by Jack Sanders  


 For most of the time when I was in the Royal Air Force in Japan I was connected with CSDIC - Combined Services Detailed Interrogation Centre. It was a part of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force (BCOF) CSDIC - administration, discipline, provisions etc. – was the responsibility of an Australian army officer with soldiers under his command. Japanese civilians worked there as waitresses and cleaners. The main purposes of CSDIC were to interrogate former Japanese Servicemen and to teach British Commonwealth Servicemen how to speak Japanese.

                                                                                                            Jack standing outside CSDIC, 1946

I have not been back to Japan and I cannot explain exactly where CSDIC was. I know that it was outside Kure on the road to Hiroshima. I seem to remember that the building faced the Harbour. The railway line which ran along the coast was close to the rear of the building. Sometimes we used to jump off the train as it slowed down at a bend in the railway line, I think just as it was approaching a bridge, and we rolled down a bank so as to avoid having to walk back to CSDIC from the Railway Station.


 Many of the students had already passed a course in Kanji - the British at the School of Oriental & African Studies at London University - so as to be able to act as translators. We were taught in small groups. Although the teachers could speak English the lessons were conducted in Japanese. We had to pass an oral examination in order to graduate. We had to answer questions and were given marks for our

pronunciation, vocabulary, and fluency. The only name which I can now remember of any of the teachers is Nakazato san. We seemed to have a pleasant relationship with all of them.

  left; a small class of RAF men at CSDIC, 1946


After graduation we were sent as interpreters on various duties in parts of the Kure area. We were away from CSDIC for different periods, depending on the nature of the duty, and enjoyed returning there and being reunited with friends whom we had made, while we waited for the next assignment. I also spent time at BCOF headquarters in Etajima and in Hiro where I was attached to an Australian Infantry Battalion – 66th – as its interpreter.


My most difficult task - in more ways than one! - was to accompany the Battalion on a long route march. I still remember my feeling of near panic when, with the soldiers standing waiting for an answer, I was asked which way the Battalion had to turn at the junction of two paths at a remote, rugged, part of Japan. I had difficulty in translating the map but there was a very old Japanese man who was watching us so I asked him for help. Although I felt sure that he was trying to help I found his Japanese difficult to understand. I think I made what was just a guess at which was the correct way. Fortunately it was the correct decision.


We were involved with both the military and Japanese police in enforcing the food rationing system. This system was being abused as a result of a "Black Market which had developed. BCOF was anxious to ensure that food supplies were fairly distributed. We also took part, with the police, in road safety campaigns. Particularly we helped to teach children how to cross the road safely and avoid accidents.


Some of the important events in which we were involved were the elections which took place after the war. Small groups were formed of BCOF personnel, including an interpreter, and sent to different parts of the country where elections were taking place in order to help to supervise the elections. We explained the procedure to voters and emphasised their right to vote in absolute freedom. The general feeling of those of us who helped with the elections was satisfaction at being able to help to bring democracy to Japan. 


At the beginning of the Occupation, rules were imposed aimed at discouraging fraternisation with the Japanese population. However those learning Japanese at CSDIC were allowed to mix with Japanese both in the course of their duties and in order to practise and improve their Japanese. Many of us who spent time in Kure at CSDIC have, as a result, retained an interest in many aspects of Japanese culture and have happy memories of the beautiful scenery around the Inland Sea, cherry blossoms, and friends made there. I returned to England towards the end of 1947.


I still communicate with Japanese friends in Japan by letter and email but have not had the opportunity to speak to any Japanese for many years. 


#120 Parkway Vol.21 No.2 April - June 2007



在日英国空軍にいたときのほとんどは、CSDIC(英国諜報機関の一組織)に関わっていました。そこは英連邦占領軍(BCOF)CSDIC - 管理、規律、食糧など -の一部で、オーストラリア陸軍士官とその指揮下の兵が管轄、日本の民間人がウェイトレスや掃除人として働いていました。 CSDICの主な目的は、旧日本軍人を取り調べることと、英連邦軍人に日本語を教えることでした。 








色々な意味で最も難しかった仕事 - それは大隊の長い行進に同行することでした。その時パニックに陥りそうだったのを今でも覚えています。私の答えをじっと待っている兵士たち。起伏のある人里離れた場所で二股に分かれた道のどちらを行くかという質問に対する答えです。私は地図の日本語を読むのに手こずっていました。私たちを見ていた老人に、助けを求めました。助けようとしてくれているのはわかるのですが、彼が話す日本語がさっぱりわかりません。結局、こっちだろうと予測をつけて進むことにしました。予測が当たって幸いでした。


私たちは食糧配給制度の施行において軍と日本の警察の両方に関わっていました。 この制度は台頭してきた闇市に悪用されており、BCOFは、公平な食糧供給を確保したいと考えていたのです。また、警察と共に交通安全キャンペーンにも参加しました。特に子どもたちに安全に道路を横断して事故を避ける方法を教えるものでした。。











Parkway obtained a photo of CSDIC and a map of Point Camp  by courtesy of T. Yoshida and L.A.Radbourns, a British linguist, respectively


#121 Parkway Vol.21 No.3 July - September 2007