Sgt. Shelby Gerald Embry was born on October 25, 1920, in Brooklyn, Butler County, Kentucky, to James O. and Lillie L. Embry. He had four sisters and a brother. By 1930, he was living in at the Christian Church Widows and Orphans’ Home in Louisville, Kentucky, with his sister, and enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1937 and was discharged. When Selective Service Registration became law on October 16, 1940, he registered for the draft, named his sister, Mrs. William H. Schultz, as his contact person, gave his residence as 2118 Howard, Louisville, which was his sister’s address, and stated he was unemployed.
In 1941, Shelby was in the U.S. Army and training at Fort Knox, Kentucky, as a member of the 19th Ordnance Battalion. During August 1941, while taking part in maneuvers in Arkansas, A Company of the battalion was recalled to Ft. Knox. The company was separated from the battalion and inactivated. On August 17, it was activated as the 17th Ordnance Company.
The company received orders for duty in the Philippines because of an event that happened during the summer. A squadron of American fighters was flying over Lingayen Gulf when one of the pilots, whose plane was at a lower altitude, noticed something odd. He took his plane down and identified a flagged buoy in the water and saw another in the distance. He came upon more buoys that lined up, in a straight line for 30 miles to the northwest, in the direction of a Japanese occupied island – hundreds of miles away – that had a large radio transmitter on it. The squadron continued its flight plan and flew south to Mariveles before returning to Clark Field. By the time the planes landed that evening, it was too late to do anything.
The next morning, another squadron was sent to the area and found that the buoys had been picked up by a fishing boat which was seen making its way toward shore. Since communication between and Air Corps and Navy was poor, the boat was not intercepted. It was at that time the decision was made to build up the American military presence in the Philippines.
In the late summer, 17th Ordnance was sent to San Francisco by train. It appears that they may have traveled west over several train lines because on the trains with them were on the M3 tanks assigned to the 194th Tank Battalion. They arrived in San Francisco on September 5 and the company spent the next three days removing the turrets, spraying the serial numbers of the tanks on their turrets so that they would be reattached to the same tanks, and putting cosmoline on guns to prevent them from rusting.
They were ferried to Ft. MacDowell on Angel Island on the U.S.A.T. General Frank M. Coxe. The members of the company were given physicals and inoculated by the company’s medical detachment. They boarded the S.S. President Calvin Coolidge and the ship sailed on Monday, September 8, at 9:00 P.M. The ship arrived Saturday, September 13th at 7:00 A.M. and the men were allowed ashore but had to return to the ship before it sailed at 5:00 P.M. The ship took a southerly route and was joined by the light cruiser, U.S.S. Astoria, an unknown destroyer, and, the U.S.S. Guadalupe, a fleet replenishment oiler. On several occasions, smoke was seen on the horizon and the Astoria took off to intercept the unknown ship. Each time the ship was from a neutral country.
On the morning of September 26 at 7:00 A.M., the ship entered Manila Bay. The soldiers disembarked at 3:00 P.M. later that day and were taken by buses to Ft. Stotsenburg. 17th Ordnance, with the maintenance section of the 194th Tank Battalion, remained behind at the pier to unload the tanks of the 194th.
At the fort, they were greeted by Gen Edward P. King who told them that he had only learned of their arrival days earlier. They lived in tents at the fort until their barracks were completed. Their first time in the tents it rained so badly that the tents flooded. On November 15, they moved into their barracks.
The barracks’ outside walls were opened and screened from the floors to three feet up the wall. Above that, there was woven bamboo. This design allowed air to pass through the barracks. Sanitation facilities appeared to have been limited and a lucky man was one who was able to wash by a faucet with running water.
The soldiers’ day started at 5:15 with reveille. After washing, breakfast was at 6:00 A.M. The soldiers worked from 7:00 A.M. to 11:30 A.M. Lunch was at noon. They went back to work at 1:30 P.M. and worked until 2:30 P.M. The shorter afternoon work period was based on the belief that it was too hot to work. According to members of the battalion the term “recreation in the motor pool” meant they actually worked until 4:30 in the afternoon. At 5:10, they ate dinner and were free afterward.
