Hell Ship: Brazil Maru

Brazil Maru
14 January 1944 – 23 January 1945

Brazil Maru was a Japanese cargo ship requisitioned by the Imperial Japanese Navy during World War II as a troop transport and prisoner of war (POW) transport ship.

Japanese POW transport ships are usually referred to as hell ships, due to the notoriously bad conditions aboard and the many deaths that occurred on the ships. The Japanese did not mark their prisoner transports, leading to numerous casualties from friendly fire attacks.[2]

On December 27, 1944 Brazil Maru, along with Enoura Maru, were enlisted to transport the survivors from such an attack, by American forces on Oryoku Maru in Subic Bay. Although both ships had been hauling livestock, no attempt had been made to clean out the manure prior to the boarding of the prisoners, nor was any food for the prisoners loaded.[3] They docked at Takao (now Kaohsiung) in Japanese Formosa on New Year’s Day 1945. Enoura Maru was bombed during an American air raid on Takao on January 9, and the surviving prisoners were loaded onto Brazil Maru. It departed on January 14 bound for Moji, where it arrived on January 29. An estimated 500 prisoners died aboard Brazil Maru during the voyage from Takao to Moji, although sources vary.[3]


Beecher, Lt. Col. Curtis T.

Lt. Col. Curtis Thurston Beecher was born on October 28, 1897, in Chicago, Illinois, to Bryant L. Beecher and Grace Thurston-Beecher. His father worked in the composing room for the Chicago Daily News. With his five sisters, he was raised

Read More »

Bertrand, 2nd Lt. Donald R.

2nd Lt. Donald Ray Bertrand was born in Roswell, New Mexico, on August 8, 1919. When he was two, his parents, Thomas Bertrand and Mary Pope-Bertrand, moved their family first to Estherville, Iowa, and later to Maywood, Illinois. In Maywood,

Read More »

Black, 2nd Lt. Harry B.

2nd Lt. Harry Burton Black was born to Harry S. Black and Alta Drain-Black on June 10, 1917, in Oregon, and with his brother, he was raised in Carlton, Oregon, and at 620 Southeast Douglas Avenue in Roseburg, Oregon. His

Read More »

Boehm, Pvt. Robert E.

Pvt. Robert Edward Boehm was born on November 25, 1921, to Edward H. Boehm and Margaret Mary Tilton-Boehm, and was the couple’s only child. He was raised at 113 North Walnut Street in Janesville, Wisconsin, and attended local schools. At

Read More »

Burholt, Capt. Arthur V.

Capt. Arthur Vincent Burholt was the son of Judson Burholt and Alice E. Conley-Burholt and was born on September 16, 1908, in Columbus, Ohio. He was the oldest of the couple’s three sons. Sometime during this period, the family moved

Read More »

Cockrum, 1st Lt. William L.

What is known about 1st Lt. William Lucas Cockrum is that he was born on October 25, 1910, and was the youngest of two sons of William Monroe Cockrum and Mary Jackson-Cockrum. As a child, he lived in Brown, Arkansas.

Read More »

Collins, Capt. Harold W.

Capt. Harold Walden Collins was born on April 24, 1915, to Charles R. Collins and Elizabeth Burget-Collins. With his two sisters and two brothers, he grew up in Lacarne, Ohio. Until the eleventh grade, he went to school in both

Read More »

Coulter, Pvt. Harley W.

Pvt. Harley Woodrow Coulter was the son of Mack and Ora Coulter. He was born on December 23, 1919, in Dover, Tennessee, and had five sisters and two brothers. Harley attended Dover Schools until the age of sixteen, when he

Read More »

Crandall, 2nd Lt. Ralph E.

2nd Lt. Ralph Eugene Crandall was born on June 8, 1904, in Kansas to Albert J. Crandall and Phebe V. Peck-Crandall. With his two sisters, he lived at 810 South 11th Street in Saint Joseph, Missouri. He attended Central High

Read More »

Gill, PFC Robert G. Jr.

PFC Robert Gemmell Gill Jr. was the son of Olive Fishell-Gill and Robert G. Gill Sr. and was born on July 17, 1913, in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. He and his sister grew up at 109 West Third Steet in Greensburg and

Read More »

Gober, Cpl. George W.

Cpl. George William Gober was born on May 5, 1916, in Renfro, Mississippi to Joseph E. Gober and Willie Gee Nash-Gober. The couple had five other sons and four daughters. At some point, George moved to Powell County, Montana, where

Read More »

Goodpaster, PFC Roy E.

PFC Roy Edward Goodpaster was born January 4, 1920, in Burnam, Madison County, Kentucky, to Roy E. Goodpaster and Nora Young-Goodpaster. With his three sisters, he was raised on West Broadway Street in Harrodsburg, Kentucky. The family’s home was between

Read More »