James Edwyn Hinkle
of Navarro County, Texas


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James Edwyn Hinkle

 

NAVARRO COUNTY YOUTH IN MARINES SERVING IN CHINA

DALLAS, Aug. 1,--(Spl.)—James E. Hinkle, son of Mrs. Edwyna Hinkle of Route 2, Barry, Texas, having enlisted in the U. S. Marines on September 26, 1930, has arrived in Tientsin, China, and joined the Marine Detachment there. Hinkle arrived from the Marine Barracks, Navy Yard, Mare Island, California, on board the Naval Transport Henderson.

Hinkle will be on duty in China from two to three years and will have an opportunity to acquaint himself with the Chinese, Japanese, Russian, French, Italian and German languages and people. He is scheduled to visit the ancient capitol of Cathey—Peking—where he will have the opportunity to see the ancient temples and pagodas that attract so many tourist from all over the world every year. He is considered a good rifle shot and for this reason he will spend two weeks in Chinwangtao, China, a city about 200 miles east of Tientsin and on the northern coast of the Yellow Sea where his company will be engaged in machine gun practice at our naval reservation. From Chinwangtao, he will make a trip to Shanhaikuan, which is on the border of China and Manchukuo where the Great wall of China meets the Yellow Sea.

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A Letter From China

A most interesting letter was received last week by Mr. and Mrs. J. W.
Hinkle from their son, Edwin, who is a member of the U. S. Marine corps in Tientsin, China. Besides the long and interesting letter, he sent many stamps, pictures, and clippings from newspapers. He described his trip in detail, from the time he left America to his landing in China.

Edwin left San Francisco April 3, and after experiencing a very rough voyage, landed in Honolula, staying there several days, then proceeding to Tientsin, landing May 1.

He writes very clear and interestingly of the happenings in China, showing a keen insight into the international situation rapidly developing there.

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  • The Blooming Grove Times - Friday, Oct 4, 1940
  • Submitted by Karen Rost

James E. Hinkle Captured By Japs

Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Hinkle received word Monday from Marine Headquarters, Washington, that their son, James E. Hinkle, with other Marines, who have been stationed in North China, have been taken as prisoners by war forces of Japan.

James has been in the service more than two years and in North China for the past 17 months.

Notes:

  • The Blooming Grove Times - Friday, Dec 26, 1941

  • Submitted by Karen Rost


BARRY COUPLE GET RECORDINGS OF PRISONER SON

Mr. and Mrs. James Hinklc, Barry, have received recordings of an announcement made in the Tokyo radio by their son, James E. Hinkle, who is a prisoner of war in Japan. He stated that he was well and said that the last
letter he received from home was on July 7, 1941. The talk was made on October 24.
Mr. and Mrs. Hinkle have also received a letter from the American Women's Voluntary Services listening post telling them of the message which they recorded.
Mrs. Hinkle said that they had received 92 letters from people in all sections of the country stating that they had heard the broadcast.

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RECEIVE LETTER FROM SON HELD AS JAP PRISONER

“I am well and hoping to be home soon,” writes Pfc. James E. Hinkle, 23 USMC, now a prisoner of war of the Japanese government in the Shanghai War Prisoners Camp, in a letter dated April 28, 1943, recently received by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Jos. W. Hinkle, Barry Route No. 1.

Entering the service in 1939, Tinkle has been a prisoner over two years. Recently he was reported to have been heard on a Japanese broadcast.

In his letter he says that “The International Red Cross has been kind to us.” He tells of receiving letters and pictures from the family and requested articles of clothing and food be sent him, also some chewing tobacco.

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James E. Hinkle Is Rescued From Jap Prison Camp

Pfc. James E. Hinkle, U. S. Marine, prisoner of war of the Japanese since early In 1942, has been rescued from a Japanese internment camp, according to information received from the local Red Cross office. Pvt. Hinkle is the son of Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Hinkle at Barry. He was held at Shanghai and Xentsuji, and in a letter from him, October 16, 1942.

said he had been transferred to a better internment camp in Central China, according to information on file here, A message that he was one of eight Texans on one of the hospital ships was received here.

