's astonishing the effect he had on the men. they felt all the time there was somebody there who would fight their battles for them. >> he took many bashings from the chief for doing that as they would call it. but we knew where he was, you had no worries. you were looked after. we were all in it together. >> the two bridges completed by april, tamercan became a hospital camp with toosey in
charge. they continued their back in squalid conditions further up any point did you think, dick, i might not survive this? >> after they moved into the jungle, i felt a lot of despair, and i sometimes thought, well, maybe i won't get out of this. >> how many prisoner of war camps did the japanese operate? >> not counting the death railway, which is a separate camp right there, i would say there were about 300 camps overall and 150. >> but for the prisoners no matter where they were, they could always count on one thing. the guards were brutal. >> you never, ever looked at the japanese. but if you looked up at the guards, the chances were they would knock you about. >> just take a man and put them out in the hot sun all day holding a bucket of sand over his head. they beat them. >> beatings were very common.
for the lowest infraction. for not being able to bow satisfactorily. >> if you weren't working hard enou enough, they would tell us in japanese, get to work. >> we often brought men out on stretchers. they would lie on a stretcher having to break locks with a three-pound hammer. >> what many prisoners were determined to do was to leave a record behind of the treatment they had suffered at the hands of the japanese. the most popular one. >> he decided to take it one step further. working in horrid conditions as a slave labor at a nippon steel factory in japan, kirk and 35 of the marines had their food rations cut to 500 calories a day. it was then that he built a camera out of cardboard using a smuggled photographic plate.
>> i saw all these kids dying, so i decided that somebody, anybody, in the world should know. that's why i built the camera. i wanted to tell them. >> in the summer of '44, allied forces closed in on the philippines after two years of battling their way across the pacific. >> we were walking on the strip in the southeast. it won't be long, joe. it won't be long. and so we knew that things weren't going the best for them. >> an invasion imminent, the japanese began moving thousands of prisoners out of the philippines to japan. >> and so they were put on what became known as hell ships. >> the term hell ship said it all. >> they crammed upwards of 2,000 men down into a hole. they'd seal a hole up in 100-degree temperature. half the men suffered from severe dysentary, almost all
suffering from malaria. one cup of water a day and a tennis ball size of rice. that was your food. that was 70 days on that ship. this was a living hell. >> thousands of men lost their lives when the unmarked p.o.w. hell ships were bombed by allied bombs and submarines. in september of '44, the shinyo was sunk, killing 676 of the 700 p.o.w.s aboard. the following month, killing all but eight of the 1800 prisoners stuffed into its stifling holes. >> do we have a final atally on how many death ships or hell ships there were? >> well, there were probably some 300 hell ships. >> almost 600 men crammed into the cargo holds of the passenger ship. it departed manila on 13 december of 1944. >> there was no water there.
and when we were crowded into these holes and the hatch covers put down, you could imagine how that temperature rose and rows were your honor ped back and are the sides of the ship immediately began losing their minds. >> as they got under way, the inhumane conditions quickly took their toll. many men suffocated that first night. the following morning, the ship was swarmed by american dive bombers as it approached the bay. was there any effort at all on the part of the japanese to save the lives of the p.o.w.s when the ships were bombed? >> no. if they were threatened, they would shoot us if we didn't shut up. they finally put the hatch covers back on the hole, and that caused so many of our prisoners to become deranged to start killing each other or
something to drink, anything would be described as daddy's inferno. coming up, a kill-all-prisoners order turns into a fiery grave. that's next on "war stories." [vo] quickbooks introduces rodney. he has a new business teaching lessons. rodney wanted to know how his business was doing... ...so he got quickbooks. it organizes all his accounts, so he knows where he stands. ahhh...that's a profit. way to grow, rodney! visit quickbooks.com.
