|Capt. Harold Walden
Capt. Harold Walden Collins was born on April 24, 1915. He was the son of Charles R. Collins and Elizabeth Burget-Collins. With his two sisters and two brothers, he grew up in Lacarne, Ohio. Until the eleventh grade, he went to school in both Erie and Lacarne, Ohio. He then transferred to Port Clinton High School and graduated in 1934.
After high school, Harold attended the University of Toledo but left after two years. He also married Gertrude Thompson and became the father of a daughter, Carolyn.
On July 5, 1932, Harold joined the Ohio National Guard with his brother-in-law, Kenneth Thompson, and his friends, Steve Eliyas, Arthur Burholt and Joseph Hrupcho, he joined the Ohio National Guard's tank company headquartered in the armory in Port Clinton. In the National Guard, he also rose in rank from private to corporal. On July 1, 1939, he was commissioned a second lieutenant and served as the company's maintenance officer, mess officer, and supply officer.
In the fall of 1940, Harold's tank company received the news that they were going to be called to federal service for a period of one year. The company officially became C Company, 192nd Tank Battalion on November 25, 1940. On that date, he was promoted to first lieutenant.
The 39 members of the company
traveled to Fort Knox, Kentucky were, with National
Guard companies from Illinois, Kentucky and
Wisconsin, the 192nd Tank Battalion was
C Company was
re-supplied and withdrew to Baluiag where the tanks
encountered Japanese troops and ten tanks. It
was at Baluiag that Gentry's tanks won the first
tank victory of World War II against enemy tanks.
Early on the morning of the 31st, the Japanese began
moving troops and across the bridge. The
engineers came next and put down planking for
tanks. A little before noon Japanese tanks
began crossing the bridge.
Later that day, the Japanese had assembled a large
number of troops in the rice field on the northern
edge of the town. One platoon of tanks under
the command of 2nd Lt. Marshall Kennady were to the
southeast of the bridge. Gentry's tanks
were to the south of the bridge in huts, while third
platoon commanded by Capt Harold Collins was to the
south on the road leading out of Baluiag.
2nd Lt. Everett Preston had
been sent south to find a bridge to cross to attack
the Japanese from behind.
When Gentry felt the Morley was out of danger, he ordered his tanks to open up on the Japanese tanks at the end of the bridge. The tanks then came smashing through the huts' walls and drove the Japanese in the direction of Lt. Marshall Kennady's tanks. Kennady had been radioed and was waiting.
Kennady held his fire until the Japanese were in
view of his platoon and then joined in the
hunt. The Americans chased the tanks up and
down the streets of the village, through buildings
and under them. By the time C Company was
ordered to disengage from the enemy, they had
knocked out at least eight enemy tanks.
C Company withdrew to Calumpit Bridge after
receiving orders from Provisional Tank Group.
When they reached the bridge, they discovered it had
been blown. Finding a crossing the tankers
made it to the south side of the river.
Knowing that the Japanese were close behind, the
Americans took their positions in a harvested rice
field and aimed their guns to fire a tracer shell
through the harvested rice. This would cause
the rice to ignite which would light the enemy
During the Battle of the Points the tanks were sent in to wipe out Japanese troops that had broken through the main defensive line and than trapped behind the line after the Filipino and American troops pushed the Japanese back. According to members of the battalion they resorted two ways to wipe out the Japanese.
was to have
on the back of
the tanks with
sacks of hand
tank would go
over it and
from World War
I, one out of
For the next four months, Harold was involved in the battle to slow the Japanese conquest of the Philippines. It was during this time, that he was promoted to captain. On April 9, 1942, Harold and the rest of C Company became Prisoners Of War. It was during this time that he was awarded the Silver Star.
Harold took part
in the death march. Since the Japanese
dispersed the members of the company among the other
prisoners, it is not known if he was with other
members of the the 192nd. The POWs made their
way to San Fernando. Once there, they were put
into small wooden boxcars
used to haul sugarcane. Each car could hold
forty men or eight horses. The Japanese packed
100 POWs into each car. Those who died remained
standing until the living left the cars at Capas.
As a POW, Harold was held at Camp O'Donnell. When Cabanatuan opened, he was transferred there. During July 1942, Harold was sent to the barrio known to the Americans as Little Bagio. He was sent there to represent the enlisted men when dealing with the Japanese. Being an officer, Harold was not required to do physical labor.
When the detail ended. Harold was returned to Cabanatuan. It is not known if he went out on another work detail. What is known is that while a POW there, he and Capt Arthur Burholt organized shows for the other prisoners as a way to break the monotony of camp life.
During Harold's time at Cabanatuan, his family received a post card from him. In it he said, "I am waiting impatiently to be back home with you again. Say hello and give my love to all the folks. Buy Carol Lee (his daughter) a new dress and give her a kiss for me. Hoping to see you soon."
Harold was sent to Bilibid Prison. This former
Spanish prison was used by the Japanese as a
clearinghouse for POWs being sent to another part of
the Japanese Empire. At the prison, Harold was
reunited with other C Company members. Life
for the men was monotonous since the prison was
surrounded by high
It is not known
if Harold became a POW when Bataan was surrendered
or if he escaped to Corregidor. When he became
a prisoner of war, he most likely was held at Camp
O'Donnell and Cabanatuan. Medical
records from Cabanatuan
indicate that Harold was hospitalized in the camp's
hospital on July 21, 1942. The records do not
give the reason why he was hospitalized or when he
By 8:00, the POWs were lined up roll call was taken and the names of the men selected for transport to Japan were called. The prisoners were allowed to roam the compound until they were told to "fall-in." The men were fed a meal and then marched to Pier 7 in Manila. During the march down Luzon Boulevard, the POWs saw that the street cars had stopped running and many things were in disrepair.
