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Japanese Hell Ships

In May 1942 the Japanese began transferring POW's by sea. With treatment similar to that received on the Bataan Death March, prisoners were often crammed into cargo holds with little air, food, or water for journeys that would last weeks. Many died due to asphyxia, starvation, or dysentery. Some POW's became delirious and unresponsive in their oppressive environment of heat, humidity and lack of oxygen.


These ships were also unmarked which led to them being targeted as enemy ships by Allied submarines and aircraft. In this way more than 20,000 Allied POW's died at sea, when the transport ships they were aboard were sunk.

The below stories are of the two Hell Ships sunk while carrying POW's destined to work on the Pekanbaru Death Railway.

Click on an image below to learn more. 

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