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LIBERATED BARRY MARINE TELLS OF HIS LONG CAPTIVITY

THREE YEARS IN JAP PRISON CAMP DECLARED BE "LIVING HELL"

ABOARD A US. MERCY, SHIP

OFF TOYKO, Sept. 13.—(AP-Three years in Kawasaki prison camp was described as "a living hell" by Marine Private First Class James E. Hinkle, 23, of Barry, Texas. The Texan was released Aug. 20 with other American war prisoners shortly after the fourth regiment landed in the Japanese homeland.

Captured January 8, 1941, along with 23 other marines, Hinkle was with the North China Force, embassy guard detachment at Teintsin. When captured they were waiting for the ships to return from the Philippines which have evacuated the "old" Fourth Marines.

"It's been a living hell under the Japanese," he said. "We were forced to work ten hours a day. Our food consisted of boiled maize and soy beans like the cows at home eat.

"We were never told of the progress of the war and anyone who asked questions was given a beating with a baseball bat. When new prisoners came into camp bits of information circulated and we were able to get a fairly clear picture of what was going on outside.

That's what kept our courage up, I guess."

Hinkle added that the Japanese living quarters for internees were intolerable. Conditions were so crowded, he pointed out, that they were sleeping side by side with each others feet in their faces.

When they were first captured in Tientsin, they were taken to  See HINKLE,Page  7

 

HINKLE

CONTINUED FROM FIRST PAGE  

Shanghai where they remained in a prison camp for two months.

While there the Marines were assigned with labor units in erecting a miniature monument of Mount Fujiyama.

Later the detachment was split up and Hinkle was transferred to Kawasaki prison camp, Japan, where he has been confined since.

He worked in a steel mill during his internment there.

He was transferred to the Omari prison camp near Tokyo on August 16, shortly after the Japs offered to surrender to the allies.

"They never told us that Japan was surrendering," he said, "but we knew what was happening. We were treated much better there and knew nothing short of surrender could have caused such an improvement in our living conditions.

"But," he continued, "you don't forget three years of hell in 14 days.”    Hinkle has not been in the United States for six years. His parents, Mr. and Mrs. James W. Hinkle, also reside at Barry, Texas

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MARINE SGT. JAMES E.H1NKLE TELLS STORY OF FOUR YEARS SPENT AS PRISONER OF JAPS

By Lily Riser
Dally Sun Staff.

Marine Sergeant James E. Hinkle doesn't need a slogan to "Remember Pearl Harbor."

Once the infamous attack on the U. S. naval base was instigated, the Japs didn't waste any time in North China where Sgt. Hinkle was serving at a demarcation base for North China forces at Chinwangtao. They took him prisoner at 10:33 a. m. on the day of the sneak attack, December 7, 1941.

He was released last August 29  —almost four years later. For him there were 17 months in a Japanese prison camp at Wusung Island at the mouth of the Yangtze, 22 months at Kawasaki in the Japanese homeland, and the final lap of his long term at Omori, headquarters camp for the Tokyo working camps.

Served In China.

Sgt. Hinkle is the son of Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Hinkle of Barry.

He joined the Marines in September, 1939, trained at San Diego, and sailed for China in March, 1940, serving at Tientsin, Peking and Chinwangtao prior to his imprisonment.

For two months Hinkle was imprisoned at Tientsin where he says they "lived like kings," and could buy necessities, from the Chinese. But they were soon moved to Shanghai supposedly to board a repatriation ship.

Instead, they went to Wusung Forts, on Wusung Island at the mouth of the Yangtze. Physical treatment was alright here, Hinkle said, but they left them alone too much. "You can't keep your mind on intellectual things all the time." is his observation, "it wanders around to food."

In Crude Barracks.

They were quartered in crude barracks, where each prisoner's bed was a 7 feet by 34 inch space or, "shelves" built about 18 inches off the barracks floor.

