Pvt. Fitzhugh Wright Brincefield

Born: 24 May 1911 - McDowell County, West Virginia

Parents: John C. Brincefield & Cordelia Wright-Brincefield
Siblings: 2 sisters, 5 brothers

Hometown: Northfolk, West Virginia
Inducted:

    - U.S. Army
        - 25 January 1941 - Huntington, West Virginia
Training: Fort Knox, Kentucky
Units:
    - 19th Ordnance Battalion
        - A Company
        - reorganized as 17th Ordnance Company
Note: On August 15, 1941, orders were issued, to the company, 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, with a large radio transmitter, hundred of miles away.  The squadron continued its flight plane and flew south to Mariveles and then returned to Clark Field.  By the time the planes landed, 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:
    - Arrived: Ft. Mason, San Francisco, California
        - 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 the heavy cruiser - U.S.S. Astoria and an unknown destroyer
                - smoke seen on horizon several times
                -  cruiser intercepted ships
        - Arrived: Manila - Friday - 26 September 1941
            - disembark ship - 3:00 P.M.
            - taken by bus to Fort Stostenburg
            - maintenance section with 17th ordnance remained behind to unload the tanks and reattached turrets
                -27 September 1941 - job completed at 9:00 A.M.
Engagements:
    - Battle of Luzon

        - 8 December 1941 - 6 January 1942
    - Battle of Bataan

        - 7 January 1942 - 9 April 1942

            - supplied ammunition and supplies to tanks
Prisoner of War:
    - 9 April 1942
        - Death March
            - Mariveles - POWs start march at southern tip of Bataan
            - POWs ran past Japanese artillery firing at Corregidor
                - Americans on Corregidor returned fire
            - San Fernando - POWs put into small wooden
boxcars
               
- each boxcar could hold eight horses or forty men
                - 100 POWs packed into each car
                - POWs who died remained standing
            - Capas - dead fell to floor as living left boxcars

            - POWs walked the last ten miles to Camp O'Donnell
Prison Camps:
    - Philippines
        - 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
                - arrived at Cabanatuan

        - Cabanatuan
            - camp had been opened to lower death rate among POWs
            - Philippine Army Base built for 91st Philippine Army Division
                - Japanese put base into use as 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 attempted to escape and caught were executed
            - daily POW meal - 16 ounces of cooked rice, 4 ounces of vegetable oil, sweet potato or corn

Hell Ship:

    - Tottori Maru
        - POWs housed in warehouse on Pier 7
        - boarded ship - 7 October 1942
            - 500 POWs put in forward hold
            - 1461 POWs put in rear hold

        - Sailed: 8 October 1942 - 10:00 A.M.

            - passed Corregidor at noon
        - 9 October 1942 - two torpedoes fired at ship by an American submarine
            - ship passes a mine laid by submarine
        - Arrived: Takao, Formosa - 11 October 1942

        - Sailed: 16 October 1942 - 7:30 A.M.
            - because of submarines ship returned to Takao - 10:30 P.M.
        - Sailed: 18 October 1942
        - Arrived: Pescadores Islands - same day
            - anchored off islands for several days
            - two POWs died
        - Sailed: 27 October 1942

        - Arrived: Takao, Formosa - same day

            - POWs disembarked and showered with fire hoses

            - ship also cleaned

            - food stuffs loaded onto ship
        - Arrived: 30 October 1942 - Makou, Pescadores Islands

            - dropped anchor at 5:00 P.M.
        - Sailed: 31 October 1942

            - seven ship convoy

            - ships sailed through typhoon for five days

            - 5 November 1942 - American submarine sunk one ship
        - Arrived: Fusan, Korea - 9 November 1942
            - POWs disembarked ship

            - issued new clothing and fur-lined overcoats
            - sick POWs left at Fusan
        - Arrived: Mukden, Manchuria - 11 November 1942
POW Camp:

    - Mukden, Manchuria
        - Hoten Camp

            - POWs worked in machine shop or lumber mill
Liberated:
    - Russian Army
        - 20 August 1945

Discharged: 4 April 1946

Reenlisted: 6 February 1947

Discharged: 31 January 1950

Died:

    - 1 July 1982 - Crumpler, McDowell County, West Virginia


 

Next





Return to 17th Ordnance