- Letter Writer
- History - WW2, Letter to the Editor
- RAN Ships
- None noted.
- June 2013 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
On page 23 of the Naval Historical Review (March 2013), the statement is made that Sergeant Hajime Toyoshima (alias Tadeo Minami) captured on 19 February 1942 was the first Japanese prisoner of war captured by the Allies.
The first Japanese captured by the Australians maybe, but not by the Allies, for that dubious distinction belongs to Ensign Sakamaki Kazuo, IJN, the sole survivor of the attack by five Type ‘A’ midget submarines on Pearl Harbor on Sunday 7 December 1941. He was found unconscious on a beach the following morning.
I had the good fortune to meet and talk with him through an interpreter when he visited the Garden Island Dockyard Museum some years ago. The topic of conversation was the system used for numbering Japanese midget submarines, a subject upon which there was some confusion.
Sometime later as a result of this conversation the Japanese Midget Submarine Association presented the Museum with a brass plaque inscribed in Japanese and English with the number and names of the crew of the three midget submarines which took part in the attack on Sydney Harbour on the evening of 31 May – 1 June 1942.
The plaque was attached to the interior of the conning tower of the midget submarine commanded by Lieutenant Keiu Matsuo, IJN which is now in the Naval Heritage Centre at Garden Island.
By Editor: Once again we thank Norman for this correction and the interesting aside, noting nine crew members of the Japanese midget submarines involved in the attack on Pearl Harbor all lost their lives, with Ensign Kazuo being the sole survivor.