Lane H.

 

Pvt. Harold Dale Lane


    Pvt. Harold D. Lane was born on November 13, 1921, in Litchfield, Illinois.  He was the son of Mary Evaline Beck-Lane & Homer Lane.  His family lived at 622 South 24th Avenue in Bellwood and later 142 South Eleventh Avenue in Maywood.  Harold attended local schools in Bellwood and was a member of the class of 1939 of Proviso Township High School.  He left school early and worked at American Can Company in Maywood.

    In 1939, Harold joined the Illinois National Guard.  On November 25, 1940, he was called to federal service when the tank company was called to federal service for one year.

    Harold trained at Fort Knox, Kentucky, for almost a year.  During this time, he qualified as a motorcycle messenger for his company.  He then took part in maneuvers in Louisiana in the late summer of 1941. 
    After the maneuvers he and the other members of the battalion remained behind at Camp Polk.  None of them had any idea why they had not returned to Ft. Knox.   The battalion members learned that they were being sent overseas.  Those 29 years old or older were given the chance to resign from federal service. 
Harold received a furlough home.  It is likely that it was at this time that he married.  His wife, Adeline, in Davenport, Iowa.  The couple would setup their home at 142 South 11th Avenue in Maywood.

    After the companies were brought up to strength with replacements for the men released from federal service, the battalion was equipped with new tanks and halftracks.  The battalion traveled over three different railroad routes to Angel Island in San Francisco Bay. 
    On the island, the soldiers were inoculated and received physicals.  Those who had minor medical issues were held back and scheduled to rejoin the battalion at a later date. 

    The 192nd was boarded onto the U.S.A.T. Hugh L. Scott and sailed from San Francisco on Monday, October 27th, for Hawaii as part of a three ship convoy.  For many, it would be the last time that they would ever see the United States.  The battalion arrived at Honolulu on Sunday, November 2nd.  The soldiers were given leaves so they could see the island.  On Tuesday, November 4th, 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.  

    Seventeen days before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Harold and the other members of Company B arrived in Manila.  The battalion was deployed Fort 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.  They spent the next seven days preparing their equipment for use in the maneuvers they expected to take part in.

    Harold lived through the attack on Clark Airfield.  He spent the next four months fighting to slow the Japanese conquest of the Philippines.  On April 9, 1942, Harold became a Prisoner Of War.  He most likely took part in what would become known as the "Bataan Death March" and was held at Camp O'Donnell.  

    Realizing that Camp O'Donnell was a death trap, Harold volunteered to go out on a detail to Pampanga Province.  The POWs on the detail tied together vehicles which had been disabled during the withdraw into Bataan.  They drove the vehicles to San Fernando.  From there, the vehicles were taken to Manila and sent to Japan.

    At some point on the detail, Harold came down with malaria, and he also developed beriberi.  He was returned to Cabanatuan.  According to medical records kept at the camp hospital, he was admitted to the camp hospital on July 4, 1942.  He remained in the hospital until he was discharged on August 3, 1942. 

    On August 17, 1944, Harold and other POWs were sent to Bilibid Prison.  There, they we remained for about two weeks. During this time he was given a physical.  It was determined that he was healthy enough to be transported to Japan.  

    Harold and 1000 other POWs were taken to the Port Area of Manila and boarded onto the Noto Maru July 15th.  All 1033 POWs were packed into the ship's only hold.  These ships were known as "Hell Ships" because of the conditions that the prisoners endured.

    On July 17, 1944, the Noto Maru sailed for Takao, Formosa, as part of a convoy.  During the trip, the convoy was attacked by an American submarine.  Another ship carrying 1500 POWs was sunk.  Arriving in Formosa on July 27th, the ship anchored for the night before sailing the next day for Moji, Japan.  The ship arrived at Moji on August 3rd.  From there, the POWs were dispersed among various POW camps.

    Harold was sent to Tokyo Base Camp #1 at Omori.  There, he and the other prisoners worked in a coal mine.  The diet of the POWs in the camp consisted of barley, millet. miso soup.  Once in awhile the POWs would receive potatoes,  seaweed, octopus,  and a giant radish known as daikon.  He remained in the camp until he was liberated when Japan surrendered in September of 1945.  It should be mentioned that after the war a number of POWs, from the camp, made propaganda broadcasts for the Japanese.

    Harold returned to the Philippines, by plane, for medical treatment.  It was at this time that he was promoted to staff sergeant.  He returned home to Maywood, Illinois, and was discharged, from the army, on December 16, 1945.  He returned to Proviso Township High School, as a student, to earn his diploma.  He would later reside in Rockford, Illinois, and became the father of a daughter and son.  Harold worked as a machinist until he retired and moved to New Mexico.

    Harold D. Lane died on January 22, 1994, and was buried in Section  9,  Site  1826, at Santa Fe National Cemetery in Santa Fe, New Mexico.


 

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