October 28, 2004


At Los Banos-----Herb Shaw (1st engineer) Bill Mitchell (c/m) from S.S. Capillo developed, processed and sold fresh coconut oil in camp. After the powers that be determined that part of our process made a very nutritious coconut milk, it was presented to Japs and material for making milk including 300/500 coconuts daily. A New Zealand retired sea captain "Cap Williams" was in complete charge.

The coconut milk detail consisted of up to 50 coconuts. Armstrong Graters, Herb and I could split 300/500 coconuts perfectly in half in 30/40 minutes, discarding the bum nuts (which Herb and I were allowed to keep) 3 men on the press and I was the person who would mix the slurry. Herb would handle the piston and distribute the collected "milk" to the pastupisers. Then there were the firemen and pasteurize "Cap" who kept the crew in line and regaled with storys of sailing in the south pacific in the early 1900's, all in his New Zealand accent.

The only recorded mention of the coconut milk detail as I recall was from one of the U.S. Navy nurses we were privileged to have in camp (12) from her memoirs---starvation began in ernest with the shutting down of the coconut milk detail.

Maybe others can remember that detail--------let me know.


Bill Mitchell
E-mail billmitchell@jps.net

And here's more from Bill....
June 6, 2005

Tom Moore,

Thanks for the information on the Mydans. I knew that Carl had passed away but was under the impression that Shelley was still alive. I never met Shelley in camp, but Carl was an occasional aquaintance. As I recall Carl had a way of looking at you. It would seem he was scowling but then he would break into the biggest freindliest smile and you knew you were welcome. Also at that time he possesed a thick head of black hair.

Time passes for us all,,,,, what is left of my hair has long been white. My barber loves to see me come in --- five minutes and he says --- next! Ce le gie?


If you would like to share any information about William Mitchell
or would like to be added to the POW/Internee e-mail distribution list,
please let me, Tom Moore, know.

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