Hubbard

 

Pfc. Robert R. Hubbard


    Pfc. Robert R. Hubbard was born on February 20, 1919, and grew up in Evansville, Wisconsin.  He was the son of Mr. & Mrs. George Lindsey.  When he was a child, his mother put him and his brother and sisters up for adoption.   He was the adopted by Ray &  Harriet Hubbard and resided at 3035 South Madison Street in Evansville.   

    Robert attended grade school and high school in Evansville.  After graduating from Evansville High School in 1937, he was a foundry worker for the Baker Manufacturing Company in Evansville.

    In 1939, Robert joined the Wisconsin National Guard's 32nd Divisional Tank Company in Janesville, Wisconsin.  He was called to federal service when the tank company was sent to Fort Knox, Kentucky as a member of A Company, 192nd Tank Battalion on November 25, 1940.

    After nearly a year of training, Robert took part in maneuvers in Louisiana.  After the maneuvers, the battalion was gathered on the side of a hill at Camp Polk, Louisiana.  Expecting to hear that their time in federal service was over, they were shocked to learn that they were being sent overseas.
    From Camp Polk, the battalion traveled west over four different train routes.  Arriving in San Francisco, the soldiers were ferried to Ft. McDowell on Angel Island.  On the island, the soldiers were given physicals and inoculated for tropical diseases. Those with health issues were released from service and replaced.
    The battalion sailed from San Francisco on Monday, October 27th for Hawaii, on the U.S.S. Hugh L. Scott, as part of a three ship convoy.  They arrived in Hawaii on Sunday, November 2nd, and had a layover.  The soldiers received passes and allowed to explore the islands.  They sailed again on October 29th for Guam.  When the ships arrived at Guam, they took on bananas, vegetables, coconuts, and water.  The soldiers remained on ship since the convoy was sailing the next day. About 8:00 in the morning on November 20th, the ships arrived at Manila Bay.  After arriving at Manila, it was three or four hours before they disembarked.  Most of the battalion boarded trucks and rode to Ft. Stotsenburg north of Manila.
    At the fort, the tankers were met by General Edward King.  King welcomed them and made sure that they had what they needed.  He also was apologetic that there were no barracks for the tankers and that they had to live in tents.  The fact was he had not learned of their arrival until days before they arrived.

    On December 8, 1941, just ten hours after the surprise attack on Clark Field, the Japanese bombed Clark Airfield.  The tankers had been placed around the perimeter of the airfield to prevent paratroopers from being used.

    Robert's parents received two letters from him before and after he became a prisoner.  The first was written before the surrender of Bataan in January 1942, but it was received in March 1942.  The second was written March 1942 and received in August of that year.

    Because of the poor diet, Robert broke out with sores on his hands and arms.  It is believed that this was caused by the poor diet.

    After four months of fighting, Robert became a Prisoner of War when Bataan was surrendered to the Japanese.  Robert took part in the death march and was first held at Camp O'Donnell.  When Cabanatuan opened, he was sent there.   What is known about Robert's time at Cabanatuan is that he was hospitalized for malaria sometime in 1942.  He recovered and was discharged.

    On October 6, 1942, Robert was sent to the Port Area of Manila to Pier 7.  The POWs were boarded onto the Tottori Maru the next day and divided into two groups.  One group was placed in the aft hold.  They were packed in so tightly they could not move.  They also would be held for days in total darkness.  Their bathroom were buckets. In addition, the hold as been used to haul livestock and not be cleaned.  The second group remained on deck.

     On October 8, 1942, the Tottori Maru sailed for Takao, Formosa.  The second day out of Manila, the ship was attacked by an American submarine.  The crew of the sub had no way of knowing it was carrying POWs since the Japanese did not mark it with "Red Crosses."  The POWs on deck reported seeing the wakes of two torpedoes that were fired at the ship.  The crew of the ship maneuvered it to avoid the torpedoes.  Each passed the ship harmlessly.  The ship arrived at Takao on October 12, 1942.

    The ship left Takao on the 16th but returned to Takao.  It sailed again on the 18th for the Pecadores Islands north of Formosa and arrived there the same day.  It anchored off the islands until the 27th when it sailed for Takao.  It arrived there the same day.  The POWs were taken ashore and bathed with firehoses.

    The ship sailed for the Makau, Pecadores Islands on the 30th arriving the same day.  It sailed the next day for Fusan, Korea arriving there on November 8th.  There, the POWs were unloaded and boarded onto a train.  The remains of those who had died were unloaded and taken to a crematorium.  After cremation, the ashes were placed in small white boxes and sent to Hoten Camp in Manchuria.

    From Pusan, the POWs made a two day train trip to Hoten Camp, Mukden, Manchuria.  The sub-camp he was assigned to was known as Shenyang.  The POWs in this camp worked in either a sawmill or tool shop.  He was POW #353.  

     It was while he was a POW there that Robert had an acute attack of dysentery.  Since the medics had no medicine and the POWs were inadequately fed, there was very little that could be done for him.  He was put into the Mukden Prisoner of War Hospital. 

    Pfc. Robert Hubbard died on Sunday, January 3, 1943, of dysentery and pellagra at Hoten Camp, Mukden, Manchuria.  He was 23 years old.  Since he died during the winter and the ground was frozen solid, his body was stored in a building until the ground thawed in the spring.  He was finally buried in Plot 16, Group 2.  His parents received word of his death in May.

    After the war in November 1949, Robert's remains be returned to Evansville.  The photo below was taken at his grave at Maple Hill Cemetery in Evansville, Wisconsin. 


 

 

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