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Newly Published: Hellships Down

New on our bookshelf:

Hellships Down: Allied POWs and the Sinking of the Rakuyo Maru and Kachidoki Maru
Michael Sturma

On 12 September 1944, a wolfpack of U.S. submarines attacked the Japanese convoy HI-72 in the South China Sea. Among the ships sunk were two carrying Allied prisoners of war. Men who had already endured the trials of Japanese captivity faced a renewed struggle for survival at sea.

This book tells the broader story of the HI-72 convoy through the stories of two survivors: Arthur Bancroft, who was rescued by an American submarine, and Charles “Rowley” Richards, who was rescued by the Japanese. The story of these men represents the thousands of Allied POWs who suffered not only the atrocious conditions of these Japanese hellships, but also the terror of friendly fire from their own side’s submarines. For the first time, the personal, political and legal aftermath of these men’s experiences is fully detailed. At its heart, this is a story of survival. Charting the survivors’ fates from rescue to their attempts at retribution, this book reveals the trauma that continued long after the war was over.