Slaughter at sea by Mark Felton

3rd January 2008, 23:59
My dear wife purchased this book which tells of war crimes by the Japanese navy during WW2, I knew that the Japanese army were cruel b------ds but I never expected this treatment from the navy against his fellow sea farers,I would recommend all navy men ,RN / MN to read this book,I`m 71 years old and read a lot about the 2nd WW but this book has certainly opened my eyes to the cruelty that the Japanese navy dealt out to other human beings.

4th January 2008, 02:03
Thankyou for that, Ceylon 220, I'll keep an eye out for that book.

Dave Edge
4th January 2008, 06:43
Haven't come across that one but an excellent book on the same subject is "Blood and Bushido" by Bernard Edwards.
Dave Edge.

4th January 2008, 22:41
"banzai you b*****ds" ............jack edwards

is another

4th January 2008, 23:09
Haven't come across that one but an excellent book on the same subject is "Blood and Bushido" by Bernard Edwards.
Dave Edge.

Badly written, but interesting, indeed horrifying at times, nevertheless.

5th January 2008, 16:09
Thankyou for that, Ceylon 220, I'll keep an eye out for that book.

Beware Coastie if you go looking for this book we have 2 books under the heading of: Slaughter at sea. by a differant author, that one dealt with a 1st WW "Q" SHIP which hunted and gunned down the crew of a German sub which had torpedoed a hospital ship------ look for "SLAUGHTER AT SEA" Story of Japanese Naval war Mark Felton.

K urgess
5th January 2008, 16:34
Abebooks currently has eight here (

6th January 2008, 00:52
Waterstone`s books are selling this book at £14:99 postage free in the UK
the other book which I mentioned about the 1stWW "Q" SHIP was

"Slaughter at sea" (Truth by the Naval War Crimes) BY Alan Coles.

3rd July 2009, 01:01
Thanks Celon220

Read about this book on your post. Tried to find it locally none here. Fortunately my local library was able to borrow a copy from one of their sources and I got to read this well researched book.

Thanks to Mark Felton for his efforts, and to the publishers, for in this time of " political correctness " printing this account of the atrocities comitted by these sadistic murderers.

Honour is with those who fell victim to these barbarous and cowardly acts.
These cowardly acts should not be forgotten.

3rd July 2009, 01:32
Yes, we must remember the acts of cruelty while we drive our Toyota's, Mazda's, Honda's, Mitsubishi's and other cars and trucks fitted out with a mass of Japanese electronic gear. Remember them while we listen to our Japanese built stereo's, radio's and TV's. They didn't beat us in a miltary sense but they are laughing at us now. The guys who lay today on the Burma Railway, the nurses murdered on the beach while trying to escape from Singapore, and countless other victims that there is no point in going into here, must be turning in their graves. How sad it is, because we HAVE forgotten, or, just dont care. Please, dont preach forgiveness or understanding or political correctness to me, in this case, I am not listening.

3rd July 2009, 02:29
"Theres nowt as wierd as folk"

When I look at the effect of Japanese soldiers on the Philippines, read and hear about the terrible things they did here. Then I see the Philippine people praising Japanese industry I simply have to scratch my head in amazement at their stupidity. Filipnos rushing to get work in Japan too. These people dont seem to realize that if it was not for the USA they would all be speaking Japanese now.

3rd July 2009, 02:43
My dear wife purchased this book which tells of war crimes by the Japanese navy during WW2, I knew that the Japanese army were cruel b------ds but I never expected this treatment from the navy against his fellow sea farers,I would recommend all navy men ,RN / MN to read this book,I`m 71 years old and read a lot about the 2nd WW but this book has certainly opened my eyes to the cruelty that the Japanese navy dealt out to other human beings.


Don't know if you read my thread on 'The Sinking of the Lisbon Maru'. Is this tragedy covered covered in the book?

Taffy R556959

John Cassels
3rd July 2009, 10:58
A slightly different thread ; remember visiting the Poclain excavator factory
outside Paris some years ago.

In the boardroom was shown a copy of sales brochure that had never been
used. Front cover was a photo of a Komatsu excavator with the caption -

" From those nice people who brought you Pearl Harbour ".

4th July 2009, 02:03
To be clear, I wasn't preaching political correctness ,understanding and forgiveness.

I was praising Felton and the publishers for having the guts to print the hard facts of these atrocities, especially when no one wants to hear the truth.

Today, I am ashamed to say that it was reported that my government thru International Co-Operation Minister Bev Oda, not only welcomed the Emperor of Japan ( his last welcome had been in 1953 when he was heir to the Japanese throne) she reportedly made the following observation;

"Oda noted that Canada's relationship with it's Japanese ancestry residents had a "hiccup" during the Second World War, when they were rounded up and placed in internment camps."


There were no internment camps in Japan for non-Japanese, only torture and death.

It should be noted that Canada's International Co-Operation Minister Bev Oda is of Japanese ancestry.

4th July 2009, 08:49
Perhaps this thread is an appropriate time to re-air my old post under the heading "WW2 Ship history-MV Hauraki Capture" which is based on a true tale told to me and supported by The New Zealand History web site

WW2 Ship, history MV Hauraki capture

I first met Bill in the late 1960’s when he worked for a large Corporation based in Wellington New Zealand and I was with the Auckland office of an international energy engineering company.
At the time our Company was the biggest single customer of Bill’s group so he invariably looked me up when visiting Auckland and, in the good old days of Corporate excesses, usually took me to lunch which often extended into an afternoon off but justifiable as we claimed to conduct as much business this way as we would in the confines of an office. He was a generation older than I but we had a lot in common from our early training in similar apprentiships, our times spent in the Merchant Navy as Marine Engineers plus our current engineering activities which gave us plenty of common ground to form a good friendship.
A year or so later circumstances changed at my office and rather than accept an undesirable “promotion’ I took an opportunity to join the Auckland office of Bill’s group and knowing of our individual engineering business contacts and associations throughout the country the Head Office Management of my new employer deciding to send Bill and I on a fortnight’s trip through New Zealand’s South Island in order to introduce his contacts to me, mine to him and to generally allow us to spend time ‘bonding’ and really getting to know one another well
We had a great time ‘chewing the fat’ with many old friends and acquaintances, drank a lot of beer and generally ‘fed well’ and it was while we were eating lots of green salads to counteract the calories of the prime steaks that were our staple fare when on a Company funded jaunt that I noticed Bill’s reluctance to eat cucumber which he always carefully weeded out from his lettuce and tomato. As a lover of cucumber I swiftly scooped it on to my plate and accepted his explanation that he simply did not like it however, after a week had passed we had established a closer relationship and after a few drinks before dinner I pressed Bill and he opened up with an explanation as to why he disliked cucumber and a fascinating and sometimes horrific story began to unfold..

Bill completed his engineering apprentiship just before the out-break of World War Two and had gone to sea as a Marine Engineer with the Union Steam ship Company serving on the passenger liners ‘Tahiti’ and ‘Aorangi’ on the North American run before transferring to the cargo ship MV ‘Hauraki’ in early 1942.( not the NZ shipping Co’s post war Hauraki)
The Hauraki, the Union Company’s first diesel powered vessel, was launched in 1921, displaced 7113 tons and was designed primarily for cargo work but with accommodation for twelve passengers. She worked extensively on the Trans-Pacific run, mostly Melbourne, Sydney to Vancouver via the Pacific Islands during the 1930’s but in 1940 after the out break of WW2 she was requisitioned by the British Ministry of War Transport and the ship, manned mostly by New Zealanders, was used on wartime ‘special services’.
Hauraki, loaded with war supplies for the Middle East, sailed from Wellington to Fremantle for re-fuelling then and left that port on 4th July 1942 bound for her destination via Colombo. Eight days out while in the Indian Ocean she was ambushed by Japanese armed Merchant Cruisers Hokoku Maru and Aikoku Maru and being unarmed and unescorted she was not able to resist being captured.
The ship was forced to sail under armed guard to Japanese occupied Singapore where the passengers and non- essential crew members were placed in camps and prisons such as Changi Jail while the engineers and deck officers were made to steam the ship up to the Mitsubishi Dockyard in Yokohama Harbour. Yokohama is the sea port for Tokyo and was a very large base for both the Naval and Merchant ships of the Japanese fleets
The Hauraki then had some modifications and repairs done, some to rectify the sabotage damage inflicted on machinery by the NZ crew, before being re-named Hoki Maru and sent to sea on the task of carrying defence materials to the Japan held Pacific theatres.
She lasted about eighteen months at this job until, on February 17th 1944, she was caught at anchor in a lagoon east of Eten Island, then a Japanese stronghold and major airstrip in the Truc group of Melanesian Islands, and an Avenger bomber from the Aircraft Carrier USS ‘Bunker Hill’ hit the port side with an aerial torpedo igniting the cargo of fuel and destroying the ship. Other torpedos also made their mark as proved by the many gaping holes in her hull when she was found in later years.
She was discovered in the 1980’s sitting upright on a sandy sea bed at a depth of less than 50 metres with her superstructure and hull badly damaged but with much of her cargo of bull dozers, trucks, steam rollers, runway matting, aero engines etc, all items useful for forming and maintaining island air strips, still intact in the holds after more than sixty years on the sea bed.
It is not surprising that the ship is now a well known and patronised Scuba dive site known in diving circles as the ‘Bulldozer Wreck’ and is promoted by Michael McFadyen’s Scuba Diving Company as a perfect dive site.

