Contents:


Years of Uncertainty

As can be read in Dad's diaries, one of the most demoralizing aspects of being a prisoner of war was the lack of any contact or correspondence with loved ones back home. It was May 42 before the prisoners had any indication that they could write letters home. Dad wrote his first letter at the beginning of June, but as the year wore on he doesn't mention writing again. I've found no indication when the family at home were informed of his survival.

After the move to Japan in Jan 43, the first indication I've found that Dad was still hoping that his letters would get through was a diary entry in Mar 43. On 28 May he received three letters, which appear to be the first letters received as a POW.

Radio Broadcasts

On 16 Jun 43, some of the POWs were chosen to make a radio broadcast. Dad's diary indicates his name was mentioned, but it is not clear if the broadcast actually took place.

My Mother kept the correspondence received from various good Samaritans who dedicated a part of their day to listen in on the short-wave bands, recording POW broadcasts from Japan. (These broadcasts were often transcribed onto vinyl recordings which were then sent, with a steel needle, to the families in Canada with the accompanying letters)

A note found among these letters indicates that as of 19 May 44, Dad's family had written 15 thank-you letters to people from many areas including: California, Vancouver, Oregon and Edmonton.

DateDetailRemarks
24 Oct 43Letter from Mr. Read, Hopkins, Minnesota to Mr. and Mrs. Buck, Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Reads in part:

Richard Trick of Stonewall, Manitoba sends his love to his wife and folks. He hopes they are well, as he is in good health himself.

 

 
1 Jan 43Letter from Mrs. McKie, Sacramento, California:

I hope this letter reaches you safely, as I am not sure that I heard your name and address correctly when they were broadcast by short wave from Radio Tokio on Nov 28 1943, when messages were sent from several American and Canadian prisoners of war in Japanese camps.

I have been listening in steadily to these broadcasts for the past eleven months, trying to take these messages in shorthand in order to relay them to the  relatives of the men interned. Although I am employed during the day and can devote only my spare time to this hobby of mine, I have sent about 1600 letters to relatives of the internees. I apologize for being so late with this message, but I have gotten behind and am now trying to catch up.

This message for you was apparently written by your loved one, but was read by the announcer, as follows:

"This is Sergeant Richard Quick (?), taken prisoner at Hongkong, China, sending to his wife and mother in Stonewall, Manitoba, Canada. Dearest Helen (?), Mother and all at home. I hope this message reaches you all right. I am well and in the best of health, and am being well treated. We are near Yokohama, Japan. Your letters started reaching me a few months ago and since then I have had quite a few. Keep up the good work dear, as they are a big help to us... I have written four letters which I hope you received. We received a Red Cross parcel and some money from the people of Canada last Christmas, for which I would like to thank you all. We are... getting Red Cross supplies. Dave Turk of Elmwood, Joe Miller of St. Boniface, and Dick Johnson, of Winnipeg (Quebec)(?) are all in good health and wish to send best wishes home. They are receiving mail. I hope you are all well. Keep smiling, and chin up, dear. You are always in my thoughts, darling, and I am looking forward to the time when we will be together again. Remember me to all the family. I hope your dad is feeling better. Take care of yourself and keep smiling. Loads of love, sweetheart, and a big kiss. Signed Dick"

I hope your loved one will soon be with you, safe and sound.

Sincerely,

Actual date of broadcast: 28 Nov 43
28 Nov 43Letter from Mr. and Mrs. South, San Francisco, California:

The enclosed message (read by a Japanese announcer) was rec'd by short wave from Japan.

Sorry it isn't a personal message but being news however brief of Chas. will, we know, be welcome. The record could be a unique souvenir for him, when he returns and times are happier, may that time be soon. There is no charge and should another message come for you, be assured we shall send them promptly. With best wishes, we are...

(a steel needle is enclosed)

(Probably the same broadcast as above)

I remember seeing these disks when I was still a child, but they have disappeared.

28 Nov 43Letter from Mr. Read, Hopkins, Minnesota

Appears to be the same broadcast as the previous entries above.

 
29 Nov 43Post Card from Mr. Eugene Braga, Redlands, California

Heard Charles speak from Japan. His words were dear Helen and Mom. I am in good health well treated. Your letter reached my last month. I sent you four letters. Hope you got them.

Love, Charles Richard Trick

Card was annotated as the 292th sent by Mr. Braga
11 Jun 44Letter from Mr. Read, Hopkins, Minnesota to family of Joseph Rafferty, containing greetings from several POWs:

The following is a report a short wave broadcast received direct from Radio Station JZI, Tokyo, Japan on 11 Jun 44, during the news broadcast between 8:00 and 8:30 A.M. Central War Time. This broadcast was on a frequency of 9.535 megacycles. Every day the Tokyo Radio broadcasts messages from American and Canadian prisoners of war. This message was read by the station announcer at Tokyo. Message follows:

....Dick Trick of Stonewall also sends greetings home

 

 

Scans

Sample of a letter written from Japan. Not known when it was received.

 

 

Letter from DND indicating Dad's transfer to Japan (actual transfer was in Jan 43). I couldn't find any earlier correspondence indicating when the Canadian Government knew that he had survived the battle.

Click on the thumbnail to see a full-sized image.

 

Letter from DND informing families of mail received from Japan.

 

Telegram indicating Dad's arrival back home.