“From May onwards, prisoners in a terrible state came in daily,” recorded a British gunner unit in Burma, “many of them armed with nothing more dangerous than bamboo spears, trembling with a mixture of malaria and humiliation.”
But if some proved ready to quit, others did not. To the end, most Japanese who lost their ships at sea deliberately evaded Allied rescuers. On the deck of HMS Saumarez, destroyer Captain Martin Power was directing rescue operations after sinking a Japanese convoy off the Nicobars, when he suddenly heard a “clang” against the ship.
Peering over the side, he saw a bald, heavily built Japanese man clinging to a scrambling net with one hand, while hammering the nose of a shell against the hull with the other. Power drew his pistol, leaned over and whacked the man’s head.
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