My Uncle, Jack Lansford was with the 200th cac Reg Hqt and was from Waco, Texas. He escaped from Bataan to Corregidor and surrendered there. He died at Niigata 5-b POW camp in Japan on January 14,1944. Many of the Canadian POW's were at Niigata. Many died there.
I've spoken recently with a "200th" survivor, Cecil Uzzel. He and my Uncle were friends prior to the war and during captivity. On asking him about the Canadians there, he gave a humorous laugh of remembrance and said "They were something!" His meaning was that he thought very well of them. My Uncle had carried his coal for him when he had injured himself from a fall off the trestle at the docks, thus insuring him rations and no beatings for failure to work. At this time they were having to hand load and carry the coal up the trestle and unload with yo-yo sticks. No easy chore for a fed and healthy man!
Being a preacher, Cecil uses Uncle Jack's words to him "I will carry your load today" as a reference point to his congregation, about Jesus' words. He said there was one Canadian that had epilepsy and when on the trestles had an attack and "I ran over and held him down until it was over and tried to hold his tongue so he wouldn't swallow it. Whoever was near would do this. Of course now we know he couldn't swallow his tongue, but he could have fallen off".
I know my Uncle Jack would have thought very much of the Canadians too.
My family would cherish any, anything that could be shared with us about Uncle Jack, Cecil Uzzel or Niigata.
Thank you, neighbours, for your sacrifices. I know the pain is still as fresh today as it was yesterday. Though 60 and more years have passed, my Mother's tears for her Big Brother Jack are as yesterday. Died so far away from home never again to feel the loving touch of a loving family.
Thank you so much.
James and Dau Gabriel Hightower
Mother Dorothy Lansford Hightower