Follow Up Stories
relating to "Finding Dad."
Mrs Mary Anne Stickney went to the Wake Island POW Survivors Reunion in September of 2001. Some of her comments are below:
My prayer going to the reunion was that I would find someone who really remembered my dad. My brother and I made a small poster of him to display but it didn't get much attention so I proceeded to go from group to group and ask if anyone remembered Pete Hansen. One survivor took a quick look and said " yes, I remember Pete Hansen!" You can imagine what my emotions were like and I couldn't hold back the tears.
It was a very satisfying 3 days. We met these men....all heroes in my eyes......and they were so willing to answer any questions you had. They talked a lot about the hardships but the brutality was mentioned in generalities and rehashed their experiences with each other. All had been beaten without cause many times. One fella said you just didn't know how the guards would react.....there were times when the POWs were sure they would be beheaded for an offence and the discrepancy was over looked. Then they blow up over something minor or for nothing. The guards would come through the barracks at night and you never knew what would happen. There was no comfortable or safe place to be away from them.
This was the 43rd reunion so I guess it all started in 1958, about 14 years after their return. Most of the men were young and unmarried but seemed to marry within 3-5 years...sometimes sooner. All the wives said they are still having nightmares but life in general was good. Many of the men said they couldn't go to school as planned because they couldn't stand anyone telling them what to do. Many ended up starting their own businesses and were very successful.
I think the attendance was 170; 40 being survivors and the rest children, grandchildren, widows and a few interested parties. One young man wrote a thesis on the Wake POWs and was there to meet as many as he could. He had interviewed many for his thesis. I haven't read it yet but I will as time allows.
On the last day of 2001, December 31, Mr. Joop Garama from Rotterdam in the Netherlands contacted me by the e-mail shown below (edited as per Mr. Garama's request):
Dear Major Moran,
A few years ago I began to research my family tree. Though I already knew somethings shared by my father before he died in 1975, I wanted to know more about his experiences during World War II. He was an Adjutant Major aboard submarines in the Dutch Navy. So I wrote to the "Instituut voor Maritieme Historie" and obtained some details.
I also learned from the institute some details about my uncle, Pieter Abraham Garama. After his ship was destroyed by the Japanese, he worked as a prisoner on the notorious Burma Road. When that was finished they transported him to Fukuoka in Japan. In that place he died of maltreatment 24 January, 1945 in camp 1-B. After I obtained his registration number, I called the ''Nederlandse Oorlogsgraven Stichting" (Netherland's war graves organization) and they told me the following story:
Pieter A. Garama was a leader of a small group of labourers. when something happened 24 January, 1945. The Japanese soldiers struck Pieter with their rifle butts until he could not get up. He died from the beating. When Pieter died, he was only 38 years old, married but without children.
When a prisoner of the Japanese died in the camp, they cremated him, put his ash in a small tin box and put it in a mass grave. After the war the Americans sent the ashes of their own people back to the US. In some cases it was impossible to read the names on the tin boxes, so the Americans knowing there were other nationalities involved but that most of the ashes were American put all the ashes together in an urn and brought it with great ceremony back to America. It contained the ashes of 71 Americans, 16 Englishman, 3 Australians and 10 Dutchman.
A few days ago I looked at the internet if there were some more people with the family name Garama. Then I saw Garama, Pieter A. -Fukuoka, etc. on your website. I was so very surprised and shocked when I read the story you wrote. I am very thankful to you that you wrote the brilliant story FINDING DAD. I now know Pieter's final resting place is at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St. Louis, Missouri - USA.
That message to me was entitled "Finding Uncle." Mr. Garama went on to ask if anyone knows :
1.) What was the reason of the execution of Pieter A. Garama?
2.) On what day or month did they send back the ash of the prisoners from Japan to the US?
3.) Is the name of Pieter A. Garama written on the same memorial where "Mary Anne Stickney is pointing to her father's name" on the photo in the story FINDING DAD?
