Cpl. Robert M. Harrie
Cpl. Robert M. Harrie was the
son of Charles F. Harrie & Bessie
Gordon-Harrie. He was born on November 9,
1922, in Whitestown, Wisconsin. His mother
died and his father remarried. Robert moved
to Janesville, Wisconsin, with his family, where
he attended elementary school and high
school. It is known that he had two
sisters, two half-brothers, and three half
sisters. After high school, he worked
for the Janesville Gazette.
While he was in high school, Robert joined the Wisconsin National Guard's 32nd Tank Company headquartered in the armory in Janesville. Since he was sixteen, he was discharged. In 1940, he reenlisted in the National Guard.
While he was still in high school, the tank
company was federalized as A Company, 192nd Tank
Battalion. Robert left high school in
November, 1940 and traveled to Ft. Knox,
Kentucky, for nine months of training.
In the late summer of 1941, Robert as a member
of the 192nd took part in the Louisiana
maneuvers of 1941. After the maneuvers he
and the other members of the battalion learned
that their time in the military had been
extended. They were sent to Camp Polk
arriving there on September 30th. On
October 14th, the company received M3
morning of December 8th, December 7th in the
United States, the 192nd was told of the
attack on Pearl Harbor. They returned
to their positions around Clark Field.
A week earlier, they had been given assigned
positions around the airfield to guard
against enemy paratroopers. At 8:30,
the American planes took off and filled the
sky. They landed at noon and lined up,
in a straight line, near the mess
hall. The pilots
went to lunch.
As the Filipino and American forces entered Bataan, A Company took up a position near the south bank of the Gumain River. Knowing that the Filipino Army was in front of them allowed the tankers to get some sleep. It was that night that the Japanese lunched an attack to cross the river. Robert climbed out of his tank to see what was going on and had the steel helmet he was wearing shot off his head. He got back into the tank.
Robert spent the next four months fighting the Japanese. On April 9, 1942, he became a Prisoner of War when Bataan was surrendered to the Japanese. He and the other members of A Company made their way to Mariveles where they began the death march.
Robert, and the other POWs, marched for days
without food or water. At San Fernando, he
and the other POWs were packed into wooden
boxcars used for hauling sugarcane. The
POWs were packed in so tightly, that men
suffocated from lack of
On Tuesday, September 9, 1942, he was readmitted to the camp hospital. Cpl. Robert M. Harrie died from dysentery on Saturday, November 21, 1942, at 10:30 PM. He was 20 years old. His parents learned of his death in August, 1943.
After the war, his
family asked that Robert's remains be returned
to Janesville. He was reburied at Milton
Lawn Cemetery in Janesville on July 23,