Osaka Castle- Dog Tags found

Discussion in 'Prisoners of War' started by Emma Squibb, Jan 10, 2018.

  1. Emma Squibb

    Emma Squibb Well-Known Member


    I saw an article on the cofepow website regarding 106 dog tags being found near/under Osaka castle by a Japanese journalist making a documentary. Does anyone have any further information on this or where these dog tags may be now? One of them was my great Grandads and myself and especially my Nan (he was her Dad) would love to be able to find these.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated. I have contacted the cofepow website to see if they have any further info.

    Many thanks


    Osaka Castle | COFEPOW
  2. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    Emma drop them an email
    Tricky Dicky likes this.
  3. Emma Squibb

    Emma Squibb Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the reply, Emailed them today, just covering all bases lol :)
  4. Emma Squibb

    Emma Squibb Well-Known Member

    I guess you mean the website who published the article? I’ve emailed them although was thinking of trying to contact Osaka castle somehow although not sure they would know...although anything’s worth a shot I guess
  5. Mr Jinks

    Mr Jinks Bit of a Cad

    Emma I did an internet search yesterday and found two similar appeals from relatives unfortunately they do not appear to have received any pointers;-
    John D asks on
    Vicki A asks on Flexible Support Service (closed site)

    Clives suggestion on emailing the castle itself may yeald rewards as I believe the Castle has a museum ;-
    Love the osaka castle museum - Osaka Castle, Osaka Traveller Reviews - TripAdvisor

    Where better to display artifacts found on site,although morally should those tags not of been returned to the UK Government or with them being casualty linked the CWGC ?

    Just a thought?

    Tricky Dicky likes this.
  6. Emma Squibb

    Emma Squibb Well-Known Member

    Thanks, I agree that’s probably the first place I should ask.
    I’ll see if I can get into contact with them, hopefully they can speak English! That’s the worrying thing, if I manage to find them but then managing to get them off whoever has them!
  7. Emma Squibb

    Emma Squibb Well-Known Member

    The only contact I can find is a phone number, no email :-(
  8. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    Interesting. I see the Osaka Castle list includes all those who died at Ube. If I can find time I may try to establish which camps the others came from.
    Emma Squibb likes this.
  9. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    Emma, if you're still stuck you could try email or phone to the Japanese Embassy in London. They should at least be able to point you in the right direction. I see that near to the Osaka Castle Museum is the Osaka Museum of History. Good luck.
  10. Emma Squibb

    Emma Squibb Well-Known Member

    Thanks I didn’t even think of them. This group is great!
    I’m on it :)
  11. Emma Squibb

    Emma Squibb Well-Known Member

    My husband also suggested the British Embassy in Japan so will drop them an email too
  12. Emma Squibb

    Emma Squibb Well-Known Member

    I’ve had a reply from the Secretary General for pow research in Japan. I’ll post her reply below. It appears they are not actual dog tags as they have the date he died engraved on them. But details below. Can’t believe the depth of the email she’s sent me and the pics so quickly!

    Dear Ms. Squibb,

    My name is Taeko Sasamto (Ms). I’m secretary-general of POW Research Network Japan. A staff of the British Embassy in Tokyo fowarded your e-mail to me and Yoshiko Tamura in the same organization.

    As we were involved in the TV documentary regarding the 105 “dog tags” unearthed near the Osaka Castle, we have some information and materials about those “dog tags” and where your great grandfather, Mr. William Ernest Lambourne had died.

    Those “dog tags” were unearthed by the Osaka Center for Cultural Heritage in December 1993. At the excavation site, American occupation forces had stationed between 1945 to 1948. But no one knew what those metal pieces were at that time.
    Several years later, Mr. Eura, a researcher of the center started to research and found that the metal pieces related to British POWs who had died in Japan, as those men, whose names were engraved on the metal pieces, were buried in the Commonwealth War Cemetery in Yokohama.
    However, those metal pieces were not real dog tags, because the date of their death were engraved on them. We guessed that those metal pieces had been made by the American occupation forces in order to identify the ashes of the POWs which were concentrated to Osaka. And when they evacuated in 1948, they abandoned them in the earth.

    After that, we began to research where and how the POWs on the metal pieces had died, and found that they had died at Hiroshima No.4 (Mukaishima), No.5 (Innoshima), No.6 (Omine), No.7 (Okinoyama), No.8 (Motoyama), No.9 (Ohama) and No.8-D (Higashi-Misome) POW camps.

    Now, your great grandfather died from beri-beri on 8th July 1943 at Hiroshima No.7 Branch Camp (Okinoyama POW Camp) . Please visit the following pages of our website.
    <Deceased list by camp> POW Research Network Japan | Researches | List of Deceased POWs | List by Camp
    <Commonwealth War Cemetery>
    POW Research Network Japan | Researchess | List of Deceased POWs | Commonwealth War Cemetery in Yokohama

    And I’m attaching some photos etc.
    1) Metal pieces unearthed near the Osaka Castle (These are kept at Osaka Center for CulturalHeritage)
    2) Lambourne’s “dog tag” (This seat was made byMr. Eura)
    3) Excavation site
    4) The site of Okinoyama camp (Latitudes is33°56’26.883”N, 131°13’49.150”E)

    I have some documents about the condition of Okinoyama camp. If you need them, I’ll send you in the next email.

