Collins_H




Capt. Harold Walden Collins

    Capt. Harold Walden Collins was born on April 24, 1915, to 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, before he 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.  To support his family, Harold worked as an adjuster for the Ohio Farm Bureau Insurance Company.

    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.  The tank company was 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, at various times, 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, and he was promoted to first lieutenant. 

    The 39 members of the company traveled to Fort Knox, Kentucky, on November 28th, where, with National Guard companies from Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin, the 192nd GHQ Tank Battalion was formed.      
    On February 15, 1941, Harold was promoted to first lieutenant.  After almost nine months of training, the 192nd was sent on maneuvers in Louisiana.  After the maneuvers, the 192nd Tank Battalion remained behind at the fort without having any idea why.
  On the side of a hill, the battalion members learned they were being sent overseas.  Those men 29 years old or older were released from federal service.  Many of the men who remained received leaves home to say their goodbyes to families and friends.    
   
    The battalion traveled by train, over different train routes, to San Francisco, California, where they were taken to Ft. McDowell on Angel Island. where they received inoculations and physicals.  Those members of the battalion who were found to have treatable medical conditions remained behind on the island.  They were scheduled to rejoin the battalion at a later date.
  Other men, with more serious conditions, were simply replaced.   
   
    The 192nd was boarded onto the U.S.A.T. Hugh L. Scott and sailed on Monday, October 27th.  During this part of the trip, many tankers had seasickness, but once they recovered they spent much of the time training in breaking down machine guns, cleaning weapons, and doing KP.   The ship arrived at Honolulu, Hawaii, on Sunday, November 2nd and had a two day layover, so the soldiers were given shore leave so they could see the island.
    On Wednesday, November 5th, the ship sailed for Guam but took a southerly route away from the main shipping lanes.  It was at this time it was joined by, the heavy cruiser, the U.S.S. Louisville and, another transport, the S.S. President Calvin Coolidge.  Sunday night, November 9th, the soldiers went to bed and when they awoke the next morning, it was Tuesday, November 11th.  During the night, while they slept, the ships had crossed the International Date Line.  On Saturday, November 15th, smoke from an unknown ship was seen on the horizon.  The Louisville revved up its engines, its bow came out of the water, and it shot off in the direction of the smoke.  It turned out the smoke was from a ship that belonged to a friendly country.
    When they arrived at Guam on Sunday, November 16th, the ships took on water, bananas, coconuts, and vegetables before sailing for Manila the next day.  At one point, the ships passed an island at night and did so in total blackout.  This for many of the soldiers was a sign that they were being sent into harm's way.  The ships entered Manila Bay, at 8:00 A.M., on Thursday, November 20th, and docked at Pier 7 later that morning.  At 3:00 P.M., most of the soldiers were taken by bus to Ft. Stotsenburg.  Those who drove trucks drove them to the fort, while the maintenance section remained behind at the pier to unload the tanks.
   At the fort, they were greeted by Colonel Edward P. King, who apologized they had to live in tents along the main road between the fort and Clark Airfield.  He made sure that they had what they needed and received Thanksgiving Dinner before he went to have his own dinner.  Ironically, November 20th was the date that the National Guard members of the battalion had expected to be released from federal service.
    The members of the battalion pitched the tents in an open field halfway between the Clark Field Administration Building and Fort Stotsenburg.  The tents were set up in two rows and five men were assigned to each tent.  There were two supply tents and meals were provided by food trucks stationed at the end of the rows of tents.
   
For the next seventeen days the tankers worked to remove cosmoline from their weapons which had been greased to protect them from rust while at sea.  They also loaded ammunition belts and did tank maintenance as they prepared to for maneuvers with the 194th Tank Battalion.
    The first week of December, the tanks were ordered to the southern part of Clark Field to guard against paratroopers.  Two members of every tank crew remained with their tank at all times and received their meals from food trucks. 

    On December 8, 1941, having heard the news of the attack on Pearl Harbor, the officers ordered the tanks up to full strength at the airfield.  Many of the soldiers laughed believing that this was the start of the expected maneuvers.  Around 12:45 in the afternoon, C Company lived through the attack on Clark Field.
    When the Japanese were finished, there was not much left of the airfield.  The soldiers watched as the dead, dying, and wounded were hauled to the hospital on bomb racks, trucks, and anything that could carry the wounded.  When the hospital filled, they watched the medics place the wounded under the building.  Many of these men had their arms and legs missing.
   
