Pvt. Raymond Jospeh McCreanor
What is known as Pvt. Raymond
J. McCreanor was that he was born on March 7,
1917, in Warren, Ohio. He was the son of
Frank & Rose McCreanor. With his two
sisters and four brothers, he was raised at 243
Lowell Avenue Northeast in Warren. He
graduated high school and worked at a steel mill
as an inspector.
Raymond was inducted into the U. S. Army on March 28, 1941, in Cleveland and joined the 192nd Tank Battalion at Fort Knox, Kentucky in early 1941. He was assigned to C Company to fill out the company's roster.
He took part in maneuvers in the late summer of 1941. After the maneuvers, at Camp Polk, Louisiana, he learned he was being sent overseas with his battalion. After a leave home, he traveled west, by train, to San Francisco. There, his company was taken by ferry to Angel Island. During his stay, he was inoculated and received a physical.
Arriving in the Philippines, the soldiers were rushed to Ft. Stotsenburg. Once there, they were housed in tents since their barracks were unfinished.
The morning of December 8, 1941, the tankers were informed of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor just ten hours earlier. They were ordered to the perimeter of Clark Airfield to guard against Japanese paratroopers.
All morning, the sky was filled with American planes. At noon, the planes landed and the pilots went to lunch. At 12:45, the tankers hears planes approaching the airfield from the north. When bombs began exploding on the runways, they knew the planes were Japanese.
Raymond fought the Japanese until April 9, 1942, when he became a Prisoner of War. from Mariveles, at the southern tip of Bataan, he began what has become known as "the Death March." Raymond did the march with his future wife's brother, Edward Lenio, of Headquarters Company. At San Fernando, they, and the other POWs, were packed into small wooden boxcars. Those who died remained standing until the living left the cars at Capas. The POWs walked the last ten miles to Camp O'Donnell.
Camp O'Donnell was a deathtrap with as many as 50 POWs dying each day. The situation grew so bad that the Japanese opened a new POW camp and moved the "healthier" POWs there.
As a Prisoner of War, he was held at Cabanatuan. It is believed he went out on a work detail to Las Pinas.
In July 1944, Raymond was selected to transport to Japan. On July 17, 1944, at 8:00 A.M., he and the other POWs boarded the Nissyo Maru. The ship moved on July 18th to a breakwater in the harbor. It dropped anchor and remained there until July 23rd while a convoy formed. It moved again at 8:00 A.M., July 23rd. This time it dropped its anchor off Corregidor at 2:00 P.M.
The convoy sailed on July 24th and hugged the coastline of Luzon. At 3:00 A.M. on July 26th, one of the ships, the Otari Yama Maru, was hit by a torpedo from the U.S.S. Flasher which was a part of a three submarine wolf pack. When it exploded the POWs saw the flames from the explosion shoot over the hatch of the hold. The convoy reached Takao, Formosa, at 9:00 A.M on July 28th.
At 7:00 P.M. on July 28th, the ships sailed again. From July 30th to August 2nd, the convoy sailed through a storm. The next day the August 3rd, the POWs were issued new clothes. The ship arrived on August 4th at midnight at Moji, Japan. The POWs did not disembark the ship at 8:00 A.M. They were marched to a movie theater and held there in the dark.
The POWs formed detachments and marched to the train station. From there, they rode a train to the various POW camps along the line. Raymond arrived at a new POW camp known as Oeyama Camp. The POWs in this camp worked in a nickel refinery doing manual labor or were marched nearly six miles to a nickel mine. In 1945, the POWs began to be used as stevedores at the Miyazu docks.
In May, 1945, B-29s began bombing the industrial district in which the camp was located. The camp Raymond was held in was inside a factory complex. The bombings were so bad that the camp was totally destroyed by fire.
On July 30th, B-29s bombed Miyazu. Since the bombing run ran over the camp, two POWs were killed. About two weeks later, a massive air raid on the town took place and lasted all night until it ended about midday.
Raymond and the other prisoners unloaded food, coal and coke from ships for a nickel refinery. The food they unloaded was bound for the Japanese army. Raymond and the other POWs would steal a couple of pocketfuls of beans everyday.
While working at the mines, the POWs witnessed the atomic bomb explode over Nagasaki. They had no idea what they had just seen. Raymond remained a POW until he was liberated by American Occupational Forces on September 9, 1945. Before they were liberated, the former POWs made flags from parachutes representing the nationalities who had been held in the camp.
After being returned to Manila for medical treatment, Raymond returned home to Ohio. He married Clara Lenio, and they became the parents of a son and two daughters. He worked at American Welding and Manufacturing until he retired.
Raymond J. McCreanor passed away on August 2, 1982, in Warren, Ohio. He was buried at Saint Mary's Cemetery in Warren, Ohio.