Pvt. William James Haviland
Pvt. William J. Haviland was
born in Cleveland, Ohio, in April 1919. He
was the son of Paul & Cecila Haviland.
After his parents divorced, with his brother, he
was raised at his maternal grandparent's house at
9516 Leo Avenue in Cleveland.
On March 22, 1941, William was inducted into the U. S. Army and sent to Fort Knox, Kentucky for basic training. At Ft. Knox, he was assigned to the 753rd Tank Battalion. During this time he was trained as a radio operator.
William's battalion was sent to Camp Polk, Louisiana, but did not take part in the maneuvers being held there. While they were there, the 192nd Tank Battalion received orders for overseas duty. Replacements were sought for the National Guardsmen who were released from federal service. William volunteered to join the 192nd and was assigned to A Company. He then received a leave home to say goodbye to friends and family.
Upon returning to Camp Polk, the battalion
boarded trains and headed to San
Francisco. They then took ferries to Angel
Island where they received physicals and
The battalion traveled by train to
San Francisco. By ferry, they
were taken to Ft. McDowell on Angel
Island. On the island, 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 join the
battalion at a later date.
The morning of December 8, 1941, the tankers were ordered to the perimeter of Clark Field. They had received the news that morning of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Around 12:45 in the afternoon, planes approached the airfield, the tankers thought they were American until bombs began exploding around them.
During the next four months, William fought to slow the Japanese conquest of the Philippines. On April 9, 1942, he became a Prisoner of War when Bataan was surrendered to the Japanese. From Mariveles at the southern tip of Bataan, William began what became known as the Bataan Death March.
William made his way from Mariveles to San Fernando with little food and almost no water. At San Fernando, he and the other POWs were packed into small wooden boxcars used for hauling sugarcane. Each car could hold eight horses or forty men. The Japanese put 100 men into each car. Those who died remained standing since there was no place for them to fall. At Capas, those still living left the boxcars and walked the last few miles to Camp O'Donnell.
Camp O'Donnell was a death trap with only one
water faucet for 12,000 men. As many as 75
men died each day from disease and lack of
food. He was next held at Cabanatuan where
he was assigned to Barracks 10.
On August 27, 1944, William was one of 1,035 POWs who were boarded onto the Noto Maru. The ship arrived at Formosa on August 29th and, after a stop there, sailed for Japan on September 7th. After a stop at F ormosa, the ship arrived at Moji, Japan on September 9th. The POWs then were taken by train to Hanawa 300 miles away.
At Sendai #6 outside of Hanawa, William and the other POWs were worked in a copper mine owned by Mitshubishi. The mine had been reopened after being closed as unsafe. To get to the mine, the POWs had to walk up a road to the mountain where the mine was located. Often, they walked through snow that was waist deep. They climbed stairs to the mine's rim and then descended into the mine. The guards used an entrance that had been cut to reach the mine at the mountain's base.
Sometime during his imprisonment, William developed pneumonia and tuberculosis. On Friday, June 1, 1945, Pvt. William J. Haviland died of tuberculosis at Sendai #6.
After the war, William's remains were returned to the Philippines. He is buried at the American Military Cemetery outside of Manila.