C Company was ordered to the area of Mount Arayat on December 9th.  Reports had been received that the Japanese had landed paratroopers in the area.  No paratroopers were found, but it was possible that the pilots of damaged Japanese planes may have jumped from them.   
   
After the Japanese landed troops at Lingayen Gulf, Harold assumed command of a platoon of C Company tanks.  His platoon was sent north with his tanks in support of B Company.  It was outside of Demoritis, La Union, that Harold earned the Silver Star.   In spite of Japanese resistance,  his platoon of tanks was able to reach the 26th U.S. Cavalry and engaged the Japanese which allowed the 26th to disengage and withdraw from the area.  He was promoted to captain on December 24, 1941.
   
The tankers soon found themselves in given the job of holding a defensive line so that the other troops could disengage and form a new defensive line further south.  They repeated this action over and over.

    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.
   
On December 31, 1941, Capt. William Gentry, commanding officer of C Company, sent out reconnaissance patrols north of the town of Baluiag.  The patrols ran into Japanese patrols, which told the Americans that the Japanese were on their way.  Knowing that the railroad bridge was the only way into the town and to cross the river, Gentry set up his defenses in view of the bridge and the rice patty it crossed. 

    Early on the morning of the 31st, the Japanese began moving troops 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 was to the southeast of the bridge.   Gentry's tanks were to the south of the bridge hidden in huts, while a third platoon - commanded by Capt Harold Collins - was to the south on the road leading out of Baluiag2nd Lt. Everett Preston's platoon had been sent south to find a bridge to cross so he could attack the Japanese from behind. 
   
Major John Morley, of the Provisional Tank Group, came riding in his jeep into Baluiag.  He stopped in front of a hut and was spotted by the Japanese who had lookouts in the town's church steeple.  The guard became very excited, so Morley, not wanting to give away the tanks positions, got into his jeep and drove off.  Gentry had told Morley that his tanks would hold their fire until he was safely out of the village. 

    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 came smashing through the huts' walls and drove the Japanese in the direction of Lt. Marshall Kennady's tanks, who had been radioed and was waiting for them.

    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 troops.            
    The tanks were about 100 yards apart.  The Japanese crossing the river knew that the Americans were there because the tankers shouted at each other to make the Japanese believe troops were in front of them.  The Japanese were within a few yards of the tanks when the tanks opened fire which caused the rice stacks to catch fire.  The fighting was such a rout that the the tankers were using a .37 mm shell to kill one Japanese soldier.  
    
Bill's tank company was next sent to the Barrio of Porac to aid the Filipino Army which was having trouble with Japanese artillery fire.  From a Filipino lieutenant, they learned where the guns were located and attacked.  Before the Japanese withdrew, the tanks had knocked out three of the guns.   
    After this, the tanks withdrew to the Hermosa Bridge and held it on the north side until all the troops were across.  The tanks then crossed to the south and destroyed the bridge which held the Japanese up for a few days.  This was the beginning of the Battle of Bataan.

    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.

    The first method was to have three Filipino soldiers sit on the back of the tanks with sacks of hand grenades.  When the Japanese dove back into their foxholes, the tank would go over it and the soldiers would drop three hand grenades into the foxhole.  Since the ordnance was from World War I, one out of three hand grenades would explode.
    The second method was simple.  The tank was parked with one track across the foxhole.   The driver spun the tank on one track.  The tank dug into the dirt until the Japanese soldiers were dead.  According to members of the battalion, the tankers slept upwind from the tanks.

    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."

    Sometime later, 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 walls.               

    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 was discharged.
On October 19th, six trucks arrived a the camp and spent the night.  The next morning, the POWs were fed corn cakes and rice for breakfast.  The POWs were inspected at 7:30 A.M. and received a cornbread and rice.

