The Ghosts of The Cowra POW Breakout

The Ghosts of the Cowra POW Breakout

This article will be taking a look at the paranormal activity linked to the Cowra POW breakout from August the 5th, 1944, when over 1100 Japanese prisoners of war tried their best to break out of a prison camp in New South Wales, Australia…


Cowra prison camp opened it’s doors in June 1941 for it’s first inmates – Italians.

Initially, the site was pretty basic, and the prisoners had to sleep out in tents. Their first ‘hard labor’ job was to construct weatherboard huts that they would later move into in 1942.

The first Japanese prisoner was named Toyoshima Hajime – he was apparently captured by aborigines after he had to make an emergency landing in his damaged warplane.

More Japanese followed and ended up in Compound B…an area that soon got completely overcrowded.


The Italian prisoners seemed to get on well with their captors, but the Japanese POW’s did not. They saw their capture as nothing more than a violation of traditional and ethic codes.

Initially, the security at Cowra was pretty light – mainly made up of disabled veterans and newbie soldiers. This light security continued until news of a Japanese riot in Featherston POW camp in New Zealand, forced the army authorities to up their game.

Vickers and Lewis machine guns were installed all around the Australian prison camp…

The Cowra Prison Breakout

The Cowra guards became aware of the Japanese breakout plan when a Korean prisoner decided to ‘back-stab’ them on the third of June, 1944.

He informed the security authorities that the Japanese POW’s were planning on storming the garrison, taking the weapons and escaping.

cowra breakout movie

The authorities hastily decided to move the younger generation of Japanese soldiers to a new camp, as a way of splitting up the prisoner’s plans. The Japanese were informed of this course of action on the day before it was due to be carried out.

At 1:58 am on the 5th, a bugle was sounded as the Japanese prisoners from compound ‘B’ charged the perimeter armed with improvised weapons. They were also equipped with blankets which they used to get over the sharp steel barbed wire fences.

Only 359 POW’s managed to escape…but they were rounded up and recaptured within ten days of the prison break.

It is reported that 231 Japanese inmates were mowed down by machine gun fire during the escape – the Australian’s lost 4 prison soldiers in total.

The Cowra Prison Breakout

Paranormal Activity

These days the Cowra site, along with it’s buildings, is nothing more than a ruin…but it is reported to be one of the most haunted locations in the country.

Over the years there have been numerous reports of Japanese music softly playing on the wind, after nightfall. A large number of visitors to the area have also reported hearing footsteps shadowing them, as they walk through the ruins.

Many psychics have visited the camp, and continually reinforce the belief that it is indeed haunted by the dead Japanese soldiers.

If you have any thoughts or opinions on the Cowra POW breakout, please leave them in the comment section below.

4 thoughts on “The Ghosts of The Cowra POW Breakout

  1. I find stuff like this amazing. The problem is I don’t take the time to do the research that’s why articles like this are so important.  I absolutely believe in haunting and ghosts.  

    There is too much evidence to support. I have bookmarked your site. Do you think that ghosts roam the earth or is it just the ones with a purpose? 

    I am really interested in what your answer will be.

  2. I so want to visit this camp! I have a friend who could go with me, though, because things like this scare the heck out of me! I have had my share of haunts and scares, but this one truly sounds like a place to visit to perhaps understand the area better and to understand the curious happenings.

    Have you been to the camp? If so, what phenomena did you hear or see? Do you know if there are any such sites in the United States? This is where I live, so I would be curious. Perhaps in Pearl Harbor?

    Thank you for sharing the details of this prisoner of war camp. I look forward to your reply and reading more of your site.

    1. Hi Karin, 

      No I haven’t been to the camp personally, but I would love to go at some point. As far as the States goes – loads of options there (just check out this site and take your pick of destinations!). 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *