Haviland

 

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 inoculations.

      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 192nd was boarded onto the U.S.S. Hugh L. Scott and sailed from San Francisco on Monday, October 27th, for Hawaii as part of a three ship convoy.  They arrived at Honolulu on Sunday, November 2nd.  The soldiers were given leaves so they could see the island.  On November 5th, the ships sailed for Guam.   At one point, the ships passed an island at night.  While they passed the island, they did so in total blackout.  This for many of the soldiers was a sign that they were being sent into harm's way.  When they arrived at Guam, the ships took on water, bananas, coconuts, and vegetables.  The ships sailed the same day for Manila and entered Manila Bay on Thursday, November 20th.  They docked at Pier 7 and the soldiers were taken by bus to Ft. Stotsenburg. 
    At the fort, they were greeted by Gen. Edward King.  The general apologized that the men had to live in tents along the main road between the fort and Clark Airfield.  He made sure that they all received Thanksgiving Dinner before he went to have his own. 
Ironically, November 20th was the date that the National Guard members of the battalion had expected to be released from federal service.
   
For the next seventeen days the tankers worked to remove cosmoline from their weapons.  The grease was put on the weapons to protect them from rust while at sea.  They also loaded ammunition belts and did tank maintenance.
   According to membes of the battalion, they were getting ready to take part in maneuvers.

    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.  
    According to medical recoords kept by the hospital staff at the camp, William was admitted to the hospital on Thursday, October 8, 1942, suffering from diphtheria.  The date he was discharged is not in the report.  The records also show that he was readmitted to the camp hospital on May 24, 1943.  No reason was given for his being admitted and no date of discharge was given.
    It is known William was selected for a work detail to build runways at Las Pinas.  He would later build runways at Clark Field and remained on this detail until August 20, 1944.  He was sent back to Manila and held as a POW at Bilibid Prison.

    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.


 

 

Return to A Company

Next