Pfc. Wayne T. Buggs
| Pfc. Wayne T. Buggs was the
son of Arthur H. Buggs and Lillias Broege-Buggs
and was born on October 5, 1919, in Janesville,
Wisconsin. As a child he lived at 414 North
Main Street. To suppport himself, he worked
as a pinsetter at a bowling alley.
Wayne was a member of the Wisconsin National
Guard when his tank company was federalized on
November 25, 1940. At Fort Knox, he was
transferred to HQ Company when it was formed in
January 1941. He was assigned to the
company as a tank driver. With him in the
company were his cousins Lester
On December 25th, Wayne and Major John Morley
had parked their tank under a canopy of a gas
station near Carmen. Wayne was assigned to
one of the three tanks of HQ Company.
Wayne tuned the tank's radio to the frequency
used by the 194th Tank Battalion and both men
listened to the fight. Morley attempted to
follow the battle on a map. As they
listened they shells exploded around them.
When they knew that the battle was approaching
them, they withdrew from the area.
As they prepared to die, a car pulled up and a Japanese officer got out of the car and spoke to the sergeant in charge of the detail. After talking to the sergeant, he got back in the car and drove off. The sergeant ordered the soldiers to lower their guns.
Later in the day, Wayne and the other men were marched to a school yard in Mariveles and again ordered to sit. Behind them were Japanese artillery pieces. The guns were firing on Corregidor and Ft. Drum. When the two American strongholds began returning fire, the prisoners found themselves in the line of fire and shells began landing around them. Five POWs who hid in an old brick building were killed when it took a direct hit. When the barrage ended, three if the four Japanese guns had been destroyed.
It was from this school yard that Wayne began the death march with his cousins. They made their way from Mariveles to San Fernando. During the march he saw men who had fallen shot and bayoneted where they fell. At San Fernando, the POWs were packed into small wooden boxcars. The cars could hold forty men of eight horses, but the Japanese packed 100 men into each car and closed the doors. Those POWs who died in the cars did not fall to the floors until the living left the cars at Capas.
The first camp Wayne was held in was Camp O'Donnell. It is not known if he went out on a work detail. What is known is that he was held as a POW at Cabanatuan after the camp opened. While at Cabanatuan, Wayne was selected for a detail that was sent to Davao. The POWs were taken to Manila and boarded onto transports. Since it is not known when he was sent to Davao, he could have been sent on one of two ships. The Interisland Steamer sailed on July 1st and arrived at Davao on July 9, 1942, or he may have been on the Erie Maru. This ship sailed on October 28, 1942 and arrived at Lasung, Mindanao on November 11th.
At the camp, the POWs
were housed in eight barracks that were about
148 feet long and about 16 feet wide. A
four foot wide aisle ran down the center of each
barracks. In each barracks, were eighteen
bays. Twelve POWs shared a bay which meant
that 216 POWs lived in each of the
barracks. To prevent escapes, four cages
were later put in a bay. Each cage held
At first, the work details were not guarded and the POWs plowed, planted, and harvested the crops unguarded. The sick POWs made baskets. In April 1943, the POWs working conditions varied. Those working the rice fields received the worst treatment. They were beaten for not meeting quotas. Most of misunderstandings between the POWs and guards, were the result of a translator who could not be trusted to tell the truth.
On Davao, Wayne built runways and worked the farm. He remained on the detail until June 6, 1944, when a detachment of POWs were taken to Lasang, Mindano, and boarded onto the Yashu Maru. The ship sailed for Cebu City on June 12th, but dropped anchor off Zamboanga, Mindanao, before arriving at Cebu City on July 17th. They disembarked weer held on shore until they were put onto an unnamed ship which sailed on July 21st. The ship arrived in Manila on June 24, 1944.
Wayne was held at Bilibid Prison for 11
days. On July 4, 1944, he was taken back
to the Port Area of Manila and boarded onto the
Canadian Inventor which sailed the same
day for Formosa, but because of boiler problems,
it returned to Manila and remained there for
repairs until July 16th when it sailed again as
part of convoy. It should be noted that
the POWs remained in the ship's hold the entire
In Japan, Wayne was held as a POW at Nagoya #5B. The POWs in the camp were used to manufacture sulfuric acid. It was from this camp that he was liberated at the end of the war and returned to the Philippines. He sailed for the United States on the U.S.S. Gospar arriving at Seattle, Washington, on October 12, 1945, and hospitalized at Ft. Lewis, Washington. He was discharged from the army on March 19, 1946.
After the war, Wayne married Eleanor Peckham, on
May 4, 1946, and worked as for the U.S. Post
Office. The couple raised a family in
Janesville and lived there the rest of their
lives. Wayne Buggs passed away on November
25, 1985, and was buried at Milton Lawns
Cemetery in Janesville in Section G, Row 19.