    The POWs were packed onto the six trucks so tightly that they could not sit down which made the ride unpleasant.  Most of the trucks had 50 men on them. 
    It is not known when the trucks left the camp but at 11:00 A.M. as they made their way to Blibid Prison, the POWs saw two large formations of American planes on their way to bomb a Japanese fortification at Nichols Field and the Port Area of Manila.  It was the fifth or sixth day in a roll that the POWs had seen American planes.
    At noon, the POWs had lunch but could not get off the trucks.  If a man had to relieve himself, he had to make his way to the side of the truck and urinate or defecate over the side.  The trucks arrived at Bilibid at 4:00 P.M.
    
On December 12, 1944, the POWs heard rumors that a detachment was being sent out.  The POWs went through what was a farce of an inspection.  They were told cigarettes, soap, and salt would be issued.  POWs were also told that they would also receive a meal to eat and one to take with them.  The Japanese stated they would leave by 7:00 in the morning, so the lights were left on all night.  At 4:00 a.m. the morning of December 13th, Harry and the other POWs were awakened.

took until 9:00 to finish roll call.  By 7:00, the POWs were lined up, roll call was started, and the names of the men selected for transport to Japan were called.  It 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 that the POWs were allowed to sit down.  Many of the POWs slept until 3:45 in the afternoon.  They were awakened about 5:00 PM and boarded the Oryoku Maru for transport to Japan.
The high ranking officers were the first put into the ship's afthold.  Being the first on meant that they would suffer many deaths.  Around the perimeter of the hold were two tiers of bunks for the POWs.  The heat was so bad that men soon began to pass out.  One survivor said, "The fist fights began when men began to pass out.  We knew that only the front men in bay would be able to get enough air."  The POWs who were closer to the hold's hatch used anything they could find to fan air toward those further away from it.
    The ship left Manila at 8:00 P.M. but spent most of the night in Manila Bay.  At 10:00 P.M., the Japanese interpreter threatened to have the guards fire into the holds unless the POWs stopped screaming.  Some of the POWs fell silent because they were exhausted, and others because they had died.  One major of the 26th Cavalry stated the man next to him had lost his mind.  Recalling the conversation he had with the man he said, "Worst was the man who had gone mad but would not sit still.  One kept pestering me, pushing a mess kit against my chest, saying, 'Have some of this chow? It's good.'  I smelled of it, it was not chow. 'All right'  he said, 'If you don't want it. I'm going to eat it.' And a little later I heard him eating it , right beside me."
    At 3:30 A.M. it sailed as part of the MATA-37 a convoy bound for Takao, Formosa.  The ships sailed without any lights out of the bay.  By the swells in the water, the POWs could tell that the ship was in open water.  The cries for air began as the men lost discipline, so the Japanese threatened to cover the holds and cut off all air.  When the Japanese sent down fried rice, cabbage, and fried seaweed, those further back from the opening got nothing.
    The Japanese covered the holds and would not allow the slop buckets to be taken out of the holds.  Those POWs who were left holding the buckets at first asked for someone else to hold it for awhile.  When that did not work, they dumped the buckets on the men around them.
    As light began to enter the hold as morning came, the POWs could see men who were in stupors, men out of their minds, and men who had died.  The POWs in the aft hold which also had a sub-hold, put the POWs who out of their minds into it.
    On the side of the holds, water had condensed on the walls so the POWs tried to scrap it off the wall for a drink.  The Japanese did allow men who had passed out to be put on deck, but as soon as they revived they went back into the holds.  The Japanese would not allow the bodies of the men who had died to be removed from the holds. 
    The POWs received their first meal at dawn.  Meals on the ship consisted of a little rice, fish, some water, and three fourths of a cup of water was shared by 20 POWs.  It was 8:00 A.M., off the coast of Luzon, and the POWs had just finished eating breakfast when they heard the sound of guns.  At first, they thought the gun crews were just drilling, because they had not heard any planes.  It was only when the first bomb hit in the water and the ship shook that they knew it was not a drill.
    At first it seemed that most of the planes were attacking the other ships in the convoy.  Commander Frank Bridgit, had made his way to the top of the ladder into the hold and sat down.  He gave the POWs a play by play of the planes attacking, "I can see two planes going for a freighter off our starboard side.  Now two more are detached from the formation.  I think they may be coming for us."
    The POWs heard the change in the sound of the planes' engines as they began their dives toward the ships in the convoy.  Several more bombs hit the water near the ship causing it to rock  Explosions were taking place all around the ship.  In an attempt to protect themselves, the POWs piled baggage in front of them.  Bullets from the planes were ricocheted in the hold causing many casualties.  .
