Beaver_F




Tec 4 Frank Lester Beaver
    Tec 4 Frank Beaver was born on October 31, 1918, in Piqua, Ohio.  He was the son of Frank C. Beaver & Stella M. Clingon-Beaver.  It is known he had three sisters and four brothers.  He grew up on a farm near Washington, Ohio.  He attended Houston High School and graduated valedictorian of his high school class.  After high school who worked for the Lear Company manufacturing radios.
    Frank was inducted into the U.S. Army on February 1, 1941, and sent to Fort Knox, Kentucky for basic training.  He was assigned to the 192nd Tank Battalion.  Upon completion of his basic training, he was assigned to Headquarters Company.  He was assigned to one of the three tanks of HQ Company as a radio operator.
    In the August, 1941, Frank went home for on a shot furlough.  When he returned to Ft. Knox, the tank battalion was sent to Camp Polk, Louisiana, to take part in maneuvers.  Being assigned to headquarters meant that Frank worked behind the scenes and did not really participate in the maneuvers members of the battalion, the decision to send the 192nd overseas was made by General George Patton.  Many of the members of the battalion went home on leave to say their goodbyes.
    From Camp Polk, the battalion traveled west over four different train routes.  Arriving in San Francisco, the soldiers were ferried to Ft. McDowell on Angel Island.  On the island, the soldiers were given physicals and inoculated for tropical diseases. Those with health issues were released from service and replaced.
    The battalion sailed from San Francisco on Monday, October 27th for Hawaii as part of a three ship convoy.  They arrived in Hawaii on Sunday, November 2nd, and had a layover.  The soldiers received passes and allowed to explore the islands.  They ships sailed again on Tuesday, November 4th for Guam.  When they arrived at Guam, they took on bananas, vegetables, coconuts, and water.  The soldiers remained on ship since the convoy was sailing the next day. About 8:00 in the morning on Thursday, November 20th, the ships arrived at Manila Bay.  After arriving at Manila, it was three or four hours before they disembarked.  Most of the battalion boarded trucks and rode to Ft. Sotsenburg north of Manila.
    At the fort, the tankers were met by General Edward King.  King welcomed them and made sure that they had what they needed.  He also was apologetic that there were no barracks for the tankers and that they had to love in tents.  The fact was he had not learned of their arrival until days before they arrived.
    For the next seventeen days the tankers spent much of their time removing cosmoline from their weapons.  They also spent a large amount of time loading ammunition belts.  The plan was for them, with the 194th Tank Battalion, to take part in maneuvers.
    The morning of December 8th, the officers of the battalions met and were informed of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor hours earlier.  The 192nd letter companies were ordered to the perimeter of Clark Airfield.  Headquarters Company remained in the battalion's bivouac.
    All morning long, the sky was filled with American planes.  At noon, all the planes landed and the pilots went to lunch.  At 12:45 planes approached the airfield from the north.  The tankers on duty at the airfield counted 54 planes.  When bombs began exploding, the men knew the planes were Japanese.  After the attack the 192nd remained at Ft. Stotsenburg for several days.  It was during this time that his parents received a telegram from him stating that he was okay.  It was also at this time that the battalion was sent to the Lingayen Gulf area where the Japanese had landed.
    For the next four months Frank worked to keep the tanks of his battalion running.  It is not known what is exact job was.  On April 9, 1942, Bataan was surrendered to the Japanese at 7:00 A.M.  The members of the company remained in their bivouac. 
Capt. Fred Bruni, HQ's commanding officer, gave his men the news of the surrender.  He told the soldiers to destroy their weapons and any supplies that could be used by the Japanese.  The only thing they were told not to destroy were the company's trucks.  The men waited in their bivouac until ordered to move.  Frank was now a Prisoner of War.

  
    On April 11th, the first Japanese soldiers appeared at HQ Company's encampment.  A Japanese officer ordered the company, with their possessions, out onto the road that ran in front of their encampment.  Once on the road, the soldiers were ordered to kneel along the sides of the road.  They were told to put their possessions in front of them.  As they knelt, the Japanese soldiers, who were passing them, went through their possessions and took whatever they wanted from the Americans.

    The company boarded their trucks and drove to Mariveles.  From there, they walked to Mariveles Airfield and sat and waited.  As they sat, the POWs noticed a line of Japanese soldiers forming across from them.  They soon realized that this was a firing squad and the Japanese were going to kill them.

    As they sat watching and waiting to see what the Japanese intended to do, a Japanese officer pulled up in a car in front of the Japanese soldiers.  He got out of the car and spoke to the sergeant in charge of the detail.  The officer got back in the car and drove off.  The Japanese sergeant ordered the soldiers to lower their guns.

    Later in the day, Frank's group of POWs was moved to a school yard in Mariveles. The POWs were left sitting in the sun for hours.  The Japanese did not feed them or give them water.  Behind the POWs were four Japanese artillery pieces which began firing on Corregidor and Ft. Drum.  These two islands had not surrendered.  Shells from these two American forts began landing among the POWs.  The POWs could do little since they had no place to hide.  Some POWs were killed by incoming American shells.  One group that tried to hide in a small brick building died when it took a direct hit.  The American guns did succeed in knocking out three of the four Japanese guns.

    The POWs were ordered to move again by the Japanese.  Frank and the other men had no idea that they had started what became known as the death march.  During the march, he received no water and little food.  It took the members of HQ Company six days to reach San Fernando.  Once there, the POWs were put into a bull pen that had a fence around it.  In one corner was a slit trench to be used as a toilet by the POWs.  The surface of the trench moved since it was covered in maggots.  The POWs had enough room to sit, but they could not lie down. 

