War Crimes Testimony
Several 2/26th Battalion members gave evidence during the War Crime Trials. One of these was Sgt. Frank Derrington, who was part of 'A' Force. His son Neil has kindly allowed us to post his testimony on the site.
I, Frank William DERRINGTON
of 25 Cambridge Street, ROCKHAMPTONin the State of Queensland
and formerly QX 12197, S/Sgt F. W. DERRINGTON of 2/26 Bn. A.I.F
being duly sworn make oath and state as follows
1. From February One Thousand nine hundred and fortyfive until July One Thousand nine hundred and fortyfive, I was a Prisoner of War at KASHU MOUNTAIN CAMP, PHETBURI, SIAM, in which camp were approximately one thousand five hundred Officer and other Rank Prisoner of War of English, Australian, American and Dutch nationalities. In July one thousand nine hundred and fortyfive I was transferred to another camp called NACONNAYOK near PACHINIBURI.
2. At KASHU MOUNTAIN CAMP we were employed as labourers on the construction of an Aerodrome also in a stone quarry and digging a bund around the camp perimeter. I was usually in charge of a party and mainly employed on the bund, although I worked on several occasions on the Aerodrome.
3. I remember the Camp Commandant who held the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and was commonly known as 'PADDLE FEET' This Officer although not actually participating in the assault and beatings against the Prisoners was nevertheless a witness to the bashings by his subordinates on numerous occasions. His attitude was definitely an encouragement to his staff to carry out further atrocities. Numerous complaints were made to himby our Medical Officers and senior N.C.O's regarding the beatings and general ill treatment of the Prisoners, but nothing was ever done to restrain his subordinates.
4. I remember an incident when a member of the Argyle and Sutherland Highland Regt was caught attempting to obtain some food from Siamese personnel who lived near the camp. 'PADDLE FEET' ordered him to be shot as an example to the others, however the Camp Administration was successful in pleading for the life of this man, but 'PADDLE FEET' insisted on the offender being punished by a severe whipping at the hands of the R.S.M. of the Argyle and Sutherland Highland Regt. This was duly carried out in front of all Prisoners and Japanese personnel in the camp.
5. The other members of the Camp Staff known to me were Lieutenant MURAOKA commonly known as 'BOOTS', a Korean Corporal known as 'THE SNAKE' and another Korean guard known as 'THE COBBLER'. These men were generally the ones who carried out the bashings and assaults. 'BOOTS' was mainly responsible for forcing the Medically Unfit Prisoners to go to work. On his frequent visits to the Hospital he selected the men who he thought were fit enough and despite the protests of our Medical Officers they were made to go out to work.
6. On numerous occasions whilst working with a party of men on the Bund and also in camp, I have been bashed by 'BOOTS', 'THE SNAKE' and 'THE COBBLER'. Being a N.C.O. in charge of a party it was necessary to appeal on many occasions for clemency on behalf of men in the party. This usually resulted in receiving a bashing myself in addition to the unwarranted punishment being inflicted on one or more of the party.
7. Owing to the general state of health of the Prisoners of War in this camp I am positive that the abovementioned Japanese Staff by their ill treatment were responsible for the deaths of the majority who died there and also for the general poor state of health of those who survived the ordeal.
8. I also witnessed the torture and ill treatment of a number of Siamese civilians. This occurred just prior to the Japanese capitulation and after a few of the Prisoners had escaped. These Siamese civilians were kept locked up in the camp, and each day one or two were brought out and tied on a form. Water was then poured into their mouths until their stomachs were distended and could hold no more, they were then further assaulted by the guards jumping on their stomachs or beating it with a heavy bamboo rod. It is thought this torture was inflicted in order to get information regarding the escape of Prisoners, however after about a fortnight the Siamese were removed from camp and we did not see them again.
9. The description of 'THE COBBLER' is as follows:A Korean about 5 feet 6 inches in height pock marked, clean shaven and approximately 40 years of age.
10. The photograph now produced and shown to me and marked with the letters ATM is and contains a true and correct likeness of the person referred to in this my affidavit as a Japanese Lieutenant Colonel known to Prisoners of War as 'PADDLE FEET'
11. The photograph now produced and shown to me and marked with the letters BTM is and contains a true and correct likeness of the person referred to in this my affidavit as a Korean guard known to Prisoners of War as 'THE SNAKE'
12. The photograph now produced and shown to me and marked with the letter CTM also is and contains a true and correct likeness of 'THE SNAKE'
13. The photograph now produced and shown to me and marked with the letters DTM is and contains a true and correct likeness of the person referred to in this my affidavit as a Japanese Lieutenant named MURAOKA and known to Prisoners of War as 'BOOTS'
14. The photograph now produced and shown to me and marked with the letters ETM also is and contains a true and correct likeness of 'BOOTS'
I swear that the contents of this my affidavit are to the best of my knowledge and belief true and correct in every particular.
and sworn by the
within named deponent F. W. DERRINGTON
at Rockhampton on the
19th March 1948.
Before me as a Justice of the Peace S. K. FAULKNER J.P.
A Justice of the Peace