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PRISON CAMP MODEL LONG JOHN SILVER OUTDONE By DON DONAGHEY MARE ISLAND, Calif. No. 1 inspirer of the "amputees" at this naval hospital is Marine-Sergeant James Robinson, of Ashland, Ky., who lost his left leg at Corregidor and figured things out for himself in a Jap prison camp. Though he couldn't walk, he was still helping out —at a telephone switchboard—when Corregidor fell. Sergeant Jim and others went to the prison camp at Bilibid. His captors begrudged him food because he couldn't Avork. His shack mates helped out there. And one night his shack mates stole a bench from in front of the galley and stowed it between bunks. The guards hunted loav and high for the absentee furniture—and there's where they made a mistake. Had they looked for something that was beginning to look like a wooden leg they would have been on the right beam. With a pocket knife and chunks of a broken sake jug Jim scraped and whittled. He never went to high school but had seen the "Treasure Island" movie. In his time of need his recollection of the cut and rig of Long John Silver's Hollywood peg leg sharpened. The Bilibid camp held many prisoners and was not too closely guarded, because there was nothing for them to escape to, except death by gunfire or starvation. So Jim had plenty of time to scrape and shape. The guards wasted no glances on the activities of a helpless one-legged marine. In three weeks Jim was ready to go. The leg is all one piece of wood except for the knob that keeps his belt from slipping over the shaft The shaft was lashed to his thigh with cord. With an extra belt he rigged the peg to the crook of his knee. Under his waist belt the top of the shaft has fairly free play Jim uses it for leverage and steering The leg is not pretty, but for utility it s a beauty. He can go places fast and is the first man on his feet and at attention when brass heaves into view. On February 4 this year the First Cavalry liberated Jim and other survivors of the Bilibid bill-of-fare A highly, mechanised new leg is in the making for him here at the Mare Island brace, shop, but he's not too sure he wants to bother .getting used to it. The old John Silver model vork.s 100 well.—Auckland Star and I T.A.N.A.

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Bibliographic details

A SERGEANT'S LEG, Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 191, 14 August 1945

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A SERGEANT'S LEG Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 191, 14 August 1945