Resources - Transcripts - Letter from John L. May to Rev G.E. Johnson regarding Dan Oakes
Holy Trinity Rectory
The Rev. G.E. Johnson,
Dear Mr. Johnson
Thank you for your letter. I believe I can give you some help, though not all I should like. In any case I understand that a list has now been found of all those who were aboard the "Montevideo Maru", and that should be all that is required.
Here are your questions:-
1. Did you see Wm. Daniel Oakes in Rabaul P.O.W. camp in June, 1942?
Yes, frequently until 22 June.
2. Did you see him marched onto the "Montevideo Maru" in June 1942?
3. Further Information:
I was in Rabaul P.O.W. camp from 29 April to 22 June, 1942, during which time I frequently saw and spoke to Mr Oakes. Early on the morning of Sunday 22 June, the whole camp was roused and all the civilians and military personnel (except officers and eight civilians) were later marched out of camp. I saw Mr Oakes march out with them. The Japanese told us that they were being taken to a ship. Later we heard that they had left Rabaul and the Japanese report was that the ship had reached its destination, a journey supposed to be covered in 4 or 5 days. None of us saw the prisoners march on to the ship because the camp was not visible from the water but there is not the least doubt in any of our minds but that the men sailed on that day. While I was in Japan a certain camp official Lieut. Hosotani told certain prisoners that the ship carrying the Rabaul personnel had been sunk. (This was not official, nor was it public in the camp.)
From a personnel standpoint, may I add that there has been no doubt in my mind that all those fellows have gone. It has been a grievous shock, especially when there has been so long a period of anxiety and uncertainty preceding it. I knew Dan (as we called him) and can speak of the great help he was in a number of ways to his comrades. His health was good and his spirits of the most cheerful.
Please accept my sincerest sympathy. This has been a distressing affair, but we can be glad in knowing that the end must have been swift and clean, and they are now at rest. God be with you and yours.
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