    Lt. Col. Elvin Barr of the 60th Coast Artillery came up to Maj, John Fowler of the 26th Cavalry on the cargo deck and said, "There's a hole knocked in the bulkheads down there.  Between 30 and 40 men have already died down there."  Barr would never reach Japan.  The attack by 30 to 50 planes lasted for about 20 to 30 minutes.  When the planes were ran out of bombs they strafed.  Afterwards, the planes flew off, returning to their carrier, and there was a lull of about 20 to 30 minutes before the next squadron of planes appeared over the ships and resumed the attack.  This pattern repeated itself over and over during the day.
    In the hold, the POWs concluded that the attacking planes were concentrating on the bridge of the ship.  They noted that the planes had taken out all the anti-aircraft guns leaving only .30 caliber machine guns to defend the ship.
    At 4:30 P.M., the ship went through the worse attack on it.  It was hit at least three times by bombs on its bridge and stern.  Most of the POWs, who were wounded, were wounded by ricocheting bullets and shrapnel from exploding bombs.  During the attack Chaplain Cummings, a Catholic priest, led the POWs in the Our Father.  As they prayed, the bombs that exploded near the ship sent torrents of water over the ship.  Bullets from the planes hit the metal plates, of the haul, at an angle that prevented most of them from penetrating the haul.  Somewhere on the ship a fire started, but it was put out after several hours.  The POWs lived through seven or eight attacks before sunset.  Overall, six bombs hit the ship.  One hit the stern of the ship killing many POWs.
    At dusk, the ship raised anchor and headed east.  It turned south and turned again this time heading west.  The next turn it made was north. It headed in this direction for a good amount of time before dropping anchor at about 8:00 P.M.  The POWs figured out that they had just sailed in a circle.  What had happened is that the ship's had been hit during the attack and the ship could not be steered.
    Sometime after midnight, the POWs heard the sound of the Japanese civilians being evacuated from the ship.  During the night, the POW medics were ordered onto the deck to treat the Japanese wounded.  One medic recalled that the dead, dying, and wounded were everywhere.
    The ship reached Subic Bay at 2:30 in the morning and steamed closer to the beach where its anchor was dropped.  At 4:00 A.M., the POWs were told that they would disembark at daybreak at a pier.  The moaning and muttering of POWs who were losing their minds kept the POWs up all night.  That night 25 POWs died in the hold.
    It was December 15th and the POWs sat in the ship's holds for hours after dawn.  The first 35 POWs were taken out of the hold and went into the water.  At 8:00 A.M. as the other POWs waited, the sound of A Japanese guard yelled into the hold at the POWs, "All go home; speedo!" He shouted that the wounded would be the first to be evacuated.  Suddenly, he looked up and shouted, "Planes, many planes!"  As the POWs were abandoning ship the planes returned and continued the attack.  The ship bounced in the water from the explosions.  Chief Boatswain Clarence M. Taylor who was in the water said, "I saw the whole thing. A bomb fall, hit near the stern hatch, and debris go flying up in the air."
    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.  In the hold a Catholic priest, Father Duffy, began to pray, "Father forgive them.  They know not what they do."
    The Japanese guards and interpreter had abandoned ship, but the ship's captain remained on board.  He told the POWs - with his limited English - that they needed to get off the ship to safety.  The POWs made their way over the side and into the water.  As they swam to shore, the Japanese fired at them, with machine guns, to prevent them from escaping. 
    Four of the planes flew low over the water above the POWs.  The POWs waved frantically at the planes so they would not be strafed.  The planes banked and flew lower over the POWs.  This time the pilots dipped their wings to show that they knew the men in the water were Americans.  About a half hour later, the ship began to really burn and the bodies of the dead could be seen on the decks.
    The Japanese sent out a motorboat with a machine gun and snipers on it.  The POWs attempting to escape were hunted down and shot.  It is believed as many as 30 men died in the water.
    There was no real beach, so the POWs climbed up on a seawall and found the the Japanese Naval Landing Party had set up a machine gun and had just laid flat to rest when the gun opened up on them.   Those who came ashore were warned to stay in the water, but only did so when one man climbed up on the seawall and was wounded.  There were also Japanese snipers in wait to shoot anyone who attempted to escape.
    The POWs were gathered together and marched to the tennis court at Olongapo Naval Station which was about 500 yards from the beach.  There, they were herded onto a tennis court and roll call was taken.  It was discovered 329 of the 1,619 POWs who had boarded the ship had died.  The Japanese packed 1300 of the POWs on the court with 100 wounded POWs taking up a great amount of room at one end.  They could barely sit down and only lay down by lying partially on another man. 

