Dad (Franklin Jack Chapman) has always talked about how they were considered “Reactionaries” in camp. I asked Dad to write down some of the things they had done to be called “reactionary”. Here are his remembrances. – Cindy Chapman
I was captured on November 30th, 1950. I finally arrived at Camp One where I met Dick Raby, Dick Rook and several others.
It was late 1951 when I arrived at Camp One, Company 7. Dick Raby was already there. During early spring 1952, several of us formed an organization that called itself the “True Americans” better known to the Chinese as the “Reactionaries”.
We made plans for escapes and organized other resistances. One of our protests was to refuse to stand in the freezing cold and be forced to listen to the Communists and their damn lectures. One cold morning, right after we were called out for roll call, several of us broke ranks and ran back to our huts and we refused to return to the formation. This action caused many of our inmates to break ranks and run to their huts.
In April 1952, we were informed by the Chinese that we would be marching in a May Day parade that was to travel through the center of town (Chang Song). Our group passed the word around to those we could trust and told them not to march in the parade and everyone agreed.
I recall, it was some time around May 1952, when the Chinese finally gave us new clothing. Around May or June, they said we were going to march in the May 1, 1952 May Day parade, the Chinese Herded us onto the main road for the parade.
We were all dressed in our new Dress Blues that the Chinese had issued a short time before. When they saw what we had done (painted POW across the back of the jacket/shirts – this was Luis Lugo’s idea), they became extremely upset and began lecturing us about the destruction of the clothing. (note from Cindy: they used berries to paint POW on the back of their shirts, and wore their jackets over the shirts. When they got in line and started marching, they took the jackets off.)
There were several other incidents which took place in Company Seven and Company Four. One was helping to break a fellow out of confinement.
Here’s what Dick Raby said “I must say, that overall the Chinese failed miserably in their attempts to brainwash us. Of that I am very proud. Mostly I am proud that I was a reactionary, and I had a lot of good company. Rhatigan, Lyke, Perry, Polack, and Jack Chapman. (Jack and I became very close friends).”
Note from Cindy: Dad has often talked about how they “rode” imaginary motorcycles in camp, until the guards banned all motorcycles from camp. They would also “walk” imaginary dogs, and have arguments because someone else’s dog “bit” them. They would go to the guard and tell them that the dog was pissing on the guards leg. This went on until dogs were banned from camp as well.