Individual Report: H6384 Joseph FUREY

1st Bn The Winnipeg Grenadiers

General Information

Rank: First Name: Second Name:
Private Joseph
From: Enlistment Region: Date of Birth (y-m-d):
Firdale MB Manitoba 1921-03-10
Appointment: Company: Platoon:
HQ Coy

Transportation - Home Base to Hong Kong

Members of 'C' Force from the East travelled across Canada by CNR troop train, picking up reinforcements enroute. Stops included Valcartier, Montreal, Ottawa, Armstrong ON, Capreol ON, Winnipeg, Melville SK, Saskatoon, Edmonton, Jasper, and Vancouver, arriving in Vancouver on Oct 27 at 0800 hrs.

The Winnipeg Grenadiers and the local soldiers that were with Brigade Headquarters from Winnipeg to BC travelled on a CPR train to Vancouver.

All members embarked from Vancouver on the ships AWATEA and PRINCE ROBERT. AWATEA was a New Zealand Liner and the PRINCE ROBERT was a converted cruiser. "C" Company of the Rifles was assigned to the PRINCE ROBERT, everyone else boarded the AWATEA. The ships sailed from Vancouver on Oct 27th and arrived in Hong Kong on November 16th, having made brief stops enroute at Honolulu and Manila.

Equipment earmarked for 'C' Force use was loaded on the ship DON JOSE, but would never reach Hong Kong as it was rerouted to Manila when hostilities commenced.

On arrival, all troops were quartered at Nanking Barracks, Sham Shui Po Camp, in Kowloon.

Battle Information

We do not have specific battle information for this soldier in our online database. For a detailed description of the battle from a Canadian perspective, visit Canadian Participation in the Defense of Hong Kong (published by the Historical Section, Canadian Military Headquarters).

Wounded Information

Date Wounded Wound Description References

Hospital Information

No record of hospital visits found.

POW Camps

Camp ID Camp Name Location Company Type of Work Reference Arrival Date Departure Date
HK-NP-01North PointNorth Point, Hong Kong Island1341 Dec 2041 Dec 22
HK-SA-01ShamshuipoKowloon, Hong KongCapture42 Jan 22
HK-NP-02North PointNorth Point, Hong Kong Island3342 Jan 2242 Sep 26
HK-SA-02ShamshuipoKowloon, Hong Kong42 Sep 26 43 Aug 15
JP-To-5B Niigata-RinkoNiigata-ken, Nakakambara-gun, Ogata-mura, JapanMarutsu, Rinko Coal, ShintetsuStevedore labor at port of Niigata (Marutsu), primarily foodstuffs; mining coal (Rinko Coal ) and labor at a foundry (Shintetsu)3, 6, 3443 Sep 0244 Jan 01

Transport to Japan

Draft Number Name of Ship Departure Date Arrival Date Arrival Port Comments Reference
XD4BManryu Maru43 Aug 1543 Sep 01Osaka, JapanBrief stopover in Taihoku (Taipei), Formosa (Taiwan); then 2 day stopover at northern point for stool testsTony Banham

Commemorative Feature

A map detailing the location of this feature can be found in this soldier's vault. (See Vault explanation below in the Links and Other Resources block) .

Site Description Location Province Map Reference Lat/Long Date
Furey Islandin the Winnipeg River, Pinawa, ManitobaManitoba52 L/0450 08' 24"; 95 53' 05"1973

Other Military Service

No related information found. Please submit documents to us using the contact link at the top of this page.

Death and Cemetery Information

Date of Death (y-m-d) Cause of Death Death Class Death Ref
1944-01-01Accidentially killed while prisoner of war; Multiple injuriesDied while POW
Cemetery LocationCemeteryGrave NumberGravestone Marker
Jido-Yuenchi-Dori Hodogaya JapanYokohama War CemeteryCdn. Sec. A. B. 8.NA

Gravestone Image

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Obituary / Life Story

HUT COLLAPSE Niigata Camp 5B

On 24 December 1943 the POWs moved to the permanent location officially known as Niigata Camp 5B. They stayed less than a month; the new camp apparently had been built hurriedly, perhaps on the principle that it was only for prisoners. During the night of 31 December 1943-1 January 1944, one of the buildings collapsed while about 150 men were sleeping inside. Eight men were killed and many more injured. Joseph FUREY was one of the 8 killed.

The accident in the “permanent” camp at Niigata was catastrophic to the morale of men who had already suffered much. The hut was built on sandy ground and no nails had been used—it was pegged. The main beam down the centre of the building was an eighteen-inch log supported by six-inch logs. “That December there was an abnormal amount of snow. If the buildings had been constructed properly it would not have collapsed.” On the effect of snowfall, opinion differs. The British medical officer, Maj. Stewart, testified at a war crimes trial that weather conditions were not extreme: winds were not blowing strongly nor was snow falling the night of the accident, though it did snow later in the day on 1 January. In a letter to the author, 50 years later, Stewart commented that the building had been supported by outside struts. Some of these had been removed, in order to permit the passage of the benjo carts removing excrement. The building was thus weakened, leading to the tragic accident.5° A cynic might suggest that dysentery and diarrhea caused the collapse.

Dr. Fujii was sent from Tokyo to investigate. He arrived on 2 January 1944, bringing Dr. E.S. Kagy an American POW surgeon, and Shaw (a medical NCO) from Omori Main Camp, as well as medicines, bandages, gauze, and surgical instruments. They found that eight men had died and 20 were injured, five or six very seriously.