    Best wishes,

    Taeko Sasamoto

    Attached Files:

    Enigma1003 likes this.
  13. Emma Squibb

    Emma Squibb Well-Known Member

    Do you think obtaining this tag is just going to be impossible. I know it’s not his actual dog tag he would have worn but I think it would still be something nice to have. She states they are in the Osaka centre for cultural heritage.
    I wonder where his actual dog tags are there then, I guess they could be buried with him
  14. Emma Squibb

    Emma Squibb Well-Known Member

  15. andy007

    andy007 Senior Member

    Give Google translate a go Emma. You might need to blindly click some of the buttons that don't translate, but it seems to translate most of the text.
  16. Emma Squibb

    Emma Squibb Well-Known Member

    Thankfully I didn’t need to, after speaking to the British Embassy in Japan a lady from the pow research in Japan has spoken to them for me, awaiting the outcome :)
    andy007 likes this.
  17. Anna Hopkins

    Anna Hopkins New Member

    Well done on finding out about the dog tags. My grandfather was Kenneth Frank Cope and he was a pilot who was captured in Java. He is in on the list. He died as a POW and was buried in Yokohama cemetery, only a few months before the war ended. I saw this article a few years ago but couldn’t get any information about the tags, so the fact that you have found out so much is amazing. I really hope we can get the metal tags, it is such a story! Have you had any success?
  18. Emma Squibb

    Emma Squibb Well-Known Member

    Hi Anna,

    I’ve been trying hard to get hold of them, speaking with the British Embassy in Japan. They were very helpful but unfortunately it isn’t possible to get them. Basically they are held at The Osaka centre for Cultural Heritage and the main man who works there was happy for us to have 1 of 2 of the tags (there are 2 per person) but because the Osaka Prefecture are the ones who ordered the work which resulted in the tags being found they have the final say and they are saying no :( They have sent me a photo of my GG’s tag.
    I will post below the last reply I received from the Embassy.

    Our Chief of Staff called Mr Eura (Osaka Centre for Cultural Heritage) and Ms Nakanishi (Cultural Properties Protection Div, Osaka Prefectural Govt) with regard to the issue that Sasamoto-san (POW Network) has been supporting last Friday. Both were very helpful individuals and have explained the current situation in details. Summary of the conversation below:

    - The identification tags in question are currently held by the Osaka Centre for Cultural Heritage and stored as a historical artefact. The ownership of the items is with the Osaka Prefectural Government as these were discovered during construction work ordered by them (contracted out to the Osaka Centre of Cultural Heritage).

    - Japanese law mandates that anything found in such excavations be treated as ‘lost property’ (the same way personal belongings would be if found on the street). Ownership transfers to the person/entity that found the item (in this case the Osaka Prefectural Government, as the construction was originally contracted out by them and paid for by public funds) after 6 months pass without anyone making a claim of ownership. The ownership of the ID tags have transferred to the Osaka Prefectural Govt in 1994.

    - Given the current status of public ownership (established as above) and the fact that the items are kept as historical artefacts, the Osaka Prefectural Government are mandated to preserve the items appropriately – hence are unable to dispense the items legally.

    - There may be a way to obtain the ID tags on loan, but this would require the receiving entity to file a request to the Osaka Prefectural Government – the request will need to satisfy conditions on preservation of the artefact and demonstrate that the item is required on cultural grounds (ie another museum wanting the items for an exhibition etc). This would not usually be granted for individuals – rather it is for organisations/museums.
    bamboo43 and Tricky Dicky like this.
  19. KevinBattle

    KevinBattle Senior Member

    Considering the generally abysmal maltreatment of Allied PoW's you'd have thought there wouldn't be any reason for them to be reminded of their atrocities in WW2....
    As regards the "Lost Property" aspect if not claimed after 6 months, pretty hard for a dead man to do....
    I think there is a good case to make that as there are 2 tags per person, returning one to the family would not compromise the "integrity" of these "historical artefacts".... but then I don't pretend to understand the Japanese mind on this.
    Emma Squibb likes this.
  20. Anna Hopkins

    Anna Hopkins New Member

    Hi Emma,

    Many thanks for your quick reply. It is such a shame that we are unable to get hold of the dog tags. Kenneth was in Hiroshima Camp 4 in Mukaishima. In 2005 I was living in Germany and I came across a newspaper article in the Telegraph about the POW research network and sent it to my mum. She then got in touch with them and flew to Japan. They were so helpful and showed mum the grave in Yokohama. They also put mum in touch with a Mr John Ovens who at the time was still alive and living in Bristol. He had been in the camp at the same time as Kenneth and had written a diary which he gave mum a copy of. There is also a link to his story

    BBC - WW2 People's War - Experiences As A Japanese Prisoner-of-War 1941 - 1945

    Which camp was your GG in? I might write to the POW research team, I still have a couple of email addresses. Do you think if we can find a few people and band together they might give us the piece of history we are after? Perhaps you can give me the details of the person who has taken the photo of the dog tag or did that come from POW research team? I would love to have a picture of Kenneth Cope's metal tag.

    Kevin, I quite agree with you - it would be lovely if they could give the one dog tag to us.

    Thanks all for your responses. I do have a couple of photos of Kenneth, so I will try and upload them to the site.

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