    During their time in the bull pen, the POWs watched the Japanese bury three POWs.  Two were still alive.  When one of the men attempted to climb out of the grave, he was hit in the head with a shovel and buried.

    At San Fernando, Frank was put into a small wooden boxcar and taken to Capas.  The cars could hold forty men or eight horses.  The Japanese packed 100 men into each car.  Those who died remained standing until the living climbed out of the car.  From Capas, Frank walked the last ten miles to Camp O' Donnell.

    Camp O'Donnell was an unfinished Filipino training base that the Japanese pressed into service as a Prisoner of War camp.  It turned out to be a death trap with as many as fifty POWs dying each day.  There was only one working water faucet for the entire camp.  To get a drink, men stood in line for days.  Many died while waiting for a drink.  The death rate among the POWs was as high as fifty men a day.  Many POWs went out on work details to get out of the camp.
    The dead, at Camp O'Donnell, were taken to the camp cemetery and buried in shallow graves.  The reason for this was that the water table was high and the POWs could not dig deep.  Once a body was put in the ground, it was held down with a pole until it was covered by earth.  The next day, the POWs, on the detail, found wild dogs had dug up the bodies or the bodies were sitting up in the graves.
    The Japanese opened a new camp at Cabanatuan.  The healthier POWs were sent to the camp.  Those who were going to die remained behind at Camp O'Donnell.  Frank was sent to Cabanatuan.  He became ill and was sent to the camp hospital on September 21, 1942, suffering from diphtheria.  He remained in the hospital until October 20, 1942, when he was discharged.  He was readmitted to the hospital on Wednesday, February 17, 1943.  No reason for why he was admitted was recorded, and no date of discharge was recorded.  What is known is that he was selected was sent to Las Pinas.  In the summer of 1944, he was selected for transport to Japan.  The POWs were given a physical and approved for transfer if they passed.

    In July 1944, a list of POWs was posted at Cabanatuan. At 8:00 P.M. on July 15th, trucks arrived at the camp.  The POWs were boarded onto the trucks and taken to Bilibid Prison.  The POWs arrived at Bilibid seven hours later.  Their dinner was rotten sweet potatoes.  Since it was night, they had to eat in the dark.  They remained at Bilibid until July 17th at 8:00 A.M. and walked to Pier 7.  They were boarded onto the Nissyo Maru.  The Japanese attempted to put the entire POW detachment in the forward hold but failed, so 600 of the POWs were put into the read hold.
    The ship was moved and remained outside the breakwater, at Manila, from July 18th until July 23rd while the Japanese attempted to form a convoy.  The POWs were fed rice and vegetables, twice a day, which were cooked together.  They also received two canteen cups of water each day. 
    The ship sailed on July 23rd at 8:00 A.M. to Corregidor and dropped anchor off the island at 2:00 P.M.  It remained off the island overnight and sailed at 8:00 A.M. the next day.  The ship sailed north by northeast.  On July 26th at 3:00 in the morning, there was a large fire off the ship.  It turned out that the one of the ships, the Otari Yama Maru had been hit by a torpedo from the U.S.S. Flasher which was a part of a three submarine wolf pack.  On July 28th, the ship arrived at Takao, Formosa, and docked at 9:00 A.M.   The ship sailed at 7:00 P.M. and continued its northward trip all day and night of July 29th.  On July 30th, the ship ran into a storm.  The storm finally passed by August 2nd.  The POWs were issued clothing on August 3rd and arrived at Moji August the night of August 3rd about midnight. 
    At 8:00 in the morning the next day, the POWs disembarked the ship. They were taken to a theater and were held in it all day.  They were organized into detachments of 200 men and taken to the train station. 
    Frank was taken by train to 
Fukuoka #4.  The POWs in the camp were housed in a former YMCA building in the North-eastern section of the city of Moji, Kyushu, Japan.  In August 1944, another building began being used as a mess hall and officers quarters.  A third building began to be used as the camp hospital.  The POWs in the camp worked as stevedores on the docks at Moji or at the train station.  The company that used the POWs as slave labor was the Kanmon Stevedoring Company. 
    At some point Frank became ill.  According to other POWs, the sick stayed in the POW barracks while being treated.  Their daily ration of food was also cut.  If they became sicker, they were moved to the
Moji Military Hospital.  Frank was moved to the hospital.
    What is known is Tec 4 Frank Beavers died of pneumonia on March 28, 1945, while a POW at the military hospital.  His remains were taken to the city crematory at Moji.  They were than stored at a Buddhist temple that burnt down.  Next, the ashes were buried in mass grave above Honganji Temple in the City of Moji.
    In May, 1945, Frank's parents received a POW postcard from him that was dated September 30, 1944.  On the card, he said. : "My health is good, hope you are the same.  The climate is cooler here.  Give my regards to all."  When they received the car, his parents had no idea that he had been dead for two months.
    After the war, the American Occupation Force had the Japanese beautify the grave.   The ashes of the men, who died in the camp, are still buried there today. 
    On November 28, 1945, the family of T/4 Frank Beaver learned that he had died as a POW in a telegram from the U.S. Government.  On December 9, 1945, Frank's family held a memorial service at the Houston Christian Church.  They also had a military headstone placed at Forest Hill Cemetery in Piqua, Ohio.





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