After arriving at the camp they helped the POW medical staff treat the injured prisoners. Five or six men had fractures of ribs or pelvis:

“I took them to Shintetsu Clinic and had them x-rayed. After x-ray was taken it was shown to Doctor Kagy and it was discovered two or three men had fractures. I requested Captain Yoshida, the Camp Commandant, to have them hospitalized at the Shintetsu Clinic Hospital and they were hospitalized. Doctor Kagy was left there to treat them. I stayed there for four or five days and then returned to the Omori Main Camp. Doctor Kagy and Shaw stayed there for about one month to treat them.” { NARA, RG 153, File 35-997, Trial of Med. 2/Lt. Fujii Hiroshi, Testimony of Accused, 575}.

After the accident, some of the severely injured Canadians were moved to another place for treatment. Ken Cambon, a volunteer orderly, accompanied them: “four of the chaps with pelvic injuries were moved to a small cottage hospital in the city. I was lucky enough to go along with them to care for their needs.” In this way Cambon had a temporary reprieve from the inadequate food and housing and from the constant threat of brutality by certain of the guards at Camp 5B.

One consequence of this disaster was that, on 18 January 1944, the camp was divided. One group of men, those who had been in the Shintetsu gang that worked at the steel mill, moved to a separate camp nearer the mill, designated Camp 15D briefly, then 15B. Although the POWs were told that the separation of the Shintetsu group was to be temporary, in fact that group never returned to Niigata Camp 5B.

Above taken from Long Night’s Journey into Day- by Charles G. Roland, MD. Chapter 8. Starting Page 234}

H6754 Sgt George McCarthy gave details regarding the collapse of the hut in his Liberation Questionnaire. Sgt. McCarthy was the camp 'carpenter'. His details - "shortly before Christmas 1943 I was moved to Camp 5B. All the buildings at 5B had been recently constructed with the exception of one or two. While I was at 5B, one of these new buildings collapsed, killing eight Canadian prisoners and injuring several others at New Year's, 1944. The building that collapsed was the only building in Camp 5B which had been built without side braces to strengthen the walls. I do not know why this building did not have side braces but I believe that it must have been due to the negligence of the contractor who constructed the building.

The Mansell report says "Men who died 1 Jan 1944 were killed in collapse of barracks from snow load".

Links and Other Resources

There may be more information on this individual available elsewhere on our web sites - please use the search tool found in the upper right corner of this page to view sources.

Facebook has proven to be a valuable resource in the documentation of 'C' Force members. The following link will take you to any available search results for this soldier based on his regimental number. Note: results may be contained within another related record. Facebook Search Results

Related documentation for information published in this report, such as birth information, discharge papers, press clippings and census documents may be available via shared resources in our HKVCA Vault. It is organized with folders named using regimental numbers. Use the first letter of the individual's service number to choose the correct folder, then scroll to the specific sub-folder displaying the service number of your interest.

General Comments

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Son of James Furey and Catherine Pendergast, of Carberry, Manitoba. James served in the British Army. Brother of Lance Corporal Patrick Furey, regimental number H-17773, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, R.C.I.C., killed in action in Italy on December 12th, 1943, Private Joseph Furey, regimental number H-6385, Winnipeg Grenadiers, prisoner of war in Hong Kong, Private John Furey, serving with the British Army in Europe, and Airman Michael Furey, Royal Canadian Air Force. The latter three survived the war. Served in Manitoba, Jamaica with Y Force, Hong Kong with C Force, POW in Japan. He had 1,662 days of service, including 891 overseas.
To commemorate his sacrifice, the Manitoba government named Furey Island located on the Winnipeg River in his honor in 1973.
Citation(s): 1939-1945 Star, Pacific Star, War Medal 1939-1945, Canadian Volunteer Service Medal and Clasp.
Canadian Virtual War Memorial

End of Report.

Report generated: 27 May 2024.

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Additional Notes

(These will not be visible on the printed copy)

  1. Service numbers for officers are locally generated for reporting only. During World War II officers were not allocated service numbers until 1945.
  2. 'C' Force soldiers who died overseas are memorialized in the Books of Remembrance and the Canadian Virtual War Memorial, both sponsored by Veterans Affairs Canada. Please use the search utility at VAC to assist you.
  3. Some birthdates and deathdates display as follows: 1918-00-00. In general, this indicates that we know the year but not the month or day.
  4. Our POW camp links along with our References link (near the bottom of the 'C' Force home page) are designed to give you a starting point for your research. There were many camps with many name changes. The best resource for all POW camps in Japan is the Roger Mansell Center for Research site.
  5. In most cases the rank displayed was the rank held before hostilities. Some veterans were promoted at some point prior to eventual post-war release from the army back in Canada. When notified of these changes we'll update the individual's record.
  6. Images displayed on the web page are small, but in many cases the actual image is larger. Hover over any image and you will see a popup if a larger version is available. You can also right-click on some images and select the option to view the image separately. Not all images have larger versions. Contact us to confirm whether a large copy of an image in which you are interested exists.
  7. In some cases the References displayed as part of this report generate questions because there is no indication of their meaning. They were inherited with the original database, and currently we do not know what the source is. We hope to solve this problem in future.
  8. We have done our best to avoid errors and omissions, but if you find any issues with this report, either in accuracy, completeness or layout, please contact us using the link at the top of this page.
  9. Photos are welcome! If a photo exists for a 'C' Force member that we have not included, or if you have a higher quality copy, please let us know by using the Contact Us link at the top of this page. We will then reply, providing instructions on submitting it.