Probably from the Clinton Daily News

FORMER PRISONER OF JAPS SPENDING FIRST REAL CHRISTMAS SINCE 1941

He's still a member of the armed forces of the United States, but that's the only resemblance between Christmas, 1944, and Christmas, 1945, for Sgt. Carl V. Ireton, Clinton ex-prisoner of war who is in town to spend the holidays with his mother, Mrs. Eda Ireton, 1211 Avant.  Next Tuesday Ireton is going to have Christmas dinner at home, on a white tablecloth, with all the rich food his mother can cook. He's going to relax around the warm house, after arising late and opening his Christmas presents.  Last Christmas he was in a Japanese prisoner of war camp in Mukden, Manuchuria (sic), where there were no such things as holidays. He spent the day working as usual at the Mukden machine tool and die works. For Christmas dinner he and his fellow-prisoners ­ the lucky ones who had survived up to then ­ had Spam and a little cheese from Red Cross parcels, plus apples and corn bread that the Japs distributed. 

But even though he knows he's going to enjoy his first Christmas at home to the fullest, Sgt. Ireton thinks the holiday won't be as good as one other experience since his liberation.  "The grandest time of all," Sgt. Ireton said Saturday, "was when the ship bringing up (sic) home nosed into San Francisco harbor. There was a welcome ship out there to meet us, and it had a big sign that said "Welcome Home­Well Done!' and there was a band playing all kinds of patriotic music and girls waving and smiling at us. I can tell you, there were some wet faces on our ship when we saw them!"  That homecoming was even better than the arrival of the paratroops who liberated the Mukden prisoners on Aug. 15, the sergeant said. He doesn't say much about the day he was freed except to give credit to the rescue teams.  "They came down in enemy territory when the people didn't even know the war was over," he said. "The certainly were a brave bunch."  Sgt. Ireton said the boys in his camp felt that liberation came just in time, for they were afraid that some of them were going to be annihilated soon.  "We knew the Russians had declared war and were coming into Manchuria." he said, "and we didn't think the Japs would hand us over to the Russians unharmed."  Asked how he knew about the Russians, the sergeant said he learned the news "by grapevine."  "We knew all the important things that were going on," he added, "but of course we got the bad news straight and the good news jumbled."  The prisoners got the story of the Ardennes bulge battle in Germany exactly as it happened, he said, for apparently the Japs were not strict about concealing adverse news. 

Sgt. Ireton is home on leave from Bruns General hospital in Santa Fe, N. M., where the army is giving him a thorough going-over. When a man has had dengue fever, dry beriberi, wet beriberi, tropical ulcers and "Guam blisters," plus consctant (sic) malnutrition, it takes quite a while to find out whether he has been restored to normal physical condition, he explained.  Sgt. Ireton looks well and tanned, and said he feels pretty well. He weighs 165 now­Still under-weight--but at one time in the Japanese prison camp he was down to 100. He was a prisoner from April 9, 1942, when he was captured on Bataan, until last August.  He is authorized to wear the Asiatic Pacific theater ribbon with one bronze service star, the American defense ribbon with bronze service star, the Philippine defense ribbon with bronze service star, the American theater ribbon, the distinguished unit citation, the good conduct ribbon with clasp signifying three presentations of the ribbon, the World War II victory ribbon and several overseas service stripes.

 

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