For recreation, the soldiers spent their free time bowling or going to the movies on the base. They also played horseshoes, softball, badminton, or threw footballs around during their free time. On Wednesday afternoons, they went swimming.
Off the base, the soldiers went to Mt. Aarayat National Park and swam in the swimming pool there that was filled with mountain water. Men were given the opportunity to be allowed to go to Manila in small groups. They also went to canoeing at Pagsanjan Falls in their swimsuits and described the country was described as being beautiful.
At Ft. Stotsenburg, the soldiers were expected to wear their dress uniforms. Since working on the tanks was a dirty job, the battalion members wore fatigues to do the work on the tanks. When they were discovered working in their fatigues, the soldiers were reprimanded for not wearing dress uniforms while working. The decision was made by Major Ernest Miller to continue wearing fatigues in their barracks area to do their work but if the soldiers left the battalion’s area, they were expected to wear dress uniforms. This included going to the PX.
On December 8, 1941, he lived the bombing of Clark Field. The soldiers were putting down stone for sidewalks when their commanding officer, Major Richard Kadel, told them of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The company moved to a bamboo thicket and set up its trucks. Later that morning the alert was canceled and the company was ordered back to Clark Field. The cooks had just finished preparing lunch so they remained in the thicket. While they were eating lunch, at 12:45 the Japanese bombed the airfield. The Zeros that followed strafed the airfield and banked and turned over the thicket to straf the airfield again. They were ordered not to fire because some of the machines they had to manufacture tank parts were the only ones in the Philippines.
The men set up their trucks and were eating lunch in the thicket when planes appeared over the airfield and began bombing. After the bombers were done, they were followed by fighters that strafed the airfield. After attacking, the planes would turn to continue the attack. As it turned out, the planes made their turns right over the thicket they were bivouacked in.
Although Shelby never took part in combat against the Japanese, he and the rest of 17th Ordnance had an almost impossible job of keeping the tanks of the tank group operating. At times this meant making their own replacement parts or scavenging parts from tanks that had been knocked out of action. They also set up fuel dumps for the tanks.
On Bataan, the company set up its headquarters in an empty ordnance depot which was surrounded by ammunition dumps. There they continued repairing damaged tanks and manufacturing tank parts.
The Japanese brought fresh troops to Bataan since the Americans and Filipinos with the help of tropical illnesses had fought the Japanese to a standstill. On April 3, the Japanese launched a major offensive. A large force of Japanese troops came over Mt. Samat and descended down the south face of the volcano. This attack wiped out two divisions of defenders and left a large area of the defensive line open to the Japanese. In an attempt to stop them, the tanks were sent into various sectors. It was also at this time that tanks became the favorite targets of Japanese planes and artillery.
It was the evening of April 8 that Gen. Edward P. King decided that further resistance was futile, since approximately 25% of his men were healthy enough to fight, and he estimated they would last one more day. In addition, he had over 6,000 troops who sick or wounded and 40,000 civilians who he feared would be massacred. His troops were on one-quarter rations, and even at that ration, he had two days of food left. He also believed his troops could fight for one more day.
At 6;30 P.M. order went out. “You will make plans, to be communicated to company commanders only, and be prepared to destroy within one hour after receipt by radio, or other means, of the word ‘CRASH’, all tanks and combat vehicles, arms, ammunition, gas, and radios: reserving sufficient trucks to close to rear echelons as soon as accomplished.”