Bill’s story as he told it to me was that immediately the shot across the bows heralded the enemy they knew that they were in a ‘no win’ situation so the engineers worked to a contingency plan and began throwing spare parts overboard and commenced a planned ‘high wear’ regime for the main engine and auxiliaries such as running them with too little cooling water and inadequate lubricating oil pressures, not enough to be obvious or to immediately cripple the ship, but at a level that would ensure undue wear and unreliability in the medium term and the need for a relatively early refit. The boarding party included engineers from the Japanese ships who occupied the engine room on each watch together with an armed guard so this slow destruction technique could not be too obvious but otherwise the voyage to Singapore was uneventful apart from the anxiety as to what would become of them.
The ship managed to send out a distress signal warning of the pending capture but other than that the NZ Authorities or crew’s families and loved ones were not to know of their fate until after the Japanese surrender.
Today as I try to write from memory of a traumatic story told to me thirty years ago in a self effacing and matter of fact manner I am able to search the internet for reinforcing information.
Several sites, including the official NZ History “The middle phase of the war against Japan - June 1942 to December 1944”all confirm Bill’s story and if anything, exposes his version as told to me as being somewhat modest and understated when you review the historic conditions that are so typical of the other documented Japanese acts of barbarism of this period.

I quote now from accounts documented in the New Zealand War History.


“When the ship finally arrived in Yokohama Harbour the engineer crew members were taken to the infamous Ofuna Camp about ten miles from the port, put into small cells and forbidden to talk to anyone. Here they were given just enough food to stay alive and were subjected to an exhausting regime of exercise. They also experienced and saw the mass and individual beatings which helped give this camp the title of ‘Torture Farm’’
After being softened up in this manner they were interrogated several times during their six weeks stay before being drafted out to individual working camps in Yokohama.
The 20 members of the Hauraki had been at least fortunate in the fact that they had been able to travel from Singapore to Yokohama in relative style aboard their own ship rather than the overland and sea journey endured by the other prisoners in the back of goods trucks and ship’s decks without seating or bedding and having to squat for hours on end for several days.
Men at this working camp (Yokohama D1) were allocated to the Mitsubishi Naval and Merchant Shipyards and re-accommodated in a large old goods shed about 2 miles from the yard and at first, when there were only about500 men they were not overcrowded. The building however was filthy and the straw of the sleeping platforms soon became infested with rats, lice and fleas. There was a concrete floor and negligible heating so in the freezing winter months of 1943 many of the men contracted pneumonia.
There were almost no medical supplies and the camp diet consisted of a cup of rice grain and a cup of thin fish or vegetable soup three times a day. These factors combined to make it very difficult to resist disease. Sick men were often forced out to work and nearly 50 of the camp strength died in the first year.
Reveille was at 5 am and after the 2 mile march to the shipyard the men began work at 7 am, worked until 5 pm then marched back to camp where lights out was at 8 pm.
There were the usual bashings to maintain discipline some times varied by making the whole camp stand to attention until midnight.
The shipyard work consisted of all the heavy manual tasks connected with building and overhauling of ships and the “Hauraki” herself came in for a much needed overhaul in January 1943 and eventually went back to sea in September 1943.
At the end of 1944 Allied air raids began to be both daily and nightly occurrences, the shipyards being a prime target so both prisoners and their captors spent much of their time sheltering in snow lined trenches or what ever protection was available”


Reverting to Bill’s own personal account, beyond his somewhat downplayed précis of the above, he mentioned that he was at one time an amateur wrestler of reasonable skill having won a provincial championship in his light weight class and one morning in the Yokohama docks, after the march from the camp and while waiting for the gang plank to be lowered to board ship and start work, he and a fellow crew member felt light hearted enough to take up the stance of a wrestling match hold then fooled around for a few minutes only to be observed by the Army Colonel Engineer in charge of the prisoner labour force in the dockyard who was a wrestler himself.
He could see from Bill’s style that he was trained at the sport and after a discussion via an interpreter Bill found himself booked for a bout with the Colonel on the jetty the next morning.
They proved evenly matched as far as tactical skills went but Bill’s half staved body did not have the strength to match that of the well fed officer and in any case Bill imagined that if he was able to overpower or tactically defeat the man the loss of face and humiliation might see him grievously punished. After several bouts the match became a regular morning fixture for many months on end as the Officer enjoying Bill’s skills and the work-out it gave him but realising Bill’s malnutrition was hampering their competitiveness he ordered that Bill was to be given extra rations. These consisted of extra rice and, for some reason that was never explained, several cucumbers each day. They had no nutritional value what so ever but Bill ate them at the Colonel’s insistence to avoid any repercussions and overall found that his health and strength marginally improved to allow him to even derive a bit of enjoyment out of the morning tussles himself.
His daily appointments with the Colonel saw a strained and fragile friendship develop which seemed to provide a buffer from the brutal treatment often meted by the overseers and guards, usually for little reason, and this “protection” spilled over to Bill’s companions, the other engineers from the Hauraki crew who had managed to stay together as a team.
Although it is not tabled in the NZ History account Bill mentioned that the Hauraki’s engineering crew were later taken from the Yokohama D camp and housed in a shed on the end of a dockyard jetty partly so they could spend longer hours actually doing productive engineering maintenance work, some of this being on their old ship and they were sure that the extent of work needed on their old vessel was attributable to the “abusive” treatment they had given to the equipment during the voyage to Japan.
As Bill saw it, being accommodated on the jetty was also another of the Colonel’s concessions to his group which freed them from some of the main camp privations and terrors.
The same harsh cold sleeping conditions existed as did the food rations but with a little more quantity and always with Bill’s cucumbers.
The work they did was in line with their engineering skills and was no doubt very valuable to the Japanese war effort but any thought of “shoddy” work or attempted sabotage was quelled by the example of punishment meted out to a young Japanese apprentice. The lad was working on a small auxiliary engine in a ship’s engine room near the New Zealander’s work area and was trying to undo a flywheel nut not realising that because of the engines rotation it had a left-hand thread. The kiwis stood back and laughed at his antics in a good natured way but an overseer appeared and realising what was going on laid into the lad with a pinch bar and would have killed him had the
NZer’s not intervened. This was all because of the perceived humiliation that the boy was creating in front of the foreigners and was an example of how the Hauraki men might fare if they did any thing untoward. Again Bill was sure that his association with the Colonel was the only reason they escaped punishment for acting on the boy’s behalf.
I recall asking Bill if they ever thought of escape and he confirmed that once they were quartered in the shed on the jetty they did conjure up several plans but each fell by the wayside as they checked them with a fine tooth comb.
Security was fairly lax, just one armed guard on night shift and often he fell asleep but the doubts of a successful plan were always there,
Firstly they were Europeans with only a smattering of Japanese language and a shore based escape would see them stick out like the proverbial in a land of many millions that probably did not have one European person roaming free.
The only other avenue was a boat or ship but neither of these were practical as steaming even a small coastal vessel out of the harbour would raise an immediate alarm and a smaller launch or patrol craft would not clear hostile waters, which then stretched for perhaps 1000 miles, before a faster boat or even a Zero drive bomber was sent to sort them out.
Their physical condition was another discouraging factor as they never had the real continuous will to carry any plan through.
The most harrowing time of their captivity was the latter stages of the war when the Americans started their large scale bombing raids on several cities especially Tokyo and strategic ports with naval dock yards like Yokohama.
These raids were the first indication that the war might be progressing in the Allies favour as up
until then there was no unbiased war news reports at all. What little news they could glean from the few partly friendly civilian dock workers was laced with propaganda about his Imperial Majesty’s constant defeats of the Americans and their Allies in all theatres.
The only comfort from these raids was the fact that at least the Yanks seemed to be getting the upper hand but that was where it ended as the raids themselves were more fearful than anything they had had to endure over the past two or three years. It was almost a rule of every man to himself while the raids were on and the deadly accuracy meant that there was little comfort in seeking refuge in the bowels of the ships hold or engine room as these vessels were the prime targets and a direct hit would probably see you trapped below. Bill recalled that they spent many of the earlier raids perched on the piles under the wharf hoping that a bomb would not come through the decking.
As the bombing progressed the Americans started to use incendiaries with devastating effect and as the dockyard became uninhabitable and they were sent back to the main camp

