AdairW
 

S/Sgt. Winfred Horace Adair


Born: 22 February 1917 - Vanderburgh County, Indiana
Parents: Arthur E. Adair & Lulu Mays-Adair
Siblings: 2 sisters, 1 brother
    - when he was a baby, he was put in an orphanage in Nashville, Tennessee
    - discovered his father was alive in 1937 in Evansville

Home: 617 North Sixth Avenue - Evansville, Indiana

    - 1935 - living in Nashville, Tennessee

Enlisted:
Education: 1 year - high school

    - U.S. Army 

        - 19 December 1939

Unit:

    - A Company, 19th Ordnance Battalion

    - company reorganized as 17th Ordnance Company

Training:

    - Ft. Knox, Kentucky

        - received orders to go overseas
Note:  The decision for this move -  which had been made on August 15, 1941 - was the result of an event that took place in the summer of 1941.  A squadron of American fighters was flying over Lingayen Gulf, in the Philippines, when one of the pilots, who was flying at a lower altitude, noticed something odd.  He took his plane down and identified a flagged buoy in the water and saw another in the distance.  He came upon more buoys that lined up, in a straight line for 30 miles to the northwest, in the direction of an Japanese occupied island which was hundred of miles away.  The island had a large radio transmitter.  The squadron continued its flight plan south to Mariveles and returned to Clark Field.
     When the planes landed, it was too late to do anything that day.  The next day, when another squadron was sent to the area, the buoys had been picked up by a fishing boat - with a tarp on its deck - which was seen making its way to shore.   Since communication between the Air Corps and Navy was difficult, the boat escaped.  It was at that time the decision was made to build up the American military presence in the Philippines.

Overseas Duty:
    - 4 September  1941
        - battalion traveled by train to Ft. Mason in San Francisco, California
    - Arrived: 7:30 A.M. - 5 September 1941
        - ferried to Ft. McDowell, Angel Island on U.S.A.T. General Frank M. Coxe
        - given physicals and inoculations
        - men with medical conditions replaced
    - Ship: U.S.S. President Coolidge
        - Boarded: Monday - 8 September 1941 - 3:00 P.M.
        - Sailed: 9:00 P.M. - same day
        - Arrived: Honolulu, Hawaii - Saturday - 13 September 1941 - 7:00 A.M.
        - Sailed: 5:00 P.M. - same day
            - escorted by heavy cruiser -  U.S.S. Astoria and an unknown destroyer
                - heavy cruiser intercepted several ships after smoke was seen on the horizon
                - ships belonged to friendly countries
        - Arrived: Manila - Friday - 26 September 1941
            - disembark ship - 3:00 P.M.
            - taken by bus to Fort Stostenburg
Stationed:
    - Ft. Stotsenburg - Philippine Islands

Engagements:

    - Battle of Luzon

        - 8 December 1941 - 6 January 1942

    - Battle of Bataan

        - 7 January 1942 - 9 April 1942

            - Philippine Islands

                - serviced tanks of the Provisional Tank Group
                - supplied ordnance to the tanks

Prisoner of War:

    - 9 April 1941

        - Death March

POW Camps:

    - Philippine Islands:

        - Camp O'Donnell
            - unfinished Filipino training base
            - Japanese put camp into use as POW Camp
            - only one water spigot for entire camp
            - as many as 50 POWs died each day
            - Japanese opened new POW camp to lower death rate
            - 1 June 1942 - POWs formed detachments of 100 men
                - POWs marched out gate and marched toward Capas
                    - Filipino people gave POWs small bundles of food
                        - the guards did not stop them
                - At Capas, the POWs were put into steel boxcars and rode them to Manila
                - train stopped at Calumpit and switched onto the line to Cabanatuan
                    - POWs disembark train at 6:00 P.M. and put into a school yard
                    - fed rice and onion soup

        - Cabanatuan

            - Philippine Army Base built for 91st Philippine Army Division
                - Japanese put base into use as a POW camp
            - "Blood Brother" rule implemented
                - if one POW in the group of 10 escaped, the other nine would be killed
            - work details sent out to cut wood for POW kitchens
                - many were able to smuggle in medicine, food, and tobacco
            - men who escaped and were later caught were executed
            - daily POW meal - 16 ounces of cooked rice, 4 ounces of vegetable oil, sweet potato or
               corn
            - hospitalized - 8 September 1942
                - malaria
            - discharged - no date given

        - Bilibid Prison:

                - admitted - October 1942
                    - malaria

                - discharged - 19 November 1942

                    - sent to "Front Office"

        - Ft. McKinley Detail:

            - Ft. McKinley
                - November, 1942

                - lived in barracks of 45th Infantry, Philippine Scouts

                - POW compound 300 feet by 150 feet

                    - POWs cleaned up junk

            - Nielsen Field

                - 29 January 1943 - detail moved there

                    - lived in four nipa hut barracks
                    - POWs built runways at airfields
                    - became ill while at Nielsen Airfield
        - Bilibid Prison

            - admitted: not known
            - discharged: 19 November 1942
                - sent to "Front Office"
            - admitted: 12 August 1943 - from Nielsen Field
                - recurring malaria
            - discharged: 30 August 1943 - to Cabanatuan

        - Cabanatuan
             - July 1944 - name appears on list for transfer to Japan
             - 15 July 1944
                - 25 to 30 trucks arrived at camp to transport POWs to Manila 
                - POWs left at 8:00 P.M.