17th Ordnance at 11:00 P.M. was given a half-hour to vacate the ordnance building before the ammunition dumps around it were blown up at 11:40 P.M. At 2:oo A.M. April 9, Gen. King sent a jeep under a white flag carrying Colonel Everett C. Williams, Col. James V. Collier, and Major Marshall Hurt to meet with the Japanese commander about terms of surrender. (The driver was from the tank group and the white flag was bedding from A Company.) Shortly after daylight Collier and Hunt returned with word of the appointment. It was at about 6:45 A.M. that tank battalion commanders received the order “crash.” The tank crews circled their tanks. Each tank fired an armor-piercing shell into the engine of the tank in front of it. They also opened the gasoline cocks inside the tank compartments and dropped hand grenades into the tanks. The company destroyed any equipment that would be useful to the Japanese.
As King left to negotiate the surrender, he went through the tank group and spoke to them. He told them he was going to get them the best deal he could get. He also said, “When you get home, don’t ever let anyone say to you, you surrendered. I was the one who surrendered.”
Gen. King with his two aides, Maj. Wade R. Cothran and Captain Achille C. Tisdelle Jr. got into a jeep carrying a large white flag. They were followed by another jeep – also flying another large white flag – with Col. Collier and Maj. Hurt in it. As the jeeps made their way north they were strafed and small bombs were dropped by a Japanese plane. The drivers of both jeeps and the jeeps were provided by the tank group and both men managed to avoid the bullets. The strafing ended when a Japanese reconnaissance plane ordered the fighter pilot to stop strafing.
About 10:00 A.M. the jeeps reached Lamao where they were received by a Japanese Major General who informed King that he reported his coming to negotiate a surrender and that an officer from Japanese command would arrive to do the negotiations. The Japanese officer also told him that his troops would no attack for thirty minutes while King decided what he would do.
After a half-hour, no Japanese officer had arrived from their headquarters and the Japanese attack had resumed. King sent Col. Collier and Maj. Hunt back to his command with instructions that any unit inline with the Japanese advance should fly white flags.
Shortly after this was done a Japanese colonel and interpreter arrived. King was told the officer was Homma’s Chief of Staff and he had come to discuss King’s surrender. King attempted to get insurances from the Japanese that his men would be treated as prisoners of war, but the Japanese officer – through his interpreter – accused him of declining to surrender unconditionally. At one point King stated he had enough trucks and gasoline to carry his troops out of Bataan. He was told that the Japanese would handle the movement of the prisoners. The two men talked back and forth until the colonel said through the interpreter, “The Imperial Japanese Army are not barbarians.” King found no choice but to accept him at his word.
On April 9, 1942, the members of the company, became POWs when Bataan was surrendered to the Japanese. They took part in the death march from Mariveles to San Fernando. At Cabcaben, the POWs were ordered to sit in front of Japanese artillery which was firing on Corregidor. When shells from Corregidor began to land among the POWs, he and the other men attempted to find cover. During the artillery exchange, all of the Japanese guns were knocked out.
At San Fernando, the POWs were packed into small wooden boxcars used to haul sugarcane. One hundred men were put into each car which was known as “forty or eights” since each one could hold forty men or eight horses. At Capas, the living POWs climbed out of the cars while the bodies of the dead fell to the ground.
Camp O’Donnell was an unfinished Filipino Army base that the Japanese put into use as a POW camp and believed the camp could hold 15,000 to 20,000 POWs. When they arrived at the camp, the POWs were searched and anyone found with Japanese money was separated from the other POWs and sent to the guardhouse. These POWs were accused of looting the bodies of dead Japanese soldiers. Over several days, gunshots were heard coming from southeast of the camp.
The Japanese also took away any extra clothing that the POWs carried with them and refused to return it. Since there was no water to wash their clothing, the POWs threw away soiled clothing. Many of the POWs in the hospital lay elbow to elbow on the floor and many had dysentery so the floor was covered in human feces which quickly got on the clothes of the sick. They were stripped of their clothing and lay naked on the floor. Since there were few medical tools, operations were performed with knives from mess kits. Only one medic – out of every six medics assigned to treat the sick – was healthy enough to perform his duties.