Most of the Hauraki group survived but I recall Bill saying that one man passed away out of sheer despair and malnutrition while another died in a camp hospital from wounds and burns received during one of these raids.
An internet site that I have visited contains a speech of conciliation given by Yoshiko Tamura in Japan on Anzac day 25th of April 2004 when he mentioned that a detailed search of Japanese war burial sites had found the graves of several prisoners of war and he mentions that the grave of William Brodie had been found and inscribed by his family after the war and identifying him as the 5th engineer on the MV Hauraki who had died on the 10th of August 1945 at age 30.He died of severe burns as a result of the bombings and just five days before the Japanese surrender
Bills first indication that it was all over came when the Colonel came to him one day and asked him to sign a document, written in Japanese and supposedly stating that all the Hauraki crew had received fair and just treatment from him as their captivity commander. This conciliatory move illustrated that he was not your usual type of Japanese career Officer/Warrior who would have fallen on his sword rather than surrender or show any compassion but just a civilian engineer caught up in the conflict and given a high military rank to enable him to have enough clout to perform his job which was keeping ships at sea.
Bill agreed and within a few days they were transported to a more comfortable camp to await the American troops and Bill never heard of his sparring partner again.
Bill admitted that it was a love/hate relationship at the time but as he got older and often dwelled on those days he realised that this common ground of a mutual sporting interest had certainly resulted in preferential treatment, albeit stilted and without any emotional display but it had undoubtedly eased the trauma for his group, perhaps even saved their lives.
I asked Bill if he ever felt like contacting the Colonel in the post war years and he replied “Often but my enthusiasm for it always faltered as I thought of the other side to our treatments and really did not want all the reminders”

The trip back to New Zealand was reasonably swift thanks to the US Air Force and they finally arrived in Wellington for a very brief reunion with their families before being again interrogated by local intelligence officers.
Bill finished up marrying the young lady that had been his questioner and counsellor during this de briefing period.

It was a long story with a happy ending and told to me over several nights of quiet conversation and while there are other anecdotes that I should recall I feel that I have captured the essence of the man who largely downplayed his own privations and talked more of the plight of others and it is only my internet searching that has disclosed the true horrors of these times that Bill largely glossed over. .

A year or two later I was out to dinner one night with Bill and his wife and while he was away talking to friends at another table I was able to talk to her about Bill’s ordeal and she was surprised that I knew so much and commented that he must of trusted and liked me a lot because it had taken him many years to tell her as much and in the original de briefings on arrival back in Wellington his lips were almost sealed
Bill got on with life; he was cheeky by nature with a great sense of humour but with an attitude that accepted no flack from anyone. When ever we had Japanese visitors to the office, and there were many due to our Japanese agencies, he would excuse himself and go off some where for the day. The sight, the sound of their voices, his understanding of some of their Japanese language talk between themselves etc all bought back harsh and sad memories, just like the smell and the taste of cucumber.

Bill reached 60, the compulsory retiring age for the Company’s staff and left with a good pension and the intention to play golf for the rest of his life but alas those years in captivity had no doubt left their mark and he died less than two years into his game.

Bob Jenkins 9/3/06