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31 August 2010


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Linda Hutson

It is stated: "Over the years the corrugated galvanized iron that shielded the gallows was pillaged by nearby shanty town dwellers."

This is not correct. My father, Allan Hutson, "acquired" the iron and made a carport out of it. Local townspeople were upset about this, even though they had no intention of preserving or destroying the site.

And besides that, there have never been, to my knowledge, any "shanty town dwellers" in Rabaul.

Stephen Asprey

My father, Captain SJB Asprey NX81642, was an investigator for all three sessions at Rabaul. He never talked much about the trials etc.

On my 21st birthday in 1971 he asked me to join him in his study at home in Sydney. There was a thick, yellowing file on his desk tied up in string.

He said that the file contained carbon copies of transcripts of evidence for the worst Japanese offenders in New Britain during the war. They were mainly about what was done to missionaries and nurses.

He asked me to sit and read them so I would know what really happened. It took me all day and into the night. It was horrific.

When I was finished he took the papers and burnt them in the incinerator.

Henry Sims

Come off it, Paul. Sweetness and light works for some, just ask Peter.

But when times get tough, a bit of the punishment "thing" does wonders, if nothing other than getting a few perpetrators out of the way; permanently.

Hanging can be messy if not done correctly, same as for electrocution and chemicals, but the do-gooders will not allow capital punishment in any form.

The number of "rascals" in the world is growing exponentially and we all wait for the revolution.

The threat of God has lost it's power but, in time, a legally placed bullet will certainly put a stop to anarchy.

Paul Oates

Over 30 years ago when I was with Defence, I remember discussing with some servicemen what it was like in PNG just after the war.

A navy officer (then very junior) told me he toured through PNG at the time. When I mentioned Finschhafen, he recalled his misadventures when he heard about the fabulous PX supplies being held there by the US forces.

He snuck out after hours and scrabbled under the side of one of the buildings that were open at the bottom for ventilation purposes.

He was just about to collect his loot when a Marine sentry challenged him and he ran and made a dive out our under the wall as the .45 bullets hit around him.

He was next stationed in Rabaul and heard about how the Japanese POW's had collected a lot of loot which they were still holding.

He eventually found his way to a barbed wire prison camp with what he believed were Japanese inside and now in possession of a .45 pistol, entered the camp and bailed up the first bloke he saw that had a decent watch on his wrist.

Threatening the POW with his pistol, he used sign language to extract the watch but the rest of the prisoners started to mob him and he just made it to the gate.

At that moment, a jeep pulled up full of US troops and grabbed him, extracted the watch which they gave back to the POW's and roared off before any further argument.

He was then told in the most forceful terms that he had actually turned up at a camp that the Japanese had run for Chinese prisoners and that the US were at the time, processing for repatriation.

A born loser? Well he was a Naval Lt Cmdr at the time he was telling me in 1978.

Another ex Army chap reckoned he was in Rabaul at the time they were executing Japanese POW's convicted of war crimes.

Apparently they used to take the bodies of the freshly executed to Rabaul hospital and x-ray the necks to ensure they were performing the execution in the most effective manner.

We weren't all sweetness and light were we?

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