17 Jul 1944, Escape from the Japanese

Submitted by JerkJi on Tue, 07/05/2016 - 17:52

Shortly after midnight, Goodwin quietly left the his bed and the hut in the camp with all the escape equipment he could carry, and in the darkness of a rainy moonless night, made his way to the fencepost, he had to climb.  This was the first of three electrified fences he had to pass.   With care he climbed up to a foothold on the top insulator.

"Then summoning every ounce of strength I straightened up, and stood clear of the electric wires. As quickly as possible I stepped off the insulator on to the barbed wire fence behind the posts."

He made a painful descent through the rolls of barbed wire until:

"There was a tearing of cloth, the fence jerked violently, and I dropped seven feet to land with a tremendous thud on my back".

Recovering, he went on to crawl under the next two fences to reach the sea wall. He used the length of thin rope he was carrying to descend, misjudging his weakened condition. 

"The result was inevitable and I reached a beach of firm sand with the skin torn from both palm and back of the hand, an injury that gave me a great deal of pain in the days to come."

Using a life-jacket to float his pack, he started swimming the half a mile to the shore where he planned to go ashore. There were dark moored craft he had to pass, and he had to swim slowly.

"Brilliant phosphorous marked every movement with a trail of fire that made me proceed with care when passing close to anchored vessels."

Eventually reaching the shore, he made his way through a cultivated area to the edge of a road.   In the complete darkness he almost walked into a Japanese guard at the roadside.    He slowly moved away and in a heavy downpour made for a lane opposite, then moved quickly to a steep cutting behind a building. The cutting was below to the hills he was seeking, and finding a watercourse, he slowly climbed up about 80 feet to a grassy slope. He moved quickly, past buildings and some houses, then climbed up into the hills.   Dawn was approaching, so he found a clump of bushes in which to hide.

"I wedged my pack against the base of a small tree, and seated on that, I could lean back against the streaming earth."

He remained there throughout the day, eating some of his canned food. At dusk he moved quickly along a track and climbed a ridge were he had a view of :

"Shamshuipo camp, gaily illuminated with its closely spaced perimeter lights."

There were sounds of patrols below him and torchlight in the dark, so he moved on as fast as he could in what he assumed to be an easterly direction.

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