    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 fed.      
    Trucks appeared at the tennis court, on December 20th, and the POWs climbed into them.  They arrived at San Fernando, Pampanga, the next day between four or five in the evening.  There, the POWs were housed in a movie theater until December 23rd, when they were marched to the train station.

    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.

    The POWs 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 contact.  

    During their 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.
    December 23rd, at about 9:00 P.M., the Japanese interpreter came and spoke to the ranking American officer about moving the POWs.  The Japanese loaded the seriously ill POWs into a truck.  Those remaining behind believed they were taken to Bilibid.  The remaining POWs were moved to a trade school building in the barrio.      

    After 10:00 AM on December 24th, the POWs were taken to the train station.  The POWs saw that the station had been hit by bombings and that the cars they were to board had bullet holes in them from strafing.  180 to 200 were packed into steel boxcars with four guards.  The doors of the boxcars were kept closed and the heat in the cars was terrible.  Ten to fifteen POWs rode on the roofs of the cars along with two guard who told the POWs that it was okay to wave to the American planes.  
 
   
    On December 25th, the POWs disembarked at San Fernando, La Union, at 2:00 AM.  They walked two kilometers to a school yard on the southern outskirts of the barrio.  From December 25th until the 26th.  The POWs were held in a school house.  The morning of December 26th, the POWs were marched to a beach.  During this time the prisoners 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 those men died.
  
    The remaining prisoners at San Fernando, La Union, where they boarded onto another "Hell Ship" the Enoura Maru.   On this ship, the POWs were held in three different holds.  The ship had been used to haul cattle.  The POWs were held in the same stalls that the cattle had been held in.  In the lower hold, the POWs were lined up in companies 108 men.  Each man had four feet of space.  Men who attempted to get fresh air by climbing the ladders were shot by the guards.  
     The Enoura Maru also came under attack by American planes the morning of January 9th.  The POWs were receiving their first meal of the day, when the sound of ship's anti aircraft guns was heard.  The explosions of bombs falling closer and closer to the ship were also heard.  The waves created from the explosions rocked the ship.
   
One bomb that hit the ship exploded in the corner of the forward hold killing 285 prisoners.  The surviving POWs remained in in the hold for three days with the dead.  The stench from the dead filled the air.  On January 11th a work detail was formed and about half the dead were removed from the hold.  The dead were unloaded from the ship, and a POW detail of twenty men took the corpses to a large furnace where they were cremated.  These men reported that 150 POWs had been cremated.  Their ashes were buried in a large urn.  Later in the day, the survivors of the forward hold were moved into another hold.  
   
On January 13th, the surviving POWs were boarded onto a third "Hell Ship" the Brazil Maru.  On the ship, the POWs found they had more room and were actually issued lifejackets.  The ship sailed for Japan on January 14th as part of a convoy.      
   
The ship sailed on January 14, 1945, and arrived in Moji, Japan, on January 29, 1945.  During this part of the trip, as many as 30 POWs died each day.  The ship also towed one or two other ships which had been damaged.  Of the original 1619 men that boarded the Oryoku Maru, only 459 of the POWs had survived the trip to Japan.   
    According to the unknown survivor, Capt. Harld Collins died from his wounds on January 18, 1945.   The date of his death is listed as Saturday, January 20, 1945, in U.S. Army records.  After he died, he was stripped of his clothes, and he was taken on deck and thrown overboard.






 

Return to C Company

Next