I was able to answer number 3 for him that yes, his uncle's name is on that memorial. I refered him to Wes Injerd for the rest; and, of course, it is posted here for any of you reading this that might be able to help. Please contact me and I will pass it on.
I checked with Randall Watkins to be sure the name was on the marker, it was hard to read the name I thought was his uncle's on a picture of the headstone. Randall sent back a picture showing the name clearly which I forwarded to Mr. Garama.
Getting Mr. Garama's message was very gratifying because it personified the reason for which the story "Finding Dad" was written, that is - to help people locate the final resting place of some of the Allied soldiers who died in Fukuoka POW Camp #1 and to remember and honor their sacrifice.
Mary Anne Stickney sent me an e-mail she recieved on June 30, 2002 from R. W. Lodge, Consul of the Netherlands in which he outlines the history of the memorial services at the Jefferson Barracks Memorial.
In the e-mail Consul Lodge tells of one of his first tasks after his appointment as the St. Louis, Missouri Honorary Consul of the Netherlands in 1987. He was asked by the Netherlands War Graves Commission to inspect the grave at Jefferson Barracks containing Dutch Service men. He and his wife drove out to Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery. Once seeing the grave they decided that their should be an appropriate observance at the grave every May 4th, the Dutch Rememberance Day for the dead of World War II. The Lodges timed their observance at 1 PM to coincide with the beginning of two minutes of silence that begins at 8 PM in the Netherlands each year during their Rememberance Day. Consul Lodge places 10 Dutch flags and one U. S. flag at the grave. They have been conducting their observance since 1988.
Consul Lodge made the effort of contacting the immediate family of each Dutch serviceman buried at the gravesite, to insure they knew of its existence.
A few years after learning of the gravesite and in the course of his duties as a Consul, Mr. Lodge had talks with a military attache of the Embassy of Australia who knew nothing of the grave. This resulted in the Australian staff at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri initiating the annual November 11th memorial service at the grave site. It is attended each year not only by members of the Australian staff but also includes many of the other British Commonwealth staff at Fort Leonard Wood. It has grown in size each year so that now about 50 - 60 people gather at the memorial including the Lodges. Consul Lodge places the national flag of the four countries represented in the grave at the site during the Memorial Day event on November 11th.
In July, 2002, Mr. Daryl Ward of Yarram, Australia wrote in an e-mail of his gratitude for the website material regarding the Fukuoka POWs buried at Jefferson Barracks. His uncle, Charles Frederick Ward is one of the three Australians buried there.
To the left is a photograph of Charles Edward Ward, at his marriage to Mabel Jean Arnold in 1941. The person holding the flower girl is Charlie's brother Henry, Daryl's father. As it turned out, the flower girl is Daryl's sister in law.
The couple had only a week together before Charles Edward Ward was sent to Northern Australia. His unit then embarked for Timor on 12 Dec 1941, only a few days after the Pearl Harbor attack. The Japanese attacked on 19th February. There were about 3,000 poorly equipped Australians with no significant support, opposed to a force of 18,000 Japanese, with tanks, artillery, air and naval support. The out-numbered Aussies surrendered on 23 February, 1941 and Charles Edward Ward ended up in the POW camp in Fukuoka.
The Hansen family flowers placed by their father's name on November 11, 2002
On Veteran's Day, 2002, Mary Anne Stickney, her brother John , and sister Harriet went to the ceremony at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery. The local newspaper, the St. Louis Dispatch, carried a story and a front page photo of the event with Mary Anne Stickney on the right.
During and after the ceremony Mary Anne and her siblings were in the considerate hands of Netherlands Consul, R.W. Lodge and his wife.
Consul Lodge, his wife, Anja, on the left and Mary Anne Stickney on the right
The Presidential Memorial Certificates (41A1C)
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Quantico, VA 22134-3903
or call 202 565 4964
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