The camp hospital had no soap, water, or disinfectant. The medic staff improvised a solvent to clean the floor. When the ranking American doctor at the camp wrote a letter to the camp commandant, Capt. Yohio Tsuneyoshi, asking for medical supplies, he was told never to write another letter. He also said that the only things he wanted to know about the POWs were their names and serial numbers after they died.
A representative of the Philippine Red Cross told a Japanese lieutenant that they could provide a 150-bed hospital for the POWs. The lieutenant slapped him across the face. When the Catholic Archbishop of Manila sent a truckload of medical supplies to the camp, Tsuneyoshi refused to allow the truck into the camp. The Philippine Red Cross sent medical supplies to the camp the Japanese took 95% of the supplies for their own use. A second truck with medical supplies sent by the Red Cross was turned away at the gate.
In addition, water for cooking had to be carried three miles from a river to the camp, and mess kits could not be washed. The slit trenches in the camp were inadequate and were soon overflowing since most of the POWs had dysentery. The result was that flies were everywhere in the camp including the POW kitchens and in the food.
The POWs received three meals a day. For breakfast, they were fed a half cup of soupy rice and occasionally some type of coffee. Lunch each day was a half of a mess kit of steamed rice and a half of cup of sweet potato soup. They received the same meal for dinner. All meals were served outside regardless of the weather.
There was not enough housing for the POWs and most slept under buildings or on the ground. The barracks were designed for 40 men but those did sleep in one slept in a barracks it was with as many 80 to 120 men.
There was only one water faucet for the entire camp and men stood in line from 2½ to 8 hours waiting for a drink. The Japanese guard in charge of the spigot would turn it off, for no reason, and the next man in line would have to wait up to four hours for it to be turned on again. Water for cooking food had to be hauled three miles to the camp. Mess kits could not be cleaned. Post-war documents imply that the Japanese were never without water and withheld the water from the POWs. The situation improved when a second faucet was added.
Each morning, the POWs walked around the camp and collected the bodies of the dead and placed them under the hospital building. To clean the ground in an attempt to stop the spread of disease, the POWs moved the bodies to one area, scraped the ground, and put down lime to sterilize the ground. The bodies were to the cleaned area and they repeated the process in the area where the bodies had lain while the first area was cleaned. The bodies remained under the hospital for two or three days until they were moved to the cemetery in litters to be buried.
Work details were sent out on a daily basis. Each day, the American doctors gave a list of names to the Japanese of the POWs who were healthier enough to work. If the quota of POWs needed to work could not be met, the Japanese put those POWs who were sick but could walk, to work. The less sick from the hospital were required to dig latrines and were given a canteen of water that was expected to last three days. The death rate among the POWs reached 50 men dying a day. The POWs on the burial detail often had dysentery and/or malaria. The Japanese finally acknowledge that they had to do something, so the opened a new POW camp at Cabanatuan.
In May 1942, his family received this letter from the War Department.
“Dear Mrs. L. Embry:
“According to War Department records, you have been designated as the emergency addressee if Sergeant Shelby G. Embry, 06,664,606 , who, according to the latest information available, was serving in the Philippine Islands at the time of the final surrender.
“I deeply regret that it is impossible for me to give you more information than is contained in this letter. In the last days before the surrender of Bataan, there were casualties which were not reported to the War Department. Conceivably the same is true of the surrender of Corregidor and possibly other islands of the Philippines. The Japanese Government has indicated its intention of conforming to the terms of the Geneva Convention with respect to the interchange of information regarding prisoners of war. At some future date, this Government will receive through Geneva a list of persons who have been taken prisoners of war. Until that time the War Department cannot give you positive information.
“The War Department will consider the persons serving in the Philippine Islands as “missing in action” from the date of surrender of Corregidor, May 7, 1942, until definite information to the contrary is received. It is to be hoped that the Japanese Government will communicate a list of prisoners of war at an early date. At that time you will be notified by this office in the event that his name is contained in the list of prisoners of war. In the case of persons known to have been present in the Philippines and who are not reported to be prisoners of war by the Japanese Government, the War Department will continue to carry them as “missing in action” in the absence of information to the contrary, until twelve months have expired. At the expiration of twelve months and in the absence of other information the War Department is authorized to make a final determination.
