Maj. Maynard Goldman Snell
    Major Maynard G. Snell was the son of Benjamin F. Snell & Mattie E. Goldman-Snell and was born in 1901.  It is known that he grew up, with his brother and sister, in Lampasas County, Texas.  After high school, he attended Texas A&M College and earned a Bachelors of Science degree in 1921.  He next attended New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts, which is now New Mexico State University, where he earned a Masters Degree in Veterinary Medicine.      

   
    Snell became a college professor and served on the faculty of Louisiana State University.  He was also a published author.  At the same time that he was teaching, he served in the Army Reserve.  He worked at Louisiana State until February 26, 1941, when he was called to active duty in the army. 

    At Fort Benning, Georgia, Snell attended Officers Training School.  Upon completion of this program, he was sent to Camp Bowie, Texas.  It was from there that he was sent to Angel Island in San Francisco Bay to join his new unit the 192nd Tank Battalion.
   
   
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.
   
    Around 12:45 in the afternoon on December 8, 1941, as the tankers were getting lunch,  planes approached the airfield.  At first, the soldiers thought the planes were American.  It was only when bombs began exploding on the airfield that they knew the planes were Japanese.  The bombers were followed by fighters which strafed the area.  

    During this time, Snell mentioned in a letter home that he had been assigned as a liaison officer to Gen. MacArthur's staff.   The envelope that the letter came in appeared to be homemade.  Although in this role he never saw action, he did have the job seeing that the tankers received the necessary food and other supplies so that they could continue to fight.   In the same letter, he mentioned that Lt. Willie Heard, another member of the 192nd and a law student at Louisiana State, was also with him in the Philippines.
    In another letter written in February 1942, he told his parents:


    "The last two months have been quite an experience for us.  The Japs started their offensive on December 8th and have rapidly most of the island of Luzon, on which Manila is located.  What has happened in the rest of the island, I do not know.  I do know that a considerable portion of the news we hear over the radio is exaggerated.
    For example, after the first raid on Ft. Stotsenberg by the Japs, radio reported that the 192nd Tank Battalion had been wiped out.  As a matter of fact, that battalion's tanks had been hidden in the woods for the protection of Clark Field and their casualties were less than 0.02 per dent.  Jap bombings from the air were heavy and their forces were considerably larger than ours.  During the fighting that followed, casualties have naturally occurred but the estimates of the Jap losses have been as nine to one for the Americans."


    In another excerpt from the letter, he said:


    "With no more fighting that is going on at the present.  We could hold on indefinitely."


    On April 9, 1942, Snell became a Prisoner of War when Bataan was surrendered to the Japanese.  The next morning, the Japanese entered the battalion’s bivouac and ordered the tankers to Mariveles.  It was from there that the tankers started the march from Bataan. 

    The tankers were now guarded by non-combat troops who mistreated the POWs who took pleasure at making the POWs suffer.  They were forced to march at a faster pace by these guards.  When the POWs reached Orani, they were placed in a barbed wire enclosure.   
   
Before they reached the enclosure, the Americans could smell it.  Once in the enclosure, they were ordered to sit down.  Since there were already POWs in the enclosure, all they could do was sit.  A pit had been dug in one corner of the bull pen as a washroom.  The pit alive with movement from the maggots that covered it.  

    The POWs soon found that the sun was now the enemy.  The pen had no cover for them and beat down on them.  They soon realized that they were being given “the Sun treatment.”  They were left in the pen all day.  Those who could not take the sun grew delirious and began to scream.  This was soon followed by death.

    During the afternoon, the Japanese finally fed the prisoners.  Each man received three tablespoons of rice.  Many of the POWs developed hiccups after eating the rice.

    The POWs were ordered to fall- and they began to march again.  As the POWs made their way north, they were passed by Japanese soldiers in trucks.  Some could speak English and shouted insults at them. 

    The POWs finally reached San Fernanado.  There, the POWs were put into another bull pen.  Once again, they received the sun treatment.  In addition, the bodies of the dead were left in the pen.  The Japanese would not allow them to be moved.  At last the POWs were marched to the train station.  Where, they were packed into small wooden boxcars. 

    The boxcars could hold forty men or eight horses.  The Japanese packed 100 men into each car.  The POWs were so close together that those who died remained standing until the living left the cars at Capas.  From there, the prisoners walked the last ten miles to Camp O'Donnell.

    Snell was held at Camp O'Donnell.  Conditions in the camp were extremely bad.  For the 12,000 POWs in the camp, there was only one water spigot.  Men literally died for a drink.  Conditions in the camp were so bad that the Japanese opened a new camp at Cabanatuan.       

    After the Americans landed in the Philippines, the Japanese began to send large numbers of POWs to other parts of their empire. On September 24, 1944, Ted and the other prisoners were sent to Bilibid Prison.  On December 8th, the Japanese told the American medical staff of the prisoners to put together a list of POWs who were healthy enough to be sent to Japan.

    On the morning of December 12th, row was taken and Snell's name was on the list.  That evening, Snell said his goodbyes to his friends.  At 4:00 A.M. on December 13th, the POWs were awakened and fed breakfast.  They were also given a meal to take with them.  In addition, the POWs were told they would receive, cigarettes, soap, and salt. 

    The POWs were allowed to roam the prison until ordered to form ranks.  When the order was given, 1,619 POWs were marched down Luzon Boulevard to Pier 7 in Manila.  As they marched they noticed that the street cars were not running.  When they reached the harbor, they noticed many of the ships in the harbor were damaged from American attacks.

    After arriving at Pier 7, the POWs were allowed to sit down.  Many fell asleep and slept to around 3:45.  About 5:00 P.M., the POWs were boarded onto the Oryoku Maru for transport to Japan. 

    Snell was held in the rear hold.  The sides of the hold had two tiers of bunks that went around the diameter.  The POWs near the hatch used anything they could find to fan the air to the POWs further away from it. 

     The ship remained docked in Manila and did not sail until 3:30 A.M. as part of the Convoy-37.  Inside the holds, the temperature was near 100 degrees.  The POWs could tell they were in open water from the wave swells.

    It was during the night of Wednesday, December 13, 1944, that Major Maynard G. Snell collapsed and died in the rear hold of the ship.  After his death, his body was thrown overboard.  His name appears on the Tablets of the Missing at the American Military Cemetery at Manila.







 

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