        - Bilibid Prison
            - arrived at 2:00 A.M. - 16 July 1944
            - the only food the POWs received was rotten sweet potatoes

Hell Ship:
    - Nissyo Maru
        - Friday - 17 July 1944 - POWs left prison at 7:00 A.M.
        - Boarded ship: same day
            - Japanese attempted to put all the POWs in one hold
            - when they couldn't, they put 900 POWs in the forward hold
            - 600 POWs held in rear hold
        - Sailed: Manila - same day
            - dropped anchor at breakwater until 23 July 1944
            - POWs were not fed or given water for over a day and a half after being put in
              the ship's hold
            - POWs fed rice and vegetables twice a day and received two canteen cups of
               water each day
            - 23 July 1944 - 8:00 A.M. - ship moved to area off Corregidor and dropped
              anchor
        - Sailed: Monday - 24 July 1944 - as part of a convoy
            - some POWs cut the throats of other POWs and drank their blood
            - convoy attacked by American submarines
                - four of the thirteen ships in the convoy were sunk
                - a torpedo hit the ship but did not explode
        - Arrived: Takao, Formosa - Friday - 28 July 1944 - 9:00 A.M.
        - Sailed: same day - 7:00 P.M.
        - 30 July 1944 -  2 August 1944 - sailed through storm
        - Arrived: Moji, Japan - Thursday night - 3 August 1944 - midnight
            - POWs issued new clothing
        - Disembark: 4 August 1944 - 8:00 A.M.
            - POWs disembarked and taken to movie theater
                - sat in the dark
                - later divided into 200 men detachments and sent to different POW camps
            - taken by train to POW camps along train lines

POW Camp:

    - Japan:

        - Fukuoka #3B

            - Work: Yawata Steel Mills
                - materials produced in mill aided Japanese war effort
                - POWs worked from 8:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M.
            - Food: main meal consisted of rice, wheat, wheat flour, corn, and Kaoliang, a millet
            - POW quarters were infested with bed bugs, lice, and fleas
Note:  The POWs worked at the Yawata Steel Mills doing manual labor.  The work was to shovel iron ore and rebuild the ovens.  The POWs were sent into the ovens to clean out the debris.  Since the ovens were hot, because the Japanese would not let them cool off, the POWs worked faster on this detail.  Many of the products from the mill helped the Japanese war effort.  If an air raid took place while the POWs were at the mill, they were put into railway cars and the train was pulled into a tunnel.
    Although medical supplies for the POWs were sent to the camp by the Red Cross the Japanese commandant would not give the American medical staff the medicine that was in the packages.  Any surgery in the camp had to be performed with crude medical tools even though the Red Cross had sent the proper surgical tools.  To meet quotas for workers, the sick POWs were required to work even if it meant they could possibly die from doing it.
    Three days a month, the POWs were allowed to exchange their worn out clothing for new clothing, but a Japanese guard beat POWs attempting to exchange their clothing.  The POWs went without clothing to avoid the beatings which resulted in men developing pneumonia and dying.
    The POWs were beaten daily with fists and sticks for violating camp rules, and the guards often required them to stand at attention, in the cold, while standing water.  During the winter, they often had water thrown on them.  There were two brigs in the camp which had as many as 20 POWs in them at a time.
    Another incident involved an American soldier who traded with the Japanese. The war was almost over and Japan was about to surrender.  The soldier traded for roasted beans.  As it turned out, the beans had been tainted with arsenic.  The soldier died the next day.  After going through all he had suffered, the soldier died when freedom was almost his.

Liberated:

    - 13 September 1945
        - returned to Philippine Islands
Transport:

    - S.S. Simon Bolivar

        - Sailed: Manila - not known           
        - Arrived: San Francisco - 21 October 1945

            - taken to Letterman General Hospital

Discharged: 4 February 1946

Married: Clara

Residence: Worthington, Ohio

Occupation: plumber

Children: 1 daughter, 1 son

Died:

    - 24 September 1994 - Columbus, Ohio

Buried:

     - Saint Joseph Cemetery - Columbus, Ohio

         - Plot: St. Mark  Lot: 726  Grave: 1 


 

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