My father's work with the War Crimes Investigation Committee
Joining the British Indian Army and being taken prisoner in Singapore by the Japanese, my father underwent 3 1/2 years of horrific captivity in Rabaul, New Britain (now part of Papua New Guinea), during which time his mother had no news of him and thought he might be dead. Back in India, almost as an act of therapeutic release, this high-school educated man, with little exposure to literature, wrote down his story on the letter-pad stationery of his brothers' footwear shop. He wrote it in pencil, in 1946, and the manuscript lay unattended for 50 years until I read it and decided it had to be published. It was presented to him on December 27, 1997, less than two years before his death.
I give below an excerpt from his memoir, which has received 8 reviews on Amazon UK, including "Loved this book. Moving." It is from the period after he had been liberated from the Japanese POW camp:
Excerpt from Eaten by the Japanese: The Memoir of an Unknown Indian Prisoner of War, by John Baptist Crasta:
On 1 October 1945, I was taken on the staff of the War Crimes Investigation Committee. Capt. McLillian and Capt. Foster of Auxiliary (India) Force, Capt. Munro, 1st Hyderabad Infantry, and I, comprised the staff. We were asked to investigate charges against the Japanese under the War Crimes Act, hold courts of Enquiries, collect evidence, et cetera and submit the proceedings to 11th Division HQ. This work kept me busy the whole day.About one hundred and sixty proceedings were submitted, the most notable among them being a case of cannibalism. I give a precis. ..........The prisoners in New Guinea had fared a worse fate. Out of a total of three thousand men, only two hundred had survived. Most of them died of starvation, fatigue, and disease. Some had been eaten by the Japanese. In New Britain, out of a total of eleven thousand men, five thousand three hundred were alive, including nearly one thousand hospital cases.
For your convenience, here are a few links to the book: