2 of 2 (Narrated by Joe Bates) US Sub Rescue of Australian and British POW's

This video is from the Rescue of Australian and British POW's who had been adrift at sea for 3 days in the south china sea from Sept 12th to the 15th, 1944.

The images shown here, of young men fighting for thier lives, so weak they can barely even move, and the heroic US Submarine Sailors, some risking all, by jumping in without even life vests on. And all pitching in to help. Well, they are just some of the most dramatic images I have ever seen. And as a fellow Submariner, I am proud of these men, and they are all heros in my book.

This Dramatic video was shot by the Communications Officer of the USS Sealion II, Lt (jg) (ss) Joe (Shorty) Bates, between Sept 15 to Sept 20th, 1944.

This video is narrated by the man that shot the video, Lt (jg) Joe "Shorty" Bates himself.

The Sealions website can be seen here:

Special thanks to Joes son Bob Bates, for graciously providing me with this incredible video footage, that has been wonderfully narrated by his Dad......

The video was taken on the US Submarine USS Sealion II (SS-315) between Sept 15-20, 1944, while they were rescuing British and Australian Soldiers, who were survivors of two Japanese (Hellship) Transport Ships the Rakuyo Maru, and the Kachidoki Maru, which were NOT MARKED as they should have been with any Red Cross Flag, and had been sunk 3 days earlier by American Submarines while the Japanese were hauling the POW's from Malaysia to the Japanese Mainland. The Americans were totally unaware of the PRECIOUS cargo they had just sunk.

These men had all been Japanese Prisoners of war for 3 years on the Maylay Peninsula, used in forced labor to construct the Burma Railway. 54 Men were plucked from the water that day by Sealion II, and taken to Saipan, where they were transferred to the US Army Hospital at Tampag Harbor on the 20th of Sept.

The Submarines USS Pampanito, USS Barb and USS Queenfish combined, rescued another 105 men from these same ships, the same day.

You can see the men are all in very poor health, coated in oil, and are all malnourished suffering from numerous illnesses, scurvy, Malaria, BeriBeri, Dysentary, Immersion foot, and almost starved to death.

They all had tales of being beaten, starved and mis-treated by the Japanese. They had been abandoned on the ship after it was torpedoed. The Japanese took all of the life boats, so the men had a short time to tear off deck hatches and stuff to float on.

After 5 days on board the Submarine, most of the survivors were able to get around pretty well, thanks to the care and assistance of the crew of the USS Sealion II. At the end you can see them eating Ice Cream, being made right there on top of the boat, and I think it would be hard to wipe the smiles from their faces.

Out of a total of 2,200 men on the two un-marked tansports that were sunk, 1,400 Perished.
Most of the survivors were unfortunately picked up by the Japanese and remained prisoners/slaves on the mainland untill being rescued by the American Occupation Forces at Karasaki POW camp, in Sept 1945.

This DRAMATIC film footage was shot by the Submarines Communications Officer, Navy Lt. Joe "shorty" Bates. Here is the Sealions webpage, with several pages dedicated to the remarkable Joe Bates.
All of the Sealion Crewmembers were hero's, but several men stood out. Joe was one of those men. Joe was presented with a Bronze and a Silver Star for his Heroism.
RIP Mr Bates........

For a first hand narrative from a USS Pampanito Crewmember go here:

To Read a 1st hand narrative of an Australian Survivor who was picked up by the Japanese go here:

For another account of the Sinking Go Here:

Another good Narrative of the incident that includes names and adresses of Survivors:


USS Pampanitos WW2 War Record, 6 battle Stars:


The USS Pampanito, an heroic US Warship is now a US Maritime Museum in San Francisco teaching future Bubbleheads the perils, dangers, excitement and satisfaction of being a US Sub Sailor.