The Americans saw
that the American bombers were doing a job on the
Japanese transports. There were at least forty
wrecked ships in the bay. When the POWs reached
Pier 7, there were three ships docked. One was a
old run down ship, the other two were large and in
good shape. They soon discovered one of the two
nicer ships was their ship.
It was at this time the POWs were allowed to sit down. Many fell asleep and slept until 3:45 in the afternoon. About 5:00 PM the POWs boarded the Oryoku Maru for transport to Japan.
It is not known which hold Harry was held in, but the sides of the hold had two tiers of bunks that went around its diameter. The POWs near the hatch used anything they could find to fan the air to the POWs further away from it.
The ship left Manila on December 14th, at about 3:30 AM, as part of the MATA-37 a convoy bound for Takao, Formosa. By the swells in the water, the POWs could tell that the ship was in open water.
The POWs received their first meal
at about 3:30 that afternoon. Meals on the
ship consisted of a little rice, fish, and
water. Three fourths of a cup of water was
shared by twenty POWs. The prisoners had just
eaten when they heard the sounds of guns. At
first, they thought the gun crews were just drilling
since they had not heard any planes. It was
only when the first bomb hit that they knew it was
no drill. The POWs heard the change in the
planes' engines sound as they began their dive
toward the ships in the convoy. Explosions
were taking place all around the
POWs. Bullets from the planes ricocheted
in to the hold causing many casualties. In
all, the POWs would have to sweat out five air
raids. The one result of the raid was no
At four-thirty in the afternoon, the ship experienced its worse attack. It was hit at least three times, by bombs, on its bridge and stern. Most of the POWs were wounded by ricocheting bullets or shrapnel from explosions. Bombs that exploded near the ship sent turrets of water over it. Bullets from the fighters hit the metal hull plates at an angle that prevent most from penetrating the hull. Somewhere on the ship a fire had started but was put out after several hours.
After the first raid, the ship was left alone by "playing possum" in the water. The fighters went after the other ships in the convoy. The moaning and muttering of men who were losing their minds kept the POWs up all night. That night 25 POWs died in the hold. The ship reached Subic Bay at 2:30 in the morning. It was a suitable landing place.
Sometime after midnight, the POWs heard noise on deck as women and children were unloaded. During the night, the medics in the ship's hold were ordered out by a Japanese officer to tend to the Japanese wounded. One of the medics recalled that the dead, dying and wounded were everywhere.
The ship steamed in closer to
the beach and its anchor was dropped. The
POWs were told, at 4:00 in the morning, that they
would be disembarked after daybreak. It was
December 15th. The POWs sat in the hold four
hours after daybreak when the sound of planes was
heard. They would live through three more
When the U.S. Navy planes resumed their attack,
the attacks came in waves. Jack and the
other POWs noted that attack was heavier then
the day before.
At 8:00 AM, a Japanese guard yelled to the POWs, "All go home; Speedo!" He also shouted that the wounded would be the first evacuated. As the POWs were abandoning ship, the planes returned. The pilots of the planes had no idea that the ship was carrying prisoners. It was not until the pilots saw the POWs climbing out of the ship's holds that they realized it was a prison ship and stopped the attack.
In the hold the
POWs crowded together. Chips of rust fell on
them from the ceiling. After the raid, they
took care of the wounded before the next attack
started. A Catholic priest, Fr. Duffy, began
forgive them. They know not what they
When the attack resumed, the ship bounced in the water from the explosions. The POWs in the holds lived through seventeen attacks from American planes before sunset. Overall, six bombs hit the ship. One hit the stern of the ship killing many.
About a half hour later, the ship's stern started to really burn. Jack made his way on deck and went over the side. He remembered how good the water felt. Jack swan to shore near Olongapo, Subic Bay, Luzon. As he swam to shore, which was about 300 to 400 yards away. Japanese soldiers fired on the POWs to keep them in the water so they would not escape.
While the POWs
were at Olongapo Naval Station, a Japanese officer,
Lt. Junsaburo Toshio, told the ranking American
officer, Lt. Col. E. Carl Engelhart, that those too
badly wounded to continue the trip would be returned
to Bilibid. Fifteen men were selected and
loaded onto a truck. They were taken into the
mountains and never seen again. They were
buried at a cemetery nearby. The remainder of
the POWs remained on the tennis courts for five or
six days. During that time, they were given
water but not
On December 24th, the remainder of the POWs were boarded onto trains at San Fernando, Pampanga. The widows of the train were kept closed and the heat in the cars was terrible. From December 24th to the 27th, the POWs were held in a school house and later on a beach at San Fernando, La Union. During this time they were allowed one handful of rice and a canteen of water. The heat from the sun was so bad that men drank seawater. Many of these men died.
remained on the tennis court for nine days.
During their time on the courts, American planes
attacked the area around them. The men
watched as the fighter bombers came in vertically
releasing bombs as they pulled out of the
dives. On several occasions, the planes dove
right at the POWs, dropped their bombs, and pulled
out. The bombs drifted over the POWs and
landed away from them exploding on
time at San Fernando, Pampanga, the POWs lived
through several air raids. The reason for the
air raids was the barrio was a military headquarters
for the area and most of the civilians had been
moved out of it. Many of the Americans began
to believe they had been taken there so that they
would be killed by their own countrymen.