T/Sgt. Charles Elmer Basham
Born: 22 July 1919 - Kentucky
Mother: Thomas Basham & Mattie Hickeson-Basham
Siblings: 1 sister, 1 brother
Home: 326 Bartles Bottom Road - Meade County, Kentucky
Education: Grade School
Occupation: sheet metal worker
Inducted:
    - U.S. Army
        - 23 January 1940 - Ashford General Hospital, West Virginia
Training:
    - Fort Knox, Kentucky
Units:
    - 19th Ordnance Battalion
       - trained alongside 192nd Tank Battalion
       - learned to repair the 57 vehicles used by the Army
       - August 1941 - took part in maneuvers in Arkansas
    - 17th Ordnance Company
       - A Company, 19th Ordnance designated 17th Ordnance Company
           - received orders to go overseas the same day
Training:
    - Ft. Knox, Kentucky
        - received orders to go overseas

Note: On August 15, 1941, the company received orders for duty in the Philippines because of an event that happened during the summer.  A squadron of American fighters was flying over Lingayen Gulf when one of the pilots noticed something odd.  He took his plane down and identified a buoy in the water.  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, hundred of miles away, with a large radio transmitter on it.  The squadron continued its flight plan and flew south to Mariveles before returning to Clark Field.  By the time the planes landed that evening, it was too late to do anything that day.
    The next morning, another squadron was sent to the area and found that the buoys had been picked up by a fishing boat which was seen making its way toward shore.  Since communication between and Air Corps and Navy was poor, the boat was not intercepted.  It was at that time the decision was made to build up the American military presence in the Philippines.
Overseas Duty:
    - rode train to Ft. Mason, San Francisco, California
    - ferried on U.S.A.T. General Frank M. Coxe to Angel Island
        - given physicals and inoculated by battalion's medical detachment
        - 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
        - Ft. Stotsenburg, Philippine Islands
            - lived in tents until barracks completed - 15 November 1941
Engagements:
    - Battle of Luzon
        - 8 December 1941 - 6 January 1942
    - Battle of Bataan
        - 7 January 1942 - 9 April 1942
Prisoner of War
    - 9 April 1942
        - Death March
           - started march at Mariveles on the southern tip of Bataan
           - POWs ran past Japanese artillery firing at Corregidor
               - American artillery returned fire
           - San Fernando - POWs packed into small wooden boxcars
               - those POWs who died remained standing
           - Capas - POWs leave boxcars
               - dead fall to floors of boxcars
           - walked last ten miles to Camp O'Donnell
POW Camps
    - Philippines:
        - Camp O'Donnell
            - 1 April 1942 - unfinished Filipino training base Japanese put into use as a POW camp
                - Japanese believed the camp could hold 15,000 to 20,000 POWs
            - POWs searched upon arrival at camp
                - those found with Japanese money were accused of looting
                - sent to guardhouse
                - over several days, gun shots heard southeast of the camp
                    - POWs who had money on them had been executed
            - Japanese took away any extra clothing from POWs as they entered the camp and refused to return it
                - since no water was available for wash clothing, the POWs threw soiled clothing away
                - clothing was taken from dead
                - few of the POWs in the camp hospital had clothing
            - POWs were not allowed to bathe
            - only one water spigot for entire camp
                - POWs waited 2 hours to 8 hours to get a drink
                    - water frequently turned off by Japanese guards and next man in line waited as long as 4 hours for water to be turned on 
                     