"All heads were to be outboard," Hinkle explained, so guards could count us easily." Prisoners shaved their heads in order to keep clean,  when they heard the “clonk, clonk” of Jap shoes outside the barracks they made ready to be checked, thrusting cold, shaved heads simultaneously from under thin blankets so the guard could make sure they were all still there.

Seventeen months Hinkle spent in this camp. In August, 1948, he was moved to Kawasaki, Japan.

Here the Japs issued printed copies of "Regulations Covering Transfer of Prisoners." designed to inform the captives concerning conduct becoming one in such a position.

Issued Regulations.

Regulation No. 2 reads: Prisoners must keep as quiet as possible and engage in conversation only when absolutely necessary.

Regulation No. 3: In case of unexpected accident, prisoners must follow orders given by those in charge as quickly and quietly as possible. Anyone disobeying at this time will be shot.

Regulation 5: Prisoners must salute all Japanese military men.

A second section of the rules and regulations dealing with conducton board ship states:  Prisoners are not allowed to touch fixtures or any device without permission.

The Kawasaki camp was in the heart of the big steel mills.

"Did they make us work?" is Sgt. Hinkle's response to a question on conditions there,  “Did they make us, work!"

Worked Long Hour.

Roll call was at 5:15 a. m. Then off the prisoners went to the mills for from 10 to I5 hours of steady work. Their food was 300 grams of maize a day (454 grams in one pound), and "steamed soup" (vegetable broth.) As a special delicacy there were at times fried fish (fried in water), and soybeans.

The Japs took all personal clothing from Hinkle and issued cast-off Japanese uniforms. "There is, but one fit in a Japanese uniform," he says, "a misfit."

Of physical treatment received in the camps in Japan, he said, "It was rough. It was rugged."

Rough Treatment.

This seems like understatement when one sees the scar across the Marine sergeant's right hand cut when he fell with a 110-pound tin bar—purposely tripped by a Jap. He describes slapping as the most common form of physical punishment. "Slapping doesn't really hurt a man," he declares.

“His eyes and nose swell, but it doesn't really hurt him." He has seen Japs give their prisoners beatings with baseball bats, he said.

Often prisoners ribs were broken in this manner.

“The Japs felt inferior," he explained. "They received a sadistic satisfaction from physical punishment  to one who could not fight back."

One form of punishment common in the camps Hinkle himself escaped. Men were forced to stand erect, holding a pot of water on their heads for four or five hours."

Arm Is Broken.

He suffered a broken arm cranking , an engine. Performing an expert job of "setting" he bandaged his arm himself, and the injury healed. This injury did not interrupt his schedule at he mill.

In charge of a company of 26 men who worked in the mills as a pipe-making crew, Hinkle was blamed for the slightest discrepancy in output. "If anything went wrong, they slapped the one in charge of the group. And no matter how long you had been working, you didn't leave until the job was finished."

All kinds of misinformation about the progress of the war was given to the prisoners. One announcement had it that "our (the Japanese) troops in Washington have just given Japanese people permission to go to America and grow strawberries on the slopes of the Sierra Navadas."

Planned for Future.

But Americans in the camps maintained their confidence of victory. "I kept planning for the future," Hinkle affirms. All through his long internment he believed he would one day get home. After the 22 months at Kawasaki came internment at Omori, a Tokyo working camp, where he was released on arrival of forces under Commodore Simpson's command.

At Omori there was the same relentless work schedule, the same sadistic guards, but there was a new and life-saving opportunity here—a chance to steal food

Lost Weight.

Normally weighing around 160 pounds, this once husky Marine had lost to 89 pounds. But at Omori he worked in the railway yards—handled supplies bound for the Emperor's palace. Fish and vegetables, crabs, beans, and some meat were shipped in "flat cars" Though it was a risky affair, Hinkle and others were able to secure some food at random. He began to gain, his weight going rom 117 to 148 pounds in two months.

Once he was caught stealing rice. For punishment he stood at attention without any supper from 6 p. m. till midnight—or 20 nights. His work schedule continued during this "watch." I didn't get caught any more" he said. "I had just been too careless."

Many Died.