“Recent legislation makes provision to continue the pay and allowances of persons carried in a “missing” status for a period not to exceed twelve months; to continue, for the duration of the war, the pay and allowances of persons known to have been captured by the enemy; to continue allotments made by missing personnel for a period of twelve months and allotments or increase allotments made by persons by the enemy during the time they are so held; to make new allotments or increase allotments to certain dependents defined in Public Law 490, 77th Congress. The latter dependents generally include the legal wife, dependent children under twenty-one years of age and dependent mother, or such dependents as having been designated in official records. Eligible dependents who can establish a need for financial assistance and are eligible to receive this assistance the amount allotted will be deducted from pay which would otherwise accrue to the credit of the missing individual.
“Very Truly yours
J. A. Ulio (signed)
The Adjutant General”
On June 1, 1942, the POWs formed detachments of 100 men each and were marched to Capas. There, the were put in steel boxcars with two Japanese guards. At Calumpit, the train was switched onto another line which took it to Cabanatuan. The POWs disembarked and were taken to a schoolyard where they were fed cooked rice and onion soup. From there, they were marched to Cabanatuan which had been the headquarters of the 91st Philippine Army Division.
Once in the camp, the POWs were allowed to run the camp. The Japanese only entered if they had an issue they wanted to deal with. Four POWs attempted to escape in early June and were caught. The men dug their own graves and stood in them facing a firing squad. After they had been shot, a Japanese officer took his pistol and fired one shot into each grave.
The POWs were sent out on work details to cut wood for the POW kitchens. While on these details they bought or were given medicine, food, and tobacco, which they somehow managed to get into the camp even though they were searched when they returned. Meals on a daily basis consisted of 16 ounces of cooked rice, 4 ounces of vegetable oil, and sweet potato or corn. It is known that while he was a POW in the camp, the Japanese organized a work detail to the Port Area of Manila.
On June 13, the Japanese selected 200 POWs for the work detail. The POWs were used as stevedores to load and unload ships. At first, the POWs were first housed in a warehouse which was poorly lit and ventilated. The bathroom and kitchen facilities were also poor. The Japanese finally housed the POWs in the Port Terminal Building across the street from Pier 7. Once this was done, more 200 more POWs were added to the detail in December. The POWs committed sabotage whenever it was possible.
In July 1942, the family received a second letter. The following is an excerpt from it.
“The last report of casualties received by the War Department from the Philippines arrived early in the morning of May 6. Through this date, Sgt. Shelby G. Embry had not been reported as a casualty. The War Department will consider the persons serving in the Philippine Islands as “missing in action” from the date of the surrender of Corregidor, May 7, until definite information to the contrary is received. “Efforts to secure prisoner of war lists from the Philippines have not been successful to this date due to the lack of communication and the fact that the Japanese Government has not yet given permission for the Swiss representative and the International Red Cross delegates to make visits to prisoner of war camps in the islands. When the lists of prisoners are received, we will clear the name of your son and send you any additional information that we may have.”
In March 1943, his name appeared on a list of men known to be Prisoners of the Japanese in the Philippines. His family received a message from the War Department.
REPORT JUST RECEIVED THROUGH THE INTERNATIONAL RED CROSS STATES THAT YOUR SON SERGEANT SHELBY G EMBRY IS A PRISONER OF WAR OF THE JAPANESE GOVERNMENT IN THE PHILIPPINE ISLANDS LETTER OF INFORMATION FOLLOWS FROM THE PROVOST
ULIO THE ADJUTANT GENERAL.
– Within days of receiving the first message, his wife received the following letter:
“The Provost Marshal General directs me to inform you that you may communicate with your son, postage free, by following the inclosed instructions:
“It is suggested that you address him as follows:
“Sgt. Shelby G. Embry, U.S. Army
Interned in the Philippine Islands
C/O Japanese Red Cross, Tokyo, Japan
Via New York, New York
“Packages cannot be sent to the Orient at this time. When transportation facilities are available a package permit will be issued you.
