Pfc. Joseph Herbert Twa
Pfc. Joseph H. Twa was born in Biggar, Saskatchewan, Canada, on May 26, 1919. He was the son of Wilbur Twa & Mabel Sirr-Twa. It is known that he had one sister and three brothers. While he was a child, his family moved to Eagle Creek, Indiana. He left high school after one year and was working as a farmhand in Porter County, Indiana, in 1940.
On March 13,
1941, Joseph was inducted into the U. S.
Army. He left for Fort Knox, Kentucky, from
Ft. Harrison, Indiana. He was one of
fourteen men from Porter County, Indiana, inducted
into the Army for what was suppose to be one year
of military service.
Joe took his basic training at Fort Knox, Kentucky, where he trained as gunner. He was assigned to the 753rd Tank Battalion. The medium tank battalion was sent to Camp Polk, Louisiana in the late summer of 1941, but it did not take part in the maneuvers that were going on at the fort.
Joe and the
other members of the 753rd were informed that the
192nd Tank Battalion was looking for soldiers to
fill vacancies in its roster. These
vacancies had been created when the older and
married members of the battalion were released
from military service. Joe volunteered to
replace a National Guardsman and was assigned to B
Company on October 14, 1941.
On April 9, 1942 at Mariveles Point, Joe became a Prisoner Of War. With B Company, he made his way to Mariveles. It was from this barrio at the southern tip of Bataan that Joseph took part in the death march.
The first camp Joe was held at as a prisoner was Camp O'Donnell. As many as fifty men died a day in the camp from disease. To get out of the camp, he volunteered to go out on the bridge building detail. The detail consisted of several hundred POWs.
While working on the bridge near Calumpit, he and the other POWs were housed in a school. Their daily meal consisted of rice and fish. The POWs often were sick with beriberi, malaria, and dysentery. He and the other POWs were there from April until July 1st. They were then sent to rebuild a bridge near the barrio of Cabanatuan. Four POWs died on the trip there and where buried along the road between Apalit and San Fernando.
During the trip a POW escaped and the Japanese commanding officer selected the five largest POWs for punishment. At a schoolyard at Capalangan the five POWs were shot in front of the local Filipinos. They were buried in a field west of the school near a bean shaped pond.
detail ended, he was sent to the POW camp near
Cabanatuan. After arriving at the
camp, he was admitted to the camp hospital on July
3rd suffering from dysentery. Other records
indicate, he was still in the hospital on July
20th. After being released from the
hospital, Joe worked on the burial detail at
the camp. His family received the news that
he was a POW on June 3, 1943.
shown to the POWs
on the detail was
commander of the
camp, a Lt. Moto,
was called the
because he wore a
was commander of
the camp for
day a POW
working on the
was told about the
man and came out
and ordered him to
get up. When
he couldn't four
were made to carry
the man back to
developed beriberi while on the detail and was
admitted to the hospital ward at Bilibid Prison on
September 23, 1944. Records from the ward
show he was discharged on September 30th and
returned to the work detail. During his time
as a POW, his parents received only three post
cards from him. The last one was received on
June 23, 1945.
On October 21st, the Hokusen Maru sailed for Takao, Formosa, and arrived there the night of October 24th. This was the same day the the Arisan Maru, the ship Joseph was originally scheduled to sail on, was sunk in the Bashi Channel of the south China Sea. The POWs on the ship learned this because four survivors, from the ship, were put on the Hokusen Maru while it was anchored at Takao. Joseph and the other POWs remained in the hold until November 8th when they were disembarked.
On Formosa, Joe was held at Toroku Camp. The POWs worked various jobs. Most worked in the processing of sugarcane. Joe remained in this camp until January 20, 1945 when many of the POWs were boarded onto the Enoshima Maru. The ship sailed on January 25th and arrived at Moji, Japan on January 30th.
In Japan, Joe was held at POW camp in the Sendai Area. Which camp is not known at this time. When the camp was closed because of fire damage, he was sent to Maibara Camp #10-B sometime around May 15, 1945. He remained there until the end of the war when the camp was liberated on September 11th.
Joe returned home and was discharged, from the army, on May 10, 1946, at Atterbury Separation Center. He married and raised a family. In August, 1946, Joseph became a U.S. citizen, and he would later move to California. Joseph H. Twa passed away on September 29, 1991, and was buried in Section 42, Site 592, at buried at Riverside National Cemetery in Riverside, California.
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