John Edward Cooper’s Notes

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The Japanese War Atrocities Incident

Early Days
Perhaps summer 1963
 1. On one occasion there was a group of us who went round to Jones’s house. I was in the group, and so was Trevor; and either Chris or Gooding, or perhaps both of them, were present. Whoever the participants were, there were several of us, a mob almost. And we went round the back. We didn’t go to the front door; we went round to the other side of the house where there was a narrow path giving access through a side gate to the back garden.
 And he was there, sitting in a deck-chair and reading a book.

 2. Now we had gone there principally to make fun of him. It wasn’t a friendly visit! And Jones soon realised that it was not a friendly visit. But in order to get to him on visits such as these we had to be very friendly to him to start with.
 (According to Trevor’s recollection, in those days when he first used to go round to Jones’s with me, we used to be able to stay for a period of time, and Jones’s attitude would be quite welcoming. And then we always got more and more nasty, until it became unbearable for him; and then we were always asked to leave. “It’s about time you were leaving now.”)

 3. So Jones was there, reading this book when we arrived. And he put it down, opened at the page it was turned to, face down. And one of us picked the book up—“What’s this you’re reading?”—had a look, and discovered that it was about Japanese atrocities in the Second World War. And Jones thought it was a rather good book. There was a little wad of black-and-white photographs bound into the middle of the book showing all about what they did to various people: filling them up with water and kicking them to death—that sort of thing. The Japanese were using live people for bayonet practice.

 4. What happened next is not definitely recalled. But once the book was in our hands, it got passed around. Perhaps one after the other of us in his eagerness to look at it snatched it from the one holding it.
 “Oh, look at that!”
 “What is it? Give it here, let’s have a look!”
 Trevor recalls that he got hold of it at one point. Whatever we were doing, it wasn’t very friendly to Jones, and eventually we were asked to leave. It is not certain whether Jones managed to get rid of us, or whether his Mum came out on this occasion and suggested that we go. In these confrontations Mums usually started to appear, to intervene and save her son from further harassment. As individuals, Jones could handle us, but when we appeared as a menacing mob he was a bit frightened to try and throw us out. Mums could have been in the kitchen, whose window faced the garden, observing the goings-on, and have come out to put a stop to them. She would probably observe that I was the loudest and nastiest of the group.

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