“Further information will be forwarded you as soon as it is received.
“Howard F. Bresee
“Chief Information Bureau
The detail was disbanded on July 15, 1944, and most of the POWs were boarded onto the Nissyo Maru the same day, Shelby was in the small detachment who remained behind at Manila and continued to work on the docks before he was sent to Bilibid Prison.
On August 25, 1944, Shelby’s name appeared on a list of POWs being transferred to Japan. The POWs were taken to Pier7 and boarded on the Noto Maru and spent two days in the hold. The ship sailed on August 27 and spent the night in Subic Bay. The next day, the 30th, the ship sailed for Takao, Formosa, arriving there on August 30. The same day it sailed for Keelung, Formosa, again arriving the same day. After being joined by other ships, it arrived in Japan on September 4. When the Japanese opened the hatch to the hold, they shouted that the bodies of the dead should be passed above the POWs heads so that they could be removed. To the surprise of the Japanese, no one had died.
In Japan, he was sent to Sendai #6, which was also known as Hanawa, where 500 POWs worked in the copper mine owned by Mitsubishi and under company supervision. The camp was approximately 200 feet wide by 350 feet long and had a 12-foot high wooden fence around it and was located at 4,000 feet. The POWs were housed in wooden barracks, with 30-foot ceilings, and two tiers of bunks, against each long wall, with straw matting and a mattress stuffed with straw for sleeping. They also had a 4″ by 4″ by 8″ block of wood for a pillow.
The floors of the barracks were packed dirt with a center aisle. There were covered walkways, without sides, that connected the barracks. To heat the barracks, there was a small potbelly stove. If they were lucky, the Japanese gave them enough wood for an hour’s heat. The POWs – who worked in the foundry – stole coal knowing that if they were caught they would be beaten. The barracks were not insulated and the heavy snow – which was as deep as 10 feet – served as insulation.
Other buildings in the camp were two buildings that served as a hospital for the POWs and an “L” shaped building that was the kitchen and POW bath. The latrines were three low buildings, and there was one building that served as the camp office. The POWs spent several days setting up the camp.
In the camp, 500 POWs worked in the copper mine owned by Mitsubishi Mining Company and worked under company supervision. The POWs woke up at 5 A.M. and ate breakfast which was a small bowl of rice, barley or millet, and watery soup. Meals for the POWs were brought to the barracks, in buckets, and the POWs ate at tables in the barracks. After breakfast, at 5:30, roll call was taken and the POWs and the POWs left the camp. They arrived at the mine at 7 A.M., had a half-hour lunch, and worked until 5:00 P.M. before returning to camp, usually after dark, and had supper. Afterward, they went to bed.
The clothing issued to the POWs was a combination of Japanese clothing, made of thin cloth and shoes, and captured American clothing. For the winter the POWs received a uniform made of burlap and long socks. Those who needed shoes were issued Japanese canvas shoes with webbing between two toes. They also received grass shoe covers so they could get through the snow.
Work details were set up for POWs who were machinists, electricians, mechanics. Those who did not have these skills were assigned to working at a foundry or mining. The POWs worked in a copper mine owned by Mitsubishi. Each day, the POWs were marched up the side of a mountain to the top and then down into the mine. To their amazement, their guards always seemed to be waiting for them. It turned out there was a tunnel into the mine which the guards used so they did not have to climb the mountain.
Each detail had a “honcho” who was employed by Mitsubishi and supervised the POWs. They carried a large stick which they used on the POWs when they felt they were not working hard enough. The POWs believed these supervisors wanted to work them to death. At the mine, the POWs were divided among drillers, car loaders, and car pushers, with the miners having the worst job. The work in the mine was dirty, dangerous, and difficult. Each miner received a carbide headlamp as his only lighting. The mine had been abandoned because it had become too expensive to extract the copper, but Mitsubishi believed it could make it profitable with the slave labor provided by the POWs.