15 december 1944. general douglas mcarthur's invading forces, the unmarked hell ship was sunk off the coast of the philippines by allied bombers. 300 of the 1600 men crammed into suffocating holds were killed. 27-year-old robert granston was one of the sick and starving survivors forced to swim the quarter mile to shore as japanese machine gunners opened fire. the ones that didn't drown or get shot were held for six grueling days on the tennis courts at the naval base.
this is wide open, the sun, the heat. >> after several days, we were given a couple spoonsful of water and then a couple of tablespoons full of rice. >> the torturous journey continued on a second ship used to transfer horses, its holds were still filled with manure. >> the stench was that was tremendous. >> on 9 january as mcarthur's 6th army invaded, they lay in the crosshairs of american bombers. >> we got a bomb directly in the forward hold. and there were approximately 250 of us. in that hold, less than 100 of us were living after that bombing. >> granston and 900 other p.o.w.s were eventually arrived
in january 1945. >> a lot were simply propped over the sides. >> of the 1618 of us that started from manila, about 350 of us arrived in japan. >> they arrived in wintertime. and you step out into a snowstorm, they'd keep you there upwards of 12 hours. it's a miracle any of us survived. >> as the americans started wiping out the japanese from their empire, the japanese started thinking how to dispose of the prisoners. >> in 1944, a directive was sent out to all prison camps from the japanese war ministry with clear instructions that in case of invasion, they would take all the prisoners, kill them all but leave no evidence. >> in december of '44, fierce
fighting followed the allied landings in the philippines. on palowan, aerial bombings targeted the air strip the prisoners in built. it was there that the war ministry's kill-all-prisoners order was about to be carried out. the 150 p.o.w.s including again mcdole had no idea what was happening. >> they came hollering, get in your trenches! get in your trenches! the americans are coming! the americans are coming! >> but the americans weren't coming. >> i told my buddy, if a bomb hits, let's build a tunnel out towards the bay and here come a bunch of japanese. they were carrying buckets and torches. >> the 150 men were sitting ducks for the japanese guards. doused with gasoline and set ablaze, the air was pierced with the agonizing cries of men and the sounds of machine gunfire that mowed them down. as they scrambled to escape e inferno. >> human torches.
some of them would grab a jap and down they'd go with them. >> mcdole and a few others were unfortunate. they got in a secret escape hatch. >> i wept ont out the hole bare naked. >> 40 men joined them for the mad dash down to the beach. >> the machine gun opened up on us. >> the japanese had a field day killing the p.o.w.s along the beach. then again, mcdole's luck would hold. he hid undetected overnight in the garbage dump. >> i would hear them coming down the beaches. they had one they captured. they used him for being at practice. then they threw some gas on him, set him afire. the only thing i could do is just close my eyes and say "dear god, give me the strength and courage." >> the next day mcdole and a badly wounded prisoner hid beneath the coral reef. the other prisoner died before he could join mcdole in the five-mile swim across the bay
where filipinos helped him to safety. it was then that mcdole learned that only 11 of the 150 p.o.w.s on palowan had survived. >> a lot of people say do you feel bad that you made it and 139 of them didn't? if there was some way we could have saved them, we would have done so, but our hands were tied. we were trying to survive just like they were. >> glen mcdole faces down the men responsible for the palowan massacre. that's next on " this is the silverado special edition. this is one gorgeous truck. oh, did i say there's only one special edition? because, actually there's 5. aaaahh!! ooohh!! uh! holy mackerel. wow. nice. strength and style. which one's your favorite? (laughter) come home with me! trade up to the silverado all star edition and get an average total value of eight thousand one hundred fifty dollars when you find your tag. find new roads at your local chevy dealer.
