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PoW jargon help

Discussion in 'Land Warfare in the Pacific' started by greglewis, Nov 27, 2009.

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  1. greglewis

    greglewis Member

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    Hi all

    I'm just wondering if anyone could provide help with the following phrases used in a secret diary kept by a British prisoner of the Japanese:

    1) Has anyone heard of a game, most probably a card game, called "sapper row"?

    2) Does anyone know what the inoculation referred to as being "Given the glass rod" entailed and what was it for? It appears to have been given in the Pacific by the Japanese to prisoners about to be transported from Java to Japan.

    3) A code used in the diary is "ice cream", as in the phrase, "Ice cream not good". I'm pretty sure it refers to "news" heard on an illicit radio set in the PoW camp, but I'm just wondering if anyone has come across this term.

    Thanks in advance
    Greg
     
  2. Billy the Kid

    Billy the Kid Member

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  3. greglewis

    greglewis Member

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    Thanks for that, Billy.
     
  4. greglewis

    greglewis Member

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    Does anyone know of the game "Sapper Row"?
     
  5. DelBoy

    DelBoy Member

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    Not heard of "Sapper Row" I'm afraid.

    I have read of secret radios being called "The Ice Box" and therefore the news from them being called "Ice Cream". So as to stop english speaking guards from picking up the real meaning.
     
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  6. Spaniard

    Spaniard New Member

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  7. Icare9

    Icare9 Member

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    Aargh!! Never mind the glass rod, the hammer alone does enough for me!!!
     
  8. DelBoy

    DelBoy Member

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    Every mention I've read in accounts by FEPOW's of a glass rod was when they were checking for blood in the mens faeces.
     
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  9. greglewis

    greglewis Member

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    DelBoy
    Thanks for the info on the Ice Box/Ice Cream. That certainly sounds credible. Do you know of any books where this is referenced?
    Thanks
    Greg
     
  10. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    It would be helpful if the WikiAnswer gave a little more than just "the Japanese did it".

    The rod-in-rod torture is described in The Bridge at Andau, James Michener's account of the 1956 Hungarian revolt against the Communist regime.
     
  11. Lesleym

    Lesleym Member

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    If the glass rod had blood or mucus on it [after insertion in the anus], then POW would be suffering from the onset of Dysentry. I can't remember where I read this, but when I find out I will let you know.
     
  12. greglewis

    greglewis Member

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    Thanks both
     
  13. Spartanroller

    Spartanroller Ace

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    as an (albeit more recent) ex Sapper, the game / card game mentioned doesn't ring any bells - it of course may have been named that by anyone and nothing to do with the Sappers themselves. There is apparently a version of solitaire called 'Engineer' which might be connected but i cant find any more info - conceivably a solitaire type card game or a ball under the cups type game could be what you're looking for.

    really reaching could it be a corruption of the japanese card game/suit sakura? or a game named after Sapporo the city - possibly only japanese cards were easily available at certain times although seems unlikely the POWs would play Japanese games?

    Sorry nothing concrete :)
     
  14. greglewis

    greglewis Member

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    Hiya Spartanroller
    Thanks very much for those suggestions. I'll look again at the entries in the diaries and see if they fit.
    I think I may have assumed it was a card game - perhaps a cups type game might make sense.
    Thanks again
    Greg
     
  15. DelBoy

    DelBoy Member

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    Greg,

    I read about the Ice Box & Ice /cream reference in "Never Forget, Nor Forgive" by George Cooper.

    I'll have a dig through my books for examples of the glass rod treatment. There was a similar check done with "Jap Happys" when glass tubes weren't available. Usually performed before a sea trip.

    Cheers,
    Derek.
     
  16. Spartanroller

    Spartanroller Ace

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    A dictionary of slang and ... - Google Books

    This book link to a preview of a dictionary of slang gives a good description of a lot of far east POW slang (page 1391), and a radio is described as a canary or dicky-bird, with news being birdsong. couldn't find any reference to ice cream or the others you mentioned, although i can't be certain I got through all the other slang categories in the book, and the letters I and G are not unfortunately part of the preview.

    Hope this is interesting at least, even if not helpful :)

    Edit; also found this great story of the building of a radio in a camp, with no references to the phrase, which makes the radio reference perhaps very local to one camp, perhaps an American POW rather than a Brit or Aussie thing? It's a good story anyway.

    http://www.zerobeat.net/qrp/powradio.html
     
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  17. DelBoy

    DelBoy Member

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  18. greglewis

    greglewis Member

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    Hiya Nigel
    That's very helpful - thanks very much
    Greg
     
  19. greglewis

    greglewis Member

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  20. Spartanroller

    Spartanroller Ace

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    You're welcome :) Did you come up with any other possible leads on the terms? I hope we're going to have the chance to read more from this diary at some point? Sounds interesting.
     

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