Many of Sgt. Hinkle's companions died in the camps. "I saw one kid die singing a Chinese love song, and he scared all the Japs out of the barracks." The song was "Eie Chang Fel"— translated, "When Are You Coming Back?"

The Marine sergeant drew a diagram of typical Jap prison barracks. Roofs were of tin, and often the floors were dirt. Men slept double-deck fashion on "shelves" called the "upper and lower bay. Approximately 7O feet in length, the bay accommdated 25 men. This figures approximately 34 inches of sleeping space per person.

There was a 14x34 inch shelf for clothing and other personal equipment, such as the Japanese army capissued each prisoner. One pair of cotton socks without heels was issued every three months. The split-toed canvas rubber shoes were ill-fitting. Occasionally a prisoner would get a pair of hob-nailed Jap army shoes. "I'd rather go barefooted, is Hinkle's remark.

A bar of soap was given with the quarterly issue of socks, but usually soap was extremely scarce. Five men were commonly assigned to one bar of soap.

"We shaved with water most of the time," the former prisoner stated. "The razor blade sharpened so many times you couldn't see it beyond the edge of the razor."

Prisoners Quit Work.

It was last August 15 when prisoners at Omori deliberately quit work—and got by with it. By August 20 receipt of Red Cross packages increased, especially quantities of vitamin pills.

Hinkle ate over a thousand vitamin pills, he said. In spite of dire consequences, "they tasted so good." The men began making small jokes. "Here, have a vitamin," they would say, "have a vitamin on me."

On August 29 their day of liberation came. In September Hinkle arrived in the States. He came back to his farm home near Barry—after an absence of five and a half years.

Many Changes.

A lot of things had changed here, he noticed. And he found himself somewhat behind times in even the use of his mother’s tongue. Take the word "boogie-woogie." He didn't even know what it meant. And jitterbugs hadn’t developed their art so profoundly five and a half years ago. Sgt. Hinkle remembers them merely as on the screen.

The sergeant has been given 90 days of additional leave. What will he do with it?

"I guess I'll stay around and try to make the folks at home feel happy," he plans. "After all, it was worse on them than it was on me."

Notes:


NAVY ANNOUNCES NAMES 94 TEXANS AS JAP PRISONERS

JAMES E. HINKLE OF BARRY WAS MEMBER U. S. MARINES SERVING AT PEIPING

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(I only did the headlines it was a long article)


BARRY SOLDIER IS IN GOOD HEALTH IN JAP PRISON CAMP

Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Hinkle of Barry have just received a letter from their son, Private First Class James E. Hinkle, 22, of the U.S.

Marine Corps, who is now a prisoner of war at an iternment camp in Central China.

The letter contained only the bare statements that he was in good health and was being treated better than he expected. He stated that he was experiencing some difficulty in understanding the language, but that he was allowed to receive mail from North China and that he was permitted to buy medicine and medical care from a post exchange.

The envelope bore censor marks of both Japanese and United States censors.

Hinkle is a graduate of the Emhouse  high school. He enlisted in the U. S. Marines in 1939 and was sent to China as an embassy guard at Peiping where he was stationed at the time of the Japanese declaration of war. He is a native of Springtown, Parker county.

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Letter From James Edwyn Hinkle

A letter from James Edwyn Hinkle, who is in a Japanese prison camp near Shanghai, China, has been received by his parents Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Hinkle.

He stated in his letter that he was enjoying good health and was being treated much better than he expected he would be. All he said concerning the food was that the Japs feed the best they can and the prisoners also receive medicine and medical care.

He stated that they get the Shanghai Daily Post and have a Post exchange in camp.

This is the first direct news Mr. and Mrs. Hinkle have received from their son since he was taken prisoner Dec. 7, 1941, in North China.

Notes:

  • Submitted by Dana Stubbs
  • The Blooming Grove Times, Friday October 2, 1942
  • Obituary of James Edwyn Hinkle

25 Years Ago

From the files of The Daily Sun

Pfc. James E. Hinkle, U. S. Marine and prisoner of war of the Japanese from 1942, was rescued from a Japanese Interment camp according to word received by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Hinkle of Barry.

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