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mcarthur signed. >> when the japanese surrender, there's a sense of anti-climactic relief at least it's over. by and large the japanese weren't harmed by the prisoners, although they were locked up. and the prisoners took control of the camps and got the food. >> we gorged on food and promptly got terribly sick. from overeating. >> the total death toll of the railway was huge of 12,000 men out of 60,000 who went to work. and of course 100,000. >> nearly 11,000 americans died while in the hands of the japanese. >> the commission finds you guilty as charged. >> beginning in 1945, allied war crimes trials were held throughout the pacific. the tiger of malay ya, general was convicted of committing atrocities in the philippines and hanged in 1946.
the man held responsible for the death march was executed by firing squad the same year. two years later, the razor, general tojo, was hanged for an assortment of crimes including inhumane treatment of japan's prisoners of war. the burma/thailand railway cited as a particular example of his brutality. >> how many of those guards and senior officials were eventually prosecuted? >> all told, the 900 executed and probably a couple thousand imprisoned. >> he was sent to tokyo to help identify the guards responsible for the slaughter on palawan. >> as soon as they get off, i remember that one. so there were 32 of them, and i definitely knew it was on palawan island. >> but only 16 of the 32 men he identified were put on trial. six were acquitted.
the others received jail terms ranging from two years to life in prison. the photos were submitted as evidence. he wasn't called to testify. didn't anybody say we need you as a witness? >> nobody. >> incredibly, all the war criminals still held in japan were paroled by 1958. the businesses that profit from the use of slave labor, are they ever held to account for that? >> they have not been held to account. the japanese just simply refuse to acknowledge anything. >> i suppose the most famous film about being a prisoner of the japanese is "the bridge on the river kwai," and it's a fabulous film. but it's all fiction. >> the 1957 oscar-winning film starred alec guinness as a british officer in charge of a group of p.o.w.s forced to build a bridge for the japanese. alec guinness doesn't really represent colonel toosey. >> he's the very opposite.
his idea was come on, lads, we'll show them how to build a bridge properly and we'll make it a good bridge. well, that couldn't have been further from the truth. colonel toosey was a saint, and all he did was get as many of us home as he could. >> after the war, phillip toosey rose to the rank of brigadier general. he also had a successful career in banking and died at 71 in 1975. returning to iowa, glen mcdole spent 42 years in law enforcement. in 2004, he wrote "last man out," a book about his experience on palawan. >> i think you go through denial, the story's not going to get out. >> did you ever collect a penny for all the slave labor? >> nothing. >> terrence kirk spent 30 years
in the marine corps. kirk died in may 2006 at age 89. bruce gordon elliott retired from the navy after 20 years and began a career in the electrical industry. he now lives in california. robert grantston stayed in the navy, retiring in 1968. now living in florida, his horror of the days living with the japanese has never really left him. >> i do have occasional feeling you feel that you're in prison camp and the whole situation place of your mind. >> occasionally in the middle of the night, i scream and my wife has to shake me. >> dick van zonen returned to the netherlands where he spent 30 years working in the research division of a major oil company before retiring in 1984. what was the best of what you endured? >> seeing people behave very good, people like toosey trying to do the best for their men.
>> fergus lives in england where he's enjoyed a long academic career. fergus, do you have any anger toward the japanese? >> at no time did i hold animosity to anyone. and from the day the war was over, i was so thankful that i was alive. when i wake up, i think, god, it's wonderful. >> more on "prisoners of the rising liberty mutual stood with me when i was too busy with the kids to get a repair estimate. i just snapped a photo and got an estimate in 24 hours.
as this memorial at camp o'donnell attests, few sacrifice more in the cause of freedom than those who lose their liberty as prisoners of war. but in their suffering is a powerful message. even in the bleakest of times, there's hope. it's been said that in war, the truth test of courage is not to die but to live. that's certainly true for those who endured brutal bondage as
captives. theirs is a war story that deserves to be told. i'm oliver north. dpood night. -p tonight on "war storiee," one of the most blistering and bloody battles of the vietnam war. >> wasn't that i thought i was going to die. i kind of knew i was going to die. >> 6,000 marines and soldiers fighting for their lives cuttoff by 20,000 north vietnamese hell bent on victory. >> a joung l outpost, the most bombed place on the face of the earth. the siege of khe sahn. that's next on "war stories."