Pfc. Ancel Edgar Crick
Pfc. Ancel E. Crick was born on July 23, 1917, to Sam Crick and Zetta Mae Smith-Crick in Whitley County, Kentucky. It is known he had four sisters and one brother. He joined the Kentucky National Guard and was called to federal service on November 25, 1940. During his training at Fort Knox, he was transferred to Headquarters Company when it was created in early 1941.
In the late
summer of 1941, Ancel took part in maneuvers in
Louisiana. It was after the maneuvers at
Camp Polk, Louisiana, that he and the rest of the
battalion learned that they were being sent
The morning of December 8, 1941, just ten hours after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Ancel and the other members of the battalion learned of the Japanese attack. At 12:45 in the afternoon, Ancel lived through the Japanese attack on Clark Field.
For the next four months, Ancel worked to supply the tanks of the 192nd Tank Battalion with gasoline and ammunition in the fight against the Japanese. On April 9, 1942, Ancel learned of the surrender of Bataan to the Japanese. He and the other members of the HQ Company remained in their bivouac for two days.
Ancel with his company were ordered by the Japanese out to the road that passed near their bivouac. Once on the road, they were ordered to kneel facing the center. They also had to put all their possessions in front of them. Japanese troops passing by, took whatever they wanted from the prisoners.
HQ Company then boarded trucks and drove to Mariveles. From there, they walked to Mariveles Airfield and sat and waited. As they sat, Ancel and the other Prisoners of War 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 there watching and waiting to see what the Japanese intended to do, a Japanese officer pulled up to the Japanese soldiers in a car. He got out 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, Ancel was moved to a schoolyard in Mariveles. In the schoolyard, they found themselves between Japanese artillery and guns firing from Corregidor and Ft. Drum. Shells began landing among the POWs who had no place to hide. Some of the POWs were killed from incoming shells.
The POWs were ordered to move by the Japanese. Ancel 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. At San Fernando, he was put into a steel boxcar and taken to Capas. From Capas, Ancel walked the last few miles to Camp O'Donnell.
Camp O'Donnell was a death trap. As many as fifty men died each day. There was only one water faucet for the entire camp. To get out of the camp, many of the POWs volunteered to go out on work details. It is not known what work details Ancel went out on to get out of Camp O'Donnell.
Ancel was next
held as a prisoner at Cabanatuan. After
arriving in the camp, he was sent to "Zero Ward"
on July 9, 1942, suffering from malaria.
Zero Ward was the camp hospital. It was
given its name since most of the POWs who entered
it did not leave alive. No date for his
release is given on the roster of POWs in the
The POWs on the this detail built
runways with picks and shovels literally leveling
hills by hand. The rubble from the hill was
put into mining cars and pushed by two POWs who
dumped the cars in a swamp to create landfill for
shown to the POWs
The first Japanese
commander of the
camp, a Lt. Moto,
was called the
because he wore a
was commander of
the camp for
day a POW
working on the
was told about the
man and came out
and ordered him to
get up. When
he couldn't four
were made to carry
the man back to
On October 11, 1944, Ancel was boarded onto the Arisan Maru. With him were Vernon Bussell, Robert Cloyd, John Cummins, John Babb, James Sallee, George Boyce, James Carter and William Jardot. At one time or another, all these men had been members of D Company.
The Arisan Maru set sail for Japan and took a southerly route away from Formosa. The ship anchored in a cove off the Island of Palawan. This resulted in the ship missing an air attack by American planes. The ship returned to the Manila on October 20th where it joined twelve ship convoy.
On October 23rd, the convoy left Manila and entered the South China Sea. The American submarines in the area had no idea what the cargo of the ships was, since the Japanese refused to mark POW ships with red crosses to indicate they were carrying POWs.
According to the survivors of the Arisan Maru, on Tuesday, October 24, 1944, near 5:00 pm, POWs were on deck preparing the meal for those in the ship's two holds. The ship was off the coast of China, in the Bashi Channel, of the South China Sea. The Japanese on deck ran to the stem of the ship. As they watched, a torpedo passed to the front of the ship. The Japanese ran to the stern and watched another torpedo pass behind the ship. There was a sudden jar caused by the ship being hit amidships by two torpedoes. The ship stopped dead in the water. It is believed that the submarine that fired the torpedoes was the U.S.S Snook.
As the Japanese abandoned ship, they cut the rope ladders into the holds. The POWs in the first hold were able to climb out and attached and lowered rope ladders to those in the first hold. They also dropped rope ladders down to the POWs in the second hold.
Many of the POWs attempted to escape the ship by clinging to rafts, hatch covers, flotsam and jetsam. Most of the POWs survived the attack but died because the Japanese refused to rescue them. The Japanese destroyers in the convoy deliberately pulled away from the POWs as they attempted to reach them. When POWs attempted to climb onto the a ship, the Japanese beat them with clubs until they fell off the ship.
According to the five POWs who found an abandoned lifeboat, the Arisan Maru slowly got lower in the water. At some point, the ship split in two. The exact time that it sank is unknown since it sank after dark. Cries for help could be heard from every direction. Finally, there was silence.
Pfc. Ancel Crick lost his life when the Arisan Maru was torpedoed in the South China Sea. Of the 1803 POWs on the ship, only nine survived the sinking. Only eight men would survive to the end of the war. Since he was lost at sea, Pfc. Ancel E. Crick's name is inscribed on the Tablets of the Missing at the American Military Cemetery outside of Manila.