Lovering

 

Tec 5 Fred William Lovering Jr.


    T/5. Fred William Lovering Jr. was born July 16, 1918, in Oak Park, Illinois, to Frederick W. Lovering Sr., & Francis M. Kruchow-Lovering.  He was one of the couple's four children.  As a child, he grew up at 330 South 22nd Street in Bellwood, Illinois.  When he was eleven, his father died leaving his mother to raise the children alone.  

    To work, Fred's mother placed her children in the Bensenville Home which was an orphanage in Bensenville, Illinois.  After graduating from Tioga Grade School, Fred started school at Bensenville High School but transferred to Proviso Township High School when he was brought home to Bellwood before his sophomore year.

    Fred enlisted in the Illinois National Guard's 33rd Tank Company which was headquartered in an armory in Maywood.  He did this in spite of mother's objecting to his enlisting.  On October 11, 1940, before he left for Ft. Knox, Kentucky, Fred married Thelma McMullin.

    On November 25, 1940, Fred traveled to Fort Knox when the tank company was federalized.  His company was now B Company, 192nd Tank Battalion.  At first, Fred and the other members of the company lived in tents until their barracks were completed.

    When Headquarters Company was formed in January, 1941, Fred was selected to be transferred to the company.  It is not known what his duties with the company were, but the company's main job was to insure that the letter companies received ammunition and gasoline for the tanks.

    After taking part in maneuvers in Louisiana, Fred learned that his battalion was being sent overseas.  He returned home and said his goodbyes.  Fred traveled to Camp Polk, where the battalion loaded their equipment onto trains.
    The battalion traveled west by train to San Francisco.  Arriving there, they were taken by ferry to Angel Island in San Francisco Bay.  At Ft. McDowell, they were given physicals and inoculated.   Those men found to have a minor medical condition were held back and scheduled to rejoin 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 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. 
  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.
A little over two weeks later, he survived the Japanese attack on Clark Field.  

    Fred and the other members of HQ Company spent the next four months working to supply the letter companies.  On April 9, 1942, Capt. Fred Bruni informed the members of HQ Company of the surrender.  Fred and the other men remained in the camp for two days before they were ordered to move out to the road that passed their encampment.  Once on the road, they knelt alongside of it facing the road.  The Japanese soldiers passing them took whatever they wanted from Fred and the other men's possessions.  This was Fred's first experience of life as a Japanese Prisoner of War. 

    HQ Company boarded trucks and drove to Mariveles.  From there, they walked to Mariveles Airfield and sat and waited.  As they waited, Fred and the other men noticed a line of Japanese soldiers forming across from them.  They soon realized that this was a firing squad and the Japanese were going to kill them.

     As they sat watching and waiting to see what the Japanese intended to do, a Japanese officer in a car pulled up to the Japanese soldiers.  He got out and spoke to the sergeant in charge of the detail.  The officer got back in the car and drove off.  The Japanese sergeant ordered the soldiers to lower their guns.  

    Later in the day, Fred and the other POWs were moved to a school yard in Mariveles.  In the school yard, they found themselves in front of Japanese artillery firing on Corregidor and Ft. Drum.  When Corregidor and Ft. Drum began returning fire, shells began landing among the POWs who had no place to hide.  Some of the POWs were killed.

    The POWs were again ordered to move by the Japanese.  Fred and the other men had no idea that with this move they had started what became known as the death march.

    During the march Fred received no water and little food.  At San Fernando, he was put into a steel boxcar and taken to Capas.  As he and the other prisoners disembarked from the cars, the bodies of those who had died on the trip fell out.  From Capas, Fred walked the last few miles to Camp O' Donnell. 

    Camp O'Donnell was a nightmare.  As many as 50 men died each day from the diseases running wild in the camp.  For water, the POWs had to stand in line for days to get water from the one spigot in the camp.  Many died of thirst as they waited to get a drink.  As many as 50 POWs died each day while the living worked endlessly to bury the dead.

    When Cabanatuan was opened to relieve the conditions at Camp O'Donnell, Fred was sent to this new camp.  While he was a POW there, the army changed his rank from private to Tec 5.  This was in June 1942.  He also developed cerebral malaria and sent to the camp hospital on Thursday, July 9, 1942.

   It was at Cabanatuan that T/5 Fred W. Lovering died of cerebral malaria on Monday, July 13, 1942.  His time of death was approximately 3:30 PM.  His family did not learn of his death until July, 1945.  

     After the war,  Fred's remains were returned to Illinois at the request of his mother.  T/5 Fred W. Lovering Jr. was reburied, next to his father, at Elm Lawn Cemetery in Elmhurst, Illinois.  Since his mother could not afford to pay to have a headstone placed on his grave, T/5 Fred W. Lovering was laid to rest in an unmarked grave.  

    In early November 2004, through the efforts of the President of the Maywood Bataan Day Organization, Col. Richard McMahon, U.S.A., Ret., a military headstone was placed on T/5 Fred W. Lovering Jr.'s grave.  The placement of the headstone ended fifty-five years of Fred Lovering lying in an unmarked grave.


 

 

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