A quota was set but the Japanese and the Japanese were always raising the quota. The number of carloads mined by the men was never enough. The POWs were beaten for not working hard enough or fast enough. Many shafts of the mine were so low that the miners had to crawl through to get to the ore. Some shafts had standing water with threats of sudden flooding. Lighting was poor and most areas were not even shored up to prevent cave-ins. Accidents were frequent and many POWs were hurt. There was no gas detecting equipment and there was always the danger of setting off an explosion from the open burning carbide headlamps.
The POWs were beaten for not working hard enough or fast enough. Many shafts of the mine were so low that the miners had to crawl through to get to the ore. Some shafts had standing water with threats of sudden flooding.
Mitsubishi expected the Japanese Army to supply a certain number of POWs to work in the mine each day so men too sick to work were sent to work. The sick had to be carried between two healthier POWs to the mine. Since the Japanese found that the sick were too ill to work, the company came up with work for them to do in the camp like making nails or rope. If a POW still could not work, his rations were cut in half.
While working in the mine from November 1944 until August 15, 1945, the POWs were abused by the civilian foreman, Hichiro Tsuchiya, who was known to the POWs as “Patches.” Tsuchiya used any excuse to abuse the POWs. He was known to hit the POWs for no reason in their faces and to also use a wooden club or pick axehandle. He also used a sledgehammer to hit the POWs on their heads. His parents received a postcard from him in January 1945.
In the camp, the Japanese withheld the Red Cross packages from the POWs and took the canned meats, canned fruit, canned milk, and cheese for themselves. Blankets and clothing intended for the POWs were used by the guards. If a POW violated a rule, the grain ration, for all the POWs, was reduced by 20 percent. At one point, 49 POWs were lined up – because one POW had broken a rule – and beaten with leather belts.
It is known that in February 1945, Shelby and two other POWs were caught with tobacco and cigarettes that they had stolen from the Japanese storeroom. The three men were hit with fists and kicked by a Japanese guard for fifteen minutes. The POWs had their overcoats and shoes taken away and were put in the guardhouse. The assistant camp commander brought them their coats and night and took them from the men before the commandant returned in the morning. He convinced the commandant to release the men after three days in the guardhouse. Postwar trial records, after the war, show that physical abuse of the prisoners was a common occurrence at the camp.
On August 14, 1945, the POWs did not have to go to work. They were also told the August 16th and 17th were Japanese holidays and that they would have the days off. In the years previous years, the POWs had never had a day off for any Japanese holidays. The POWs had the next two days off also. Finally, on August 20th, the camp commander told the POWs the war was over.
American Naval planes found the camp and dropped notes stating they needed to stay clear of an area so that a food drop could take place. On August 28th, the B-29s dropped food, clothing, and medicine to the POWs. The POWs remained in the camp until September 13th, when they were taken to Hanawa and taken by train to Shiogama near Sendai.
The POWs were taken aboard the U.S.S. Relief and processed. They were returned to Manila for treatment. They finally returned to the United States, on the S.S. Klipfontein which sailed on October 9. 1945, arriving at Seattle, Washington, on October 28, 1945. Shelby returned to Kentucky and married Ida Nell. His official residence was 2130 Garland Avenue, Louisville, Kentucky.
Shelby was discharged from the military but reenlisted. This time he joined the Army Air Corps and later the Air Force. He was stationed at Godman Air Force Base at Ft. Knox before returning to the Philippines and was being stationed at Clark Field in May 1950. While returning to the airbase from a fiesta at a barrio the night of April 21, 1951, Shelby and five other soldiers were killed when their vehicle was attacked by communist Huks outside of Manila.
On June 5, 1951, S/Sgt. Shelby G. Embry was buried at Zachery Taylor National Cemetery in Louisville, Kentucky, in Section C, Site 459.