again
                    - mess kits could not be cleaned
                - POWs had to carry water 3 miles from a river to cook their meals
                - second water spigot installed a week after POWs arrived
            - slit trenches overflowed since many of the POWs had dysentery
                - flies were everywhere including in camp kitchens and food
            - camp hospital had no water, soap, or disinfectant
            - the senior POW doctor wrote a list of medicines he wanted to treat the sick and was told by the camp commandant, Capt.
              Yoshio Tsuneyoshi, never to write another letter
                - Tsuneyoshi said that all he wanted to know about the American POWs was their names and numbers when they died
                - refused to allow a truckload of medicine sent by the Archbishop of Manila into the camp
                - 95% of the medicine sent by Philippine Red Cross was taken by the Japanese for their own use
            - POWs in camp hospital lay on floor elbow to elbow
            - operations on POWs were performed with mess kit knives
            - only one medic out of six assigned to care for 50 sick POWs, in the hospital, was well enough to work
            - as many as 50 POWs died each day
                - each morning dead were found everywhere in the camp and stacked up under the hospital
                - ground under hospital was scrapped and cover with lime to clean it
                - the dead were moved to this area and the section where they had laid was scrapped and cover with lime
                - usually not buried for two or three days
            - work details: if a POW could walk, he was sent out on a work detail
                - POWs on burial detail often had dysentery and malaria
        - 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:
        - original name: Camp Panagaian
            - Philippine Army Base built for 91st Philippine Army Division
                - actually three camps
                    - Camp 1: POWs from Camp O'Donnell
                    - Camp 2:  four miles away
                        - all POWs moved from there because of a lack of water
                        - later used for Naval POWs
                    - Camp 3: six miles from Camp 2
                        - POWs from Corregidor and from hospitals sent there
                            - POWs later moved to Camp 1
           - Camp 1:
                - work details sent out to cut wood for POW kitchens, plant rice, and farm
                - when POWs lined up for roll call, it was a common practice for Japanese guards, after the POWs lined up, to kick the
                  POWs in their shins with their hobnailed boots
                    - they also were frequently hit with a pick handle, for no reason, as they counted off
                - POWs on the rice planting detail were punished by having their faces pushed into the mud and stepped on
                - the POWs had to go into a shed to get the tools, as they came out, they were hit on their heads
                - if the guards on the detail decided the POW wasn't doing what he should be doing, he was beaten
                - many POWs on details were able to smuggle in medicine, food, and tobacco into the camp
            - to prevent escapes, the POWs set up patrols along the camp's fence
            - men who attempted to escape and caught were executed after being beaten
                - the other POWs were forced to watch the beatings
            - daily POW meal - 16 ounces of cooked rice, 4 ounces of vegetable oil, sweet potato or corn
        - Camp Hospital:
            - 30 Wards
                - each ward could hold 40 men
                    - frequently had 100 men in each
               - two tiers of bunks
                   - sickest POWs on bottom tier
               - each POW had a 2 foot by 6 foot area to lie in
            - Zero Ward
              - given name because it had been missed when counting wards
              - became ward where those who were going to die were sent
              - fenced off from other wards
                  - Japanese guards would not go near it
                 - POWs sent there had little to no chance of surviving

Hell Ship:
    - Clyde Maru
        - Sailed: Manila - 23 July 1943
        - Arrived: Santa Cruz, Zambales, Philippines - same day
            - manganese ore loaded onto ship
            - remained in port for three days
        - Sailed: 26 July 1943
            - 100 POWs allowed on deck at a time from 6:00 A.M.. to 4:00 P.M.
        - Arrived: Takao, Formosa - 28 July 1943
        - Sailed: 5 August 1943
            - part of a nine ship convoy
        - Arrived: Moji, Japan - 7 August 1943
            - 8 August 1943 - POWs lined up on dock
                - 9:30 A.M. - boarded train
                - two day train trip
         - Arrived : 10 August 1943 - 7:30 P.M. - 10 August 1943
            - POWs marched 18 miles to camp
            - sick driven to camp in trucks
POW Camp:
    - Japan:
        - Fukuoka #17
            - Work: coal mine
Liberated: 2 September 1945
Promoted: Staff Sergeant
Transport:   - S.S. Simon Bolivar
        - Sailed: Manila - not known          
        - Arrived: San Francisco - 21 October 1945
            - taken to Letterman General Hospital
Reenlisted: 23 January 1946
Military Career:
    - Korean War
Discharged: 1 June 1953
Residence: Muldraugh, Kentucky
Died: 28 March 2000
Buried:
    - New Albany National Cemetery - New Albany, Indiana
        - Section: D  Site: 26-A

 

 

 

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