“Ditty Bag”

Upon arrival at the prisoner’s base camp, he was issued a “ditty bag.” This was in response to the Geneva Conventions of 1929 that required treatment of prisoners to be equal to that of our own soldiers.1

The contents included basic hygiene items:
• Tooth brush
• Tooth powder/paste
• Shaving cream
• Razor and blades
• Hair brush/comb
• Shampoo
• Bar soap

Former US Army Military Police Escort, Mr. Warlow, was stationed at Camp Hearne when the first prisoners arrived. He remembered the first group deboarding the train as wearing the same battlefield uniforms in which they were captured, dirty and bloodied. The stench was overwhelming.

Prisoner-of-war, Mr. Karl Blumenthal, remembered being very afraid of what the future held in the US camps as enemy POWs. They were surprised that they were issued new clothing, a ditty bag, a bunk bed with clean sheets, and most rememberable, HOT WATER in the showers.2

Life was not going to be too bad at Camp Hearne.

1Geneva Convention of 1929, Section II. Prisoners-of-war Camps, Chapter 1, Article 10: “Prisoners of war shall be lodged in buildings or in barracks affording all possible guarantees of hygiene and healthfulness.”
2Geneva Convention of 1929, Section II. Prisoners-of-war Camps, Chapter 3, Article 13: “…prisoners shall be furnished a sufficient quantity of